The day John Lennon died?
I used to think this song was dumb, but I’m so much older now:
When it comes to our government’s collective refusal to aggressively investigate — much less prosecute — Wall Street crime, one prevailing line of apologism implies that it’s all about resources. As the general fable goes, Wall Street is so sprawling and so lawyered up that public law enforcement agencies simply don’t have the resources to make sure justice is served, especially at a time of budget deficits. In this story, Wall Street is not simply too big to fail; it’s too big to even police.
The motivation for such myth-making is obvious: It wholly absolves elected officials for their decisions to let their financial-industry campaign contributors off the hook. Yet thanks to recent events, the whole “Too Big to Police” rationale is being exposed for the farce that it is.
At the local level, the same governments that plead poverty when they’re asked to enforce their laws on financial fraud have somehow found plenty of resources to deploy their militarized police forces against Occupy protesters. At the federal level, it’s even more blatant. As we learned in a little-noticed Washington Post piece on Tuesday, the same Obama administration that has refused to spend political capital and federal monies to go after Wall Street is expending new resources to crack down on the supposedly rampant problem of food stamp “fraud.”
From Matthew Sweet’s third and best album, Girlfriend, which appeared 20 years ago this Fall and proved that the age of hard-driving, well-crafted pop songs wasn’t quite over. More on the album here.
I’m not sure what the prerequisites were for inclusion on the congressional supercommittee, but it looks like brainpower wasn’t one of them. Rep. Fred Upton purports to believe that taxing the rich discourages job creation. However, Upton drew a blank when asked by Al Hunt of Bloomberg News to explain why the employment picture was better under Bill Clinton than under George W. Bush, who pushed through generous tax cuts for the rich:
HUNT: Why under those pre-Bush tax cut tax rates did the economy do so well in the ‘90s? And why under the Bush tax rates, less for the wealthy, to do so poorly in this decade?
UPTON: Well, a couple things. One, spending went up, Al, the wars. I mean, that’s trillions of dollars. And also there was no change in the entitlements. And we also know –
HUNT: But that shouldn’t hurt the economy. That shouldn’t hurt economic growth.
UPTON: Yeah, but that impacts the debt and the deficit.
HUNT: But I’m asking, why did the economy grow a lot? Why were more jobs created in the previous decade under higher taxes than in this decade under lower taxes?
UPTON: I don’t know specifically the answer to that question. I can – I can maybe merit a guess. But, I mean, in large part is because our job – we lost jobs. I mean, look at the jobs report that came out this last week, three-hundred- some-thousand people actually stopped looking for jobs.
Right. This guy’s handlers should know better than to allow him to speak without a teleprompter.
In his speech Tuesday, President Obama noted the “deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street,” and suggested that the big banks should “go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit.” I’m sorry, but why wasn’t he saying these things two years ago? More here.
The Food and Drug Administration must come up with a decision by March 31 on whether to ban a chemical that’s widely used in the plastics and metal linings of food containers, according to a court settlement reached Wednesday between the agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The NRDC filed a petition in 2008 asking the agency to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, citing a growing body of research that suggests exposure to the chemical might pose serious health risks. When the FDA failed to respond within the time frame required by law, the NRDC sued the agency.
The settlement forces the FDA to take a position on a chemical that’s been used for more than four decades to manufacture everything from the cans of liquid infant formula to the coating on grocery store receipts. The agreement, approved by New York Federal Judge Barbara S. Jones, said the FDA must issue a final decision, not a “tentative response.”
Remember this? Band Aid: