Saturday, May 16, 2009

g.h.kirsch: The Impotent President

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, asks, “What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?”

“On April 30 the primacy of special over public interests was demonstrated yet again. The Democrats’ bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45.

These are the same financial gangsters whose unbridled greed and utter irresponsibility have wiped out half of Americans’ retirement savings, sent the economy into a deep hole, and threatened the US dollar’s reserve currency role. It is difficult to imagine an interest group with a more damaged reputation. Yet, a majority of “the people’s representatives” voted as the discredited banksters instructed.

If Obama was naive about well-intentioned change before the vote, he no longer has this political handicap."

The New York Times recently reported the administration's utter lack of support for the legislation.

Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin acknowledged the voters’ defeat by the discredited banksters. The banks, Durbin said, “frankly own the place.”

Roberts continues, “It is not difficult to understand why. Among those who defeated the homeowners bill are senators Jon Tester (Mont), Max Baucus (Mont), Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Ben Nelson (Neb), Many Landrieu (La), Tim Johnson (SD), and Arlan Specter (Pa).

According to reports, the banksters have poured a half million dollars into Tester’s campaign funds. Baucus has received $3.5 million; Lincoln $1.3 million; Nelson $1.4 million; Landrieu $2 million; Johnson $2.5 million; Specter $4.5 million.”

Roberts observes, "A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract. .. it means a long life of luxurious leisure."

Read the rest of Roberts' article, The Impotent President, here.