And So It Begins

A recent story about the ripple effect of Elizabeth Warren’s attacks on Big Banks in this country that are making huge profits with the support of the government that bails them out every time they stumble or bumble raises some interesting points. It begins with the following two paragraphs:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Big Wall Street banks are so upset with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.

Representatives from Citigroup, J..P.Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have met to discuss ways to urge Democrats, including Warren and Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, to soften their party’s tone toward Wall Street, sources familiar with the discussions said this week.

This gambit is not new, of course, but there are a number of facets to this version that strike the interested reader. To begin with there is the given that the large corporations, including in this case the Big Banks, are throwing money at political candidates on both sides of the political aisle in order to be able to threaten to take it away if they don’t march to the tune the corporations have chosen to play. This is the way the game is played, as the NRA has shown for many years in order to guarantee that Americans continue to buy and use guns in the name of the Second Amendment — which most of those who clutch copies of the Constitution in one hand and an assault weapon in the other have never read and certainly don’t understand. Money talks and large money talks loud. The Koch Brothers have leaped on this train with both feet and threaten to determine its course for the next decade, at least.

But Warren is a woman of courage who now looks like a possible candidate for the highest office in the land so the stakes are very high and the Big Banks have started to plot their strategy. Perhaps you have heard the talk about how she “has it in” for the Banks because they foreclosed on her father’s home when she was a child. As they tell the story, this makes her a nut-case who is just out to get revenge. It implies that the Banks are squeaky clean and have done no wrong. But we know this not to be the case and wait and watch to see what new smear tactic they will employ while they see whether the threat to withhold money from influential Senators will get her off their backs and halt her campaign before it can get off the ground.

It’s dirty politics, or politics as usual if you prefer. And it works. It is especially gnawing to those who have read their history and know how worried the founders were about the influence of Big Money on politics. They knew that allowing money to accrue in the hands of a few would give them immense power: virtually all of the colonies instituted laws to fight against primogeniture. For example, George Washington did not inherit his father’s estate, including Mount Vernon, until his older brother died. And folks like Jefferson regaled the glories of the agrarian ideal, folks on their farms working the land, close to nature, or working at their jobs and maintaining the virtues of their forefathers. Jefferson, in particular, worried that “a rich country cannot long be a free one,” because men and women would be caught up in the making of money and ignore the “common good.” But, for all their concern about the abuses of power, the framers ignored the threat of great wealth when it came to writing the Constitution, sad to say, and we are paying the price. Or, more to the point, good people who want to do the right thing like Elizabeth Warren are paying the price. Hold on to your hats, it’s going to get ugly!


12 thoughts on “And So It Begins

  1. Hugh, when people sit down and listen to Elizabeth Warren, she is very credible and believable in her discussion about how consumers are taken advantage of. People know she speaks the truth, which is why big banks want to quiet her.

    In her book “Fighting Chance” she notes how banks would take advantage of people in need through debt consolisation, which sounds so reasonable. But, they made money on these folks as they spiraled downward. At one meeting, the CEO of the bank asked her to leave because “that is how we make money” he said.

    Real people, not politicians, would support Warren and what she is doing. I have written about this before, but the repeal of the Glass Steagall Act in the late 1990s, allowed banks to once again be more than just banks. That placed us on a slippery slope where bankers started chasing larger risk loans (fog a mirror mortgages) and fee income, and led to our financial crisis.

    Bankers used to have a great reputation, but bankers threw that reputation out the window. We need folks like Warren to keep them honest. And, I hope that comes out, especially those Senators, like Shelby from Alabama, who are hired guns for the industry.

    I would love for Warren to run for President. She is more deserving of the office of any candidate who is considering it. She is of the people. BTG

    • Frankly, I believe Warren is much more effective where she is. As President, I truly believe she’d have less power and less of a pulpit.

  2. As a good friend of mine suggested when I forwarded the article yesterday to him, he plans on keeping score of who the banks contributed to, and then be sure NOT to vote for them.

    Warren is our last hope of Congress speaking out against the big banks and their control over our congress and our country. Of course they are trying to silence her. I really liked her response, however: she essentially said, “bring it on!!!”

    • You may be right. It would be hard for her to be effective as a young President without knowing where the skeletons are buried. That has been part of Obama’s problem. She is a remarkable women, however.

      • I guess I would love to see her run just get the issues out there. The banks have tried to discredit her before, but she is armed with facts and a history of knowledge having been an expert on personal bankruptcy. She is the reason the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau exists, which is a huge success story, but the GOP has been told by the banks not to like it.

      • I tend to agree, but Barney’s right: she will continue to draw attention to the issues as a Senator — and perhaps with more effect.

  3. It is in this spirit that we recall the words of Thomas Carlyle: “For your nobler minds, the publishing of some such Work of Art, in one or the other dialect, becomes almost a necessity. For what is it properly, but an altercation with the Devil, before you begin honestly Fighting him?” Aesthetic Judgment.

    • All Signs and Wonders await the Faith of them whose Core is Memory, the best accepted, the strongest Desire embraced, and embracing. All else is Shadows dancing on the Lintel of our Life, whispers of a nameless End or Chorus in-between one and an Other. May the light of them gentle spirits endure, while the violent, by violence suffer extinction.

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