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Richard (RJ) Eskow
Published: Friday 23 March 2012
The hype that led Washington honchos to name this tragic bill the “JOBS Act” is the same brand of patented b.s. that inspired lawmakers to call Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the law that overturned Glass-Steagall, the “Financial Services Modernization Act.”

The Dumbest ‘Bipartisan’ Move Since Repealing Glass-Steagall

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Here we go again. Once again the 'bipartisan' consensus in Washington, fueled by an intoxicating brew of conventional wisdom laced with campaign cash, has repealed some of those 'cumbersome regulations' that do nothing of value - nothing, that is, except prevent catastrophes. There will be celebrating on both sides of the aisle when the President signs this bill.

And when disaster strikes a few years from now, as it inevitably will, they'll all say "Nobody could have seen it coming." Plus ça change, plus c'est la même crap. Creationism can't disprove the theory of evolution - but a little time in Washington will make you think twice.

Here we are, surrounded by still-smoldering financial wreckage, and almost everyone in Washington is falling over themselves to repeat exactly the same kinds of actions that got us into this mess. Last time around it was the repeal of Glass-Steagall, introduced by Republican Sen. Phil Gramm and enthusiastically signed by President Clinton in the presence of Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

This time it's the deceptively named "JOBS Act," introduced by the far-right Republicans in Congress and passed overwhelmingly by members of both parties. The President indicated his eagerness to sign the bill early on. Once again basic protections for investors, including individuals and families, are being recklessly overturned in a deregulating frenzy. Some of those protections were enacted in the wake of the Enron scandal, in which sociopathically unscrupulous business people conducted a hoax that ruined thousands of families and deprived many of their life's savings.

We haven't learned a damn thing.

The hype that led Washington honchos to name this tragic bill the "JOBS Act" is the same brand of patented b.s. that inspired lawmakers to call Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the law that overturned Glass-Steagall, the "Financial Services Modernization Act." That act of "modernization" actually turned the clock back - from 1999 all the way back to 1929, stripping away some of the common-sense measures that prevented the formation of too-big-to-fail banks that could gamble with their customers' money or bring the economy to the brink of ruin - which they promptly did, less than a decade later.

What did our wise leaders say when that bill was signed? "The world changes, and Congress and the laws have to change with it," said Phil Gramm. "In the 1930s ... it was believed that government was the answer ... We have learned that government is not the answer. We have learned that freedom and competition are the answers."

''This legislation is truly historic,'' said Bill Clinton. ''We have done right by the American people.''

''With this bill,'' said Larry Summers, ''the American financial system takes a major step forward toward the 21st Century -- one that will benefit American consumers, business and the national economy.''

Actually that bill helped crash the economy, costing trillions and leaving millions of people un- or underemployed. They, on the other hand, all got rich. No wonder they look so happy in this picture.

And they weren't done. Phil Gramm then passed something called the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, which Bill Clinton signed, opening the floodgates for Enron's abuses. Gramm's wife was then appointed to the Board of Directors of Enron, making him even richer. Later, after Enron's fraud caused so much tragedy, a shell-shocked nation passed Sarbanes-Oxley. But the Commodities 'modernization' act wasn't done with its worked: It enabled a division within my former employer, AIG, to gamble in a way that helped trigger the crisis of 2008.

Now we have the "JOBS" Act, which undoes Sarbanes-Oxley's key provisions. In a typically cynical move, the corrupt dealmakers of DC have appropriated two good ideas - "crowdfunding" by individuals, as is done on Kickstarter, and the need to find investment capital for small and medium-sized businesses that are the engines of job growth.

But this bill will actually hurt both those efforts. Kickstarter finances creative projects, where it's fairly easy for investors to decide whether they feel a project has artistic merit. But this bill will unleash a torrent of unscrupulous scam artists onto the public, leaving them unable to decide which project has merit and which doesn't. Since these ventures won't be required to provide some basic financial data, many of them will bilk their investors - drying up the pool of available capital for truly worthwhile startups.

Besides, why have we been pumping capital into the nation's banks through the Fed? Wasn't the purpose of all that support - including TARP - to prop them up so that they would lend to American businesses?

Worse, the bill is designed so that even billion-dollar corporations can be considered "startups," leaving the door open for a dozen Enrons of tomorrow to shaft the unwary. The common-sense protections proposed by Sen. Jeff Merkley were rejected, while the equally rational protections of Sens. Scott Brown and Jack Reed, which were passed, will be fairly easy for clever sharks to swim around. We've seen this play before, and it never has a happy ending. That will no longer be required of them, thanks to the "JOBS" Act.

Even that phony name - "JOBS Act" - isn't new. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley used the same acronym for an equally cynical bill in 2004, the "Jumpstart Our Business Strength" Act. Then, as now, the bill was supposed to create jobs. What it really did was provide $39 billion in tax cuts for overseas earnings by US corporations. Create jobs? Not so much.

Now can look forward to another signing ceremony, filled with smiling and happy bipartisan faces. None of the people at that ceremony will pay the price when the bill for their actions comes due a few years from now. But you and I will.

And unless we change our political system, soon after that the whole process will begin again. When will we ever learn?

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ABOUT Richard (RJ) Eskow

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a well-known blogger and writer, a former Wall Street executive, an experienced consultant, and a former musician. He has experience in health insurance and economics, occupational health, benefits, risk management, finance, and information technology.

now we know how the Germans

now we know how the Germans felt when they finally woke up that they had elected a monster. No one dared resist for fear of the Gestopo We are there

I believe this is why Occupy

I believe this is why Occupy was formed. Put your support there.

call him what he

call him what he is-bushbama...

who doesn't know bushbama cut deal with bushcheney (exposed by Wikileaks)
to NOT do "transparency, oversight, accountability" for election fraud (Michael Connel) war fraud-crimes, and economic fraud...bushbama is therefore also a criminal...

Rory, you wrote with passion

Rory, you wrote with passion and precision, and I absorbed every word, especially your point about SSI no longer being supplementary income. However, I had a difficult time reading the text because there are no breaks for paragraphs. Every now and then, please hit Return -- and you will be sure to have even more readers (such as the ones who bypass extremely large single paragraphs with lots of Capital Letters).

The Congress of the United

The Congress of the United Sates, the Supreme Court and the President seem to be wholly owned subsidaries of big businesses. We, the people, worked our collective asses off to get B.O. elected to the office of POTUS. We were thrilled electin night to see him standing there, ready to fulfill the promise we thought he had made. Well, we found out that the P in POTUS stands for puppet. Even the AFA is sop to the health insurance industry. It is hard to understand why the GOP (Greedy Old Party) is againstmore cutomers for their overlords in the insurance industry, especially when this was a recycled programof the GOP. TRUTH of what Wall TRUTH of what Wall $treet has done to destroy the U.S. $6.5 trillion, world $16.5 trillion per year economies for over 3 years already, on the way to 10-20 more, is STILL not forthcoming, here is that TRUTH:

How much economic destruction has been done-does it take?...this documentation shows $680 trillion...always follow the $$$$....

I am all "outraged out".

I am all "outraged out".

Just when I thought I couldn't feel more disgusted by these legislators they pull something like this.

Any "Democrats" that signed this bill are no longer worthy of the name. I will actively work against their reelection.

I am trying to Understand

I am trying to Understand what it is that Causes President Obama to Abandon Everything We thought he stood for and instead sooner or later give Right Wing Extremist Republicans what they want at the Expense of the 99%. Has his choice to Surround Himself with Advisers and Cabinet Members who are not only Corporate Insiders but Right Wing Extremist Republicans somehow Brainwashed him from being a Centrist Republican to a Right Wing Extremist Republican? We Believed he made the Right Decisions on Keystone XL and Social Security and we were led to believe He was standing up with the Courage of His Convictions only to find out Shortly thereafter he is taking actions that are in Direct Opposition of what he Stated as his Beliefs. He now tells us that he is "Forcing through the Southern Half of the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline and that is a Good Thing". No Cuts to Social Security? He has now chosen to undercut the Funding of Social Security to give the American Public an additional "Tax Break". I Believe Most Americans want Social Security to be Strengthened and not Diminished as we thought He Believed. I would like to see a Poll of American Citizens about which they would prefer because I believe the answer is obvious. Why Doesn't President Obama or anyone in his Administration Point out the Fact that Social Security is an Earned and Paid for Benefit for American Citizens as a Program that has Served the Citizens of Our Country Well? Republicans have succeeded yet again into twisting the meaning of a word into something it is not. The New Definition of "Entitlement" created by Republicans is "Someone being given Someone Else's Tax Money that they did not Contribute too and do not deserve." The Fact is a Persons Eligibility and Amount of SSI to be Received IS determined by how much each individual paid in over Periods of Time. When is Anyone Other than Myself going to wake up to the Very Real Possibility that the Real Goal of Republicans, Corporations, and the Rest of the 1% is the $2.6 Trillion Dollar Surplus that Exists and is 100% Paid for by the Deductions From the Paychecks of the 99% and NOTHING ELSE. SSI has not Contributed even one Penny to Our National Debt. It is a Self Funded Government Run Retirement Plan for the 99%. Recent Revelations about near slave like working conditions in China should tell everyone that the Goal of Corporations is the largest Profits possible and if Corporations could get away with paying Workers Ten Cents an hour They Would. Due to the Destruction of Unions and sending Jobs Overseas Pension Plans have become a Rare Exception along with Healthcare as Part of a Workers Compensation. What was once common has mostly vanished. Corporate Takeovers even allowed Existing Pension Plans to be Robbed Away from the Workers who paid into them. These People do not want to fairly compensate their Workers because it lowers the Amount of Profits to Pay Employees a Living Wage. It has reached the point where the Plutocracy has decided they will not compensate Employees with Living Wages that Include Pension Plans and Good Health Insurance but that they now want to take away the Only Remaining Retirement Option of SSI for tens of Millions of American Citizens. Thanks to the Never Ending Greed of the 1% the Homes, which was by far the Greatest Asset for the 99%, have become Devalued to the Point where their Homes are worth a Lot Less than the Remaining Debt. If the Plutocracy succeeds in Stealing the $2.6 Trillion Dollar Surplus that SSI Currently Has how will anyone be able to Retire? The Argument that SSI was only meant as a Supplemental Funding of Retirement was Valid when Unions were Strong, Pensions Plans were the Rule and Not the Exception as they are now, and Healthcare Insurance was part of a Workers Compensation and was Affordable. Now that the Plutocracy has successfully destroyed Most Unions, Pension Plans are largely gone and Compensation in the form of Healthcare Insurance has been vanishing that Argument is No Longer Valid. The Fact is that SSI is The Only Retirement Plan of a Majority of American Workers. Quite a few years ago I saw an Article that Stated a Majority of US Citizens only had one Retirement Plan and that Was Social Security. With all that has changed I wonder why no one has Studied this as the number of Americans who’s only Retirement Plan is SSI has to have grown enormously. Isn't this possibly the Most Valid Question of All yet we hear nothing about this? Why? No Pension Plans, Excessive Cost of Healthcare, and the loss of Value of the average Persons largest Asset has been Gutted by the Greed of a Few. After all of this How is it Possible that any Mention of Cuts to Social Security and Medicare can even be Mentioned Much Less Considered? Apparently the New Retirement Plan the Plutocracy has for the 99% is to work until the day you die.

{putting my editor's hat on}

{putting my editor's hat on} Rory, you write with passion and precision; I absorbed every word, especially your point about SSI no longer being supplementary income. However, I had a difficult time reading the text because there are no breaks for paragraphs. Every now and then, please hit Return -- and you will be sure to have even more readers (such as the ones who bypass extremely large single paragraphs with lots of Capital Letters).

The Corporate Kleptocracy is

The Corporate Kleptocracy is thriving under corporatist neocon Obama and Holder who refuse to look back and criminally indict any of Obama's thieving Wall Street "Savvy Businessmen" buddies.
The 1% who are in Congress and on the US Supreme kourt bench are the enablers and also beneficiaries of this blatant, psychopathic thievery.

Ah, the benefit of a Harvard Law School education -- it can only be matched by the benefit of a Harvard Business School education.

Peaceful protests won't change the game either.
The 1% have been preparing for massive public demonstrations by militarizing the police through the Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act --
they will gladly unleash the militarized police state resources on anyone and everyone who dares to speak TRUTH to power and to question their authority to steal with impunity and have them beaten, falsely arrested, wrongfully jailed, unlawfully robbed, and even murdered, all under the facade of the Rule of Law.

"The tree of liberty needs to be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants; it is its natural manure." -- Thomas Jefferson

This is just another example

This is just another example of how the system actually works. Just follow the money and it leads directly to those we elected to represent us. Is it any wonder that we are unable to solve even the simplest of our problems? Until the media and We the People stand up and talk truth to the powers that be, this is what will continue to happen. Enough with the ideoligy and the mundane, unsophisticated clap-trap. Somebody with the ear of the President needs to say: "Stop", "don't do that!" " It's wrong." Do you you hear that voice? Not beyond these pages and those of other liberal media. And so it goes.

jussmartenuf's picture

I just feel worn out. It

I just feel worn out. It seems there is nothing that can stop the crony capitalism that exists in DC. Any incumbent remains unopposed in primaries and the gaming continues. Established congressional crooks continue to reap benefits. How do we even know bills like this are happening? Even this article does not tell us how to source those that voted for or against this legislation. I notice only 23 reps and 26 senators voted against it. Any time I see the names Grassley or McConnell I gag. Yet the Democrats never seem to field capable opponents. Lord help us.

This utterly corrupted system

This utterly corrupted system is making a complete mockery of all us americans. How much longer will we tolerate being ruled by criminals? Its sureal how totally insane and detached from reality this has all become.

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