They "Are Not Going to Play That Game Anymore" - So Why Are We?

by: David Sirota

Thu Feb 25, 2010 at 09:30

A few weeks ago, the New York Times reported on Wall Street banks moving their campaign contributions from Democrats to Republicans. The quid pro quo corruption that this story reported on was hardly shocking - we've known for a long time that campaign contributors give money with the expectation of legislative favors. What was, however, stunning was how both the journalist reporting the story and the bankers quoted in it didn't even bother to note the double standard at the center of the article.

Here's the quote that explains what I mean:

"The expectation in Washington is that 'We can kick you around, and you are still going to give us money,' " said a top official at a major Wall Street firm, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House. "We are not going to play that game anymore."

So the banks are feeling like they are being "kicked around" (which is hilarious considering how weak the Wall Street "reform" bills are) and they are miffed that "the expectation in Wasington" is that they should still give money to those who are "kicking them around." Thus, they declare, they "are not going to play that game anymore."

But wait - isn't that the game the bankers demand the public and the politicians to play?

Last I checked, the bankers played a decisive role in destroying the economy and running people out of their homes via foreclosure - they kicked us, the public, around. Last I checked, they did this with the expectation that when they got in trouble, we the public would "still give them money" in the form of TARP and Federal Reserve bailouts. And last I checked, the bankers want we the public to continue "playing that game" - and, as Matt Taibbi's new piece in Rolling Stone shows, we are.

This is not a complicated point to grasp: The bankers want to apply standards they don't want applied to themselves. The fact that this wasn't noted in the article just shows how deeply embedded and accepted such double standards are in our political debate - especially double standards that serve the cause of the super wealthy.

I'm not pretending to be outraged that Wall Streeters are deciding not to give as much cash to Democrats as they have in the past - the New York Times suggests this should be the big outrage in its piece, but news about which moneyed interest is giving cash to which powerful people is an irrelevant palace drama. Indeed, if anything, Wall Street not giving cash to Democrats is probably a good thing in the long run in that it may finally divorce the bankers from the alleged "party of the people."

The real news should be the potential wakeup call. Really, you'd hope the sheer arrogance of these fat cats would finally convince Democratic politicians - on behalf of We the People - to start applying the same principles to the bankers as the bankers are applying to them.

The bankers have kicked the country around and they continue to expect the country to hand them all sorts of taxpayer subsidies. We shouldn't play that game anymore.

David Sirota :: They "Are Not Going to Play That Game Anymore" - So Why Are We?

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When you have elected whores (0.00 / 0)
What do you expect?  The Democrats are politicians who sleep around and believe they are in love.  It is time for individual donors to start giving more consideration to who they donate to, who they work for, and, most importantly, who they vote for.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman

It's a Bluff! (4.00 / 2)
To have influence, lobbyists must funnel money to the party in power.

1. So this "threat" is of course a bluff. Wall Street gives to Democrats not because they love Democrats or agree with their policies, but because they could see that Democrats were likely to be the majority and they wanted influence with the party in power.

2. They can and do support conservative Republicans because they are bigger whores and always have been. They support "moderates" like Bayh, Nelson Baucus because they are basically DINOS.

3. If they switch to only supporting Republicans they have to ask themselves: "What happens if Democrats win anyway, despite our opposition? What influence will we have then?"

4. Ergo: Wall Street will at most revert back to the pattern they had back in the early 1990s before the "K-Street Project" where Republicans pressured our Plutocrats to only support Republican candidates. In that era they gave MOST of their support to Republicans, but about 40% or so to Democrats.

And if they think that Democrats will continue to wield majority power, they will have to tilt more towards Democrats.

The idea that bankers and corporate lobbyists will abandon the Democrats is wishful thinking. In a two party system they cannot afford to be totally without influence with one of the two major parties.

Thus, only if they think Republicans will be able to wield total power, like they did under Bush, will bankers totally back them and ignore Democrats.

Since that is unlikely to happen, their "threat" is simply designed to try and force Democrats to enable more of their greedy looting.

Kick a Banker Day (0.00 / 0)
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