Minds are changing on Too Big to Fail. A month ago, it was just something in the air. Now, it looks like we’re headed for a real legislative confrontation. And man, is the finance sector freaking.
Last week, on April 24th, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Louisiana Republican David Vitter introduced legislation called the “Terminating Bailouts for Taxpayer Fairness Act of 2013 Act,” or the “Brown-Vitter TBTF Act” for short. The bill is a gun aimed directly at the head of the Too-Big-To-Fail beast.
The S&P report, entitled “Brown-Vitter Bill: Game-Changing Regulation For U.S. Banks”, is so incredibly hysterical in its tone that, reading it, one cannot help but deduce that people on Wall Street are genuinely afraid of this bill. The paper essentially hints that forcing banks to retain more capital could lead to world financial collapse, the onset of a new Ice Age, mammoths roaming Nebraska, etc. “The ratings implications of the Brown-Vitter bill, if enacted, for all U.S. banks would be neutral to negative,” the report read. In the second paragraph, it reads:
If congress enacts the bill as proposed, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services would have concerns about the economic impact on banks’ creditworthiness stemming from the transition to substantially higher capital requirements.
Having a ratings agency bent to monopolistic bank influence give a bad rating to a piece of legislation designed to . . . curb monopolistic bank influence is a bad surrealistic joke, like a Rene Magritte take on lobbying – Ceci n‘est pas une Too-Big-To-Fail!
Of course, the Democrats are bound to blow this one. They always do. Heavy sigh.
And why do they always manage to blow it? Greg Sergeant at The PlumLine provides a clue:
The New York Times and CBS News have released new poll findings that again confirm what other polls have showed: Large majorities agree with the Democratic position, and disagree with the Republican position, on key issues facing the country. But before delving into those numbers, I wanted to highlight this quote from a Republican voter — given to the Times in a follow up interview — because it perfectly captures what is currently causing all the gridlock and stalemate in Washington:
“Rick Buckman, 52, a Republican and an electrical engineer from Dallas, Pa., said that while he supported stricter gun legislation, he did not necessarily approve of the president’s approach. “I was really ticked off that the law didn’t pass,” Mr. Buckman said. “But I thought it was wrong of President Obama to get in front of the public and use people who had been damaged by gun violence as props.””
Obviously one doesn’t want to read too much into what one voter says, but this is just perfect. This Republican supports stricter gun laws, and was “ticked off” that they didn’t pass. But to this voter, when Obama gets out there and advocates for what he supports, the president is just grandstanding. What’s more, this voter has been seduced by a ridiculous and lurid line pushed by far right Senators and right wing media — that there’s something nefarious and cynical about Obama’s alliance with Newtown families in pushing for gun control, even though better gun laws are exactly what those families want, and even though they themselves first contacted the White House to get involved in the campaign to push for it.
Greg then goes on to suggest that this is because the president can talk a good game but can’t really do anything at the executive level.
I’m not buying it. I think the real reason voters like the one quoted turn against Obama and the Democrats is because the right wing noise machine knows that its audience LOVES kicking losers when they’re down. It’s human nature. Democrats are always forced to compromise. If Democrats get caught doing sexytime without a license, they’re forced to resign, unlike Republicans who manage to turn indiscretions into milestones on their journey to self-discovery. And punching Dirty Fucking Hippies has become a national pastime. Democrats are praised for decking their own. It makes Democrats look weak and who the hell wants to sit with a bunch of fricking losers? Kicking, punching and dissing weak people develops a momentum of its own.
I’ve said before that Democrats have to develop some muscularity, grow a unibrow and start taking prisoners. Once we start screaming that we’re reinstituting Habeas Corpus, closing Guantanamo and approving Plan B for 2 year olds, whether right wing nuts like it or not, things will change.
Our biggest problem is convincing the student body types who populate the Democratic caucus to stop being such suckers and sell outs, and punch someone out.