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Who Does Congress Represent?

with 2 comments

Congressional reconciliation committee on Financial RegulaionWhile listening to the Financial Regulation Congressional Reconciliation (includes both houses) thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, I wonder who these Congressional representatives constituency are? Do they represent the voters – average, every day people working to make a living and support their families and employees – or is their constituency the megabanks, their traders, their lobbyists, hedge funds, and monolithic corporations.

Listening to Sen. Dodd says he’s agnostic on a number of specific issues and knowing he’s in the last year of his Senate career, I would think that he’d want to secure his legacy by creating tough, strong legislation that protected the U.S. economy and American businesses and consumers. Yet, he votes more often than not with Republicans to weaken the legislation. Is he representing the American people – his voters – or has he chosen to represent Wall St?

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-Maine) too is in his last term in the Senate. Surely he knows that Section 716 of Sen. Lincoln’s bill is vital to protect the American economy. Still, he argues against it. Who does he represent? Wall St. or the hard working, hardy, independent people of Maine? Sen. Gregg is not stupid. He knows finance. So, certainly he knows that weakening Section 716 eventually will spell another financial collapse. So, why is he working so hard to make the legislation worthless?

Why are any of these representatives of the American people working to create meaningless regulation that does nothing to insure the safety of our financial system and our economy?

We have an oligarchy in this country that uses lobbyist money and campaign donations and future high-paying jobs to lure our elected representatives into giving them whatever they want, from weak legislation and carve outs to special tax breaks and tax exemptions. Just voting out the current representatives won’t work. We need to put a Constitutional paywall between mega-donors and Congress. We need to make public the sponsors of campaign ads. We need Sunlight! And we need to make sure that outgoing representatives and their staffs cannot jump to lobbying positions.

If anything really beneficial comes out of the Financial Regulations bill, I’ll be astounded. Even Don’t-Upset-Wall St Geithener and Financially-Captured Summers don’t want anything really meaningful from the legislation.

They all want a weak bill and to be able to say they solved the problem. Who do these representatives really represent? The American people or the banking industry?

UPDATE: While our Representatives are working hard to eviscerate financial reform and carve out innumerable special exemptions in political donation “sunlight” legislation, the Senate voted against extending unemployment benefits to the 18 million people unemployed thrown out of work by the financial melt-down. While Wall St. traders and hedge fund managers are making millions each quarter, ordinary workers, who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and have lost their savings and their retirement funds, are told to fend for themselves, that their Senate representatives don’t care about them. Let’s give the megabanks and other mega-corporations yet another chance to destroy what little economic viability the American populace has! Small and mid-sized businesses are being destroyed daily by an oligarchy that only sees them and the American populace as digits – statistics – to be played with. Not human beings. Just numbers!

Am I the only one who thinks this Country is being run by an oligarchy which cares less for the nation and its people and more for itself, and that our elected representatives have succumbed to the wishes of their oligarch masters? Give me a bloody break! I am sick of giving away the heart and soul of the American people to Oligarchs.

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Written by Valerie Curl

June 24, 2010 at 5:00 PM

2 Responses

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  1. Judd Gregg is from New Hampshire. Makes me wonder how knowledgeable you are about commodities and speculation when you don’t even know basic geography.

    Aside from the fact that the proposed changes would make the banking industry about as efficient as the domestic airlines, let’s not forget that speculation is actually the opposite of gambling and mitigates risk.

    Here’s a dose of Sowell for you.

    “Speculation is often misunderstood as being the same as gambling, when in fact it is the opposite of gambling. What gambling involves, whether in games of chance or in actions like playing Russian roulette, is creating a risk that would otherwise not exist, in order either to profit or to exhibit one’s skill or lack of fear. What economic speculation involves is coping with an inherent risk in such a way as to minimize it and to leave it to be borne by whoever is best equipped to bear it.
    When a commodity speculator offers to buy wheat that has not yet been planted, that makes it easier for a farmer to plant wheat, without having to wonder what the market price will be like later, at harvest time. A futures contract guarantees the seller a specified price in advance, regardless of what the market price may turn out to be at the time of delivery. This separates farming from economic speculation, allowing each to be done by different
    people, in each case by the person best able to do it. The speculator uses his knowledge of the market, and of economic and statistical analysis, to try to arrive at a better guess than the farmer may be able to make, and thus is able to offer a price that the farmer will consider an attractive alternative to waiting to sell at whatever price happens to prevail in the market at harvest time.
    Although speculators seldom make a profit on every transaction, they must come out ahead in the long run, in order to stay in business. Their profit depends on paying the farmer a price that is lower on average than the price which actually emerges at harvest time. The farmer also knows this, of course. In effect, the farmer is paying the speculator for carrying the risk. As with other goods and services, the question may be raised as to whether the service rendered is worth the price charged. At the individual level, each farmer can decide for himself whether the deal is worth it. Each speculator must of course bid against other speculators, as each farmer must compete with other farmers, whether in making futures contracts or in selling at harvest time. From the standpoint of the economy as a whole, competition determines what the price will be and therefore what the speculator’s profit will be. If that profit exceeds what it takes to entice investors to risk their money in this volatile field, more investments will flow into this segment of the market until competition drives profits down to a level that just compensates the expenses, efforts, and risks.”

    Bill

    June 27, 2010 at 5:13 PM

  2. Excuse my blunder on Gregg’s home state. I know he’s retiring from the NH senate seat and that he was a previous governor of NH.

    Regardless, not all derivatives are of equal quality. The one you mentioned is good, but I would hardly put all CDOs and CDSs into that category. Look at what happened in Greece or in Alabama as a result of toxic derivatives.

    Here is what someone far more knowledgeable than I has to say – oh, and by the way, 3 Fed Presidents support Section 716.

    http://baselinescenario.com/2010/06/10/why-section-716-is-the-indispensable-reform/

    Valerie Curl

    June 28, 2010 at 7:36 AM


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