You're currently reading an archived version of Jim Hightower's work.
The latest (and greatest?) observations from Jim Hightower are only now available at our Substack website. Join us there!
Congress, which has been so tied up in a partisan knot by right-wing extremists that it has been unable to move, suddenly sprang loose at the end of the year and put on a phenomenal show of acrobatic lawmaking.
In one big, bipartisan spending bill, our legislative gymnasts pulled off a breathtaking, flat-footed backflip for Wall Street, then set a dizzying new height record for the amount of money deep-pocketed donors can give to the two major political parties. It was the best Scratch-My-Back performance you never saw. You and I didn’t see it, because it happened in secret, with no public hearings, debate, or even a vote.
Enjoying Hightower's work? Join us over at our new home on Substack:
The favor was huge – allowing Wall Street’s most reckless speculators to have their losses on risky derivative deals insured by us taxpayers. Such losses were a central cause of the 2008 financial crash and subsequent unholy bank bailout. Which led to passage of the Dodd-Frank reform law to spare taxpayers from future Wall Street bailouts. But with one, compact, 85-line provision inserted deep inside the 1,600-page, trillion-dollar spending bill, Congress did a dazzling flip-flop on that Dodd-Frank reform, putting us taxpayers back on the hook for the banksters’ high-risk speculation.
In this same spending bill, Congress also freed rich donors (such as Wall Street bankers) from being limited to under $100,000 on the donation that any one of them can give to political parties. In a spectacular gravity-defying stunt, lawmakers flung the limit on these donations to a record-setting 15 times higher. So now, bankers who are grateful to either party for letting them make a killing on taxpayer-backed deals can give $1.5 million dollars each to the parties.
It’s always an amazing sight when Wall Street and Congress get together – especially when they get together out of our sight.
“Democrats Put Spending Bill Into Jeopardy,” The New York Times, December 12, 2014.
“More Cash in More Party Pots? Senate Language Could Help Parties – and the Very Rich,” www.opensecrets.org, December 10, 201.