Seeing as how I'm ailing, it seems appropriate to start this off with some healthcare horrors:
Steve Benen has an excellent roundup of news items there sure to leave you reaching for a good, stiff drink.
Once in a while, it's probably worth taking a moment to realize that if healthcare policy drove the presidential election, Barack Obama would win the electoral college, 538 to 0.
I mention this because there are some rather devastating items in the news today on the differences between the Obama and McCain healthcare plans, and what the competing approaches would mean to American workers and families.
You'll want to refill that drink before finding out what you just bought:
Johnny, tell them what they've bought 80% of:And why, pray tell, do we now own AIG? It's because the Republicons (with some spineless and greedy Dems) have been busy fucking our economy over without lubricant for decades:
Fearing a financial crisis worldwide, the Federal Reserve reversed course on Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the government control of the troubled insurance giant American International Group.[snip]
The decision, only two weeks after the Treasury took over the federally chartered mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.
Yes, that's right, you've got a troubled insurance giant with billions of dollars tied up in worthless pieces of paper masquerading as securities. Yours for the low low price of $85 billion dollars!
Over the last 30 years, conservatives and their ideas dominated Washington. Both parties joined in. Under Reagan and Clinton, banks were deregulated and a casino financial system grew in the shadows. Global trade deals protected property rights, not worker rights. Taxes were lowered on the wealth and raised on work. With the crushing of the PATCO air comptrollers strike, Reagan declared open season on unions. The minimum wage was frozen for a decade, lowering the floor. Companies under pressure from speculators and global competitors began shredding the promises once made to workers -- cutting health care, abandoning pensions, ignoring rules on hours and overtime. Undocumented workers were easily exploited. Even Microsoft, the most profitable monopoly of the time, resorted to using permatemps -- permanent temporary workers -- to avoid paying folks full-time benefits. Under Bush, this all came to a head.And how:
The mortgage swaps distancing the originator of the loan from the ultimate collector were made legal only as a result of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which former Senator Phil Gramm, R-Texas, pushed through Congress just hours before the 2000 Christmas recess. Gramm, until recently co-chair of the McCain campaign, also had co-authored the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which became law in 1999 with President Bill Clinton's signature. That gem, which Gramm had pushed for years with massive financial industry lobbying, destroyed the Depression-era barrier to the merger of stockbrokers, banks and insurance companies. Those two acts effectively ended significant regulation of the financial community, and no wonder we have witnessed an even more rapid and severe meltdown in housing values than during the Great Depression.McCain's in a unique position to know exactly what all this deregulation and trusting corporations to have the country's best interests at heart leads to. After all, he was in the thick of it, up to his elbows in dirty money, back when the financial industry had a practice run:
As we watch yet another Republican financial crisis unfold before our very eyes, everybody needs to employ Mr Google to read up a little bit on the Keating Five scandal. McCain was big, big pals with Charles Keating. He spoke up for Keating with the regulators, buying him more space to defraud his investors --- and the taxpayers --- even more than he already had. He has not changed his philosophy since then. In fact, his closest economic advisor, Phil Gram, apparently believes that these firms should be completely unregulated and then bailed out by the taxpayers on a regular basis.What else can we expect from a bunch of fuckwits too removed from ordinary reality to understand the first fucking thing about it?
John McCain has a long history with bank failures and financial scandals. He created his whole reform persona around the idea that he'd come too close to the flame and gotten burned. But he hasn't changed his philosophy or his policies one bit. He believes in the same scam his close advisor Phil "you're all a bunch of whiners" Gramm believes. He pretended for years that the problem was solely in the campaign finance system, burnishing his image with signature legislation that has proven to be completely useless. Meanwhile, he backs deregulation like it comes down from Mt Sinai.
All of this would sound strangely familiar to someone who lived the heyday of the Roaring Twenties:
Because of this recent greed-is-good amorality, we're now seeing a rerun of the runup to 1929:
The non-rich majority being encouraged to spend money they didn't have to prop up the whole edifice, until they lost their jobs and couldn't even begin to pay back the huge debts their "betters" had all but ordered them to rack up.
History repeats. And, as always, when it's some dumbfuck debacle you could've seen coming a billion miles away without even squinting, it's the Cons leading the chorus.