Michael Hudson: Banks are crime-gangs! + Obama’s Good Cop/Bad Cop deal with the Republicans


Image by Runs With Scissors via Flickr

with Michael Hudson
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
October 10, 2011

on Oct 6, 2011

Michael Hudson: A public option in banking will be a structural answer to the power of finance

Occupy Wall St. to a Bank in the Public Interest


Obama’s Good Cop/Bad Cop deal with the Republicans

by Michael Hudson
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
October 10, 2011

Don’t Let Him Get Away With It: Occupy Wall St

The seeds for President Obama’s demagogic press conference on Thursday were planted last summer when he assigned his right-wing Committee of 13 the role of resolving the obvious and inevitable Congressional budget standoff by forging an anti-labor policy that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and uses the savings to bail out banks from even more loans that will go bad as a result of the IMF-style austerity program that Democrats and Republicans alike have agreed to back.

The problem facing Mr. Obama is obvious enough: How can he hold the support of moderates and independents (or as Fox News calls them, socialists and anti-capitalists), students and labor, minorities and others who campaigned so heavily for him in 2008? He has double-crossed them – smoothly, with a gentle smile and patronizing patter talk, but with an iron determination to hand federal monetary and tax policy over to his largest campaign contributors: Wall Street and assorted special interests – the Democratic Party’s Rubinomics and Clintonomics core operators, plus smooth Bush Administration holdovers such as Tim Geithner, not to mention quasi-Cheney factotums in the Justice Department.

President Obama’s solution has been to do what any political demagogue does: Come out with loud populist campaign speeches that have no chance of becoming the law of the land, while quietly giving his campaign contributors what they’ve paid him for: giveaways to Wall Street, tax cuts for the wealthy (euphemized as tax “exemptions” and mark-to-model accounting, plus an agreement to count their income as “capital gains” – taxed at a much lower rate).

So here’s the deal the Democratic leadership has made with the Republicans. The Republicans will run someone from their present gamut of guaranteed losers, enabling Mr. Obama to run as the “voice of reason,” as if this somehow is Middle America. This will throw the 2012 election his way for a second term if he adopts their program – a set of rules paid for by the leading campaign contributors to both parties.

President Obama’s policies have not been the voice of reason. They are even further to the right than George W. Bush could have achieved. At least a Republican president would have confronted a Democratic Congress blocking the kind of program that Mr. Obama has rammed through. But the Democrats seem stymied when it comes to standing up to a president who ran as a Democrat rather than the Tea Partier he seems to be so close to in his ideology.

So here’s where the Committee of 13 comes into play. Given (1) the agreement that if the Republicans and Democrats do NOT agree on Mr. Obama’s dead-on-arrival “job-creation” ploy, and (2) Republican House Leader Boehner’s statement that his party will reject the populist rhetoric that President Obama is voicing these days, then (3) the Committee will get its chance to wield its ax and cut federal social spending in keeping with its professed ideology.

President Obama signaled this long in advance, at the outset of his administration when he appointed his Deficit Reduction Commission, headed by former Republican Sen. Simpson and Rubinomics advisor to the Clinton administration Bowles. They were to recommend how to cut federal social spending while giving even more money away to Wall Street. He confirmed suspicions of a sellout by reappointing bank lobbyist Tim Geithner to the Treasury, and tunnel-visioned Ben Bernanke as head of the Federal Reserve Board.

Yet on Wednesday, October 4, the president tried to represent the OccupyWallStreet movement as supportive for his efforts. He pretended to endorse a pro-consumer regulator to limit bank fraud, as if he had not dumped Elizabeth Warren on the advice of Mr. Geithner – who seems to be settling into the role of bagman for campaign contributors from Wall Street.

Can President Obama get away with it? Can he jump in front of the parade and represent himself as a friend of labor and consumers while his appointees support Wall Street and his Committee of 13 is waiting in the wings to perform its designated function of guillotining Social Security?

When I visited the OccupyWallStreet site on Wednesday, it was clear that the disgust with the political system went so deep that there is no single set of demands that can fix a system so fundamentally broken and dysfunctional. One can’t paste-up a regime that is impoverishing the economy, accelerating foreclosures, pushing state and city budgets further into deficit, and forcing cuts in social spending.

The situation is much like that from Iceland to Greece: Governments no longer represent the people. They represent predatory financial interests that are impoverishing the economy. This is not democracy. It is financial oligarchy. And oligarchies do not give their victims a voice.

So the great question is, where do we go from here? There’s no solvable path within the way that the economy and the political system is structured these days. Any attempt to come up with a neat “fix-it” plan can only suggest bandages for what looks like a fatal political-economic wound.

The Democrats are as much a part of the septic disease as the Republicans. Other countries face a similar problem. The Social Democratic regime in Iceland is acting as the party of bankers, and its government’s approval rating has fallen to 12 percent. But they refuse to step down. So earlier last week, voters brought steel oil drums to their own Occupation outside the Althing and banged when the Prime Minister started to speak, to drown out her advocacy of the bankers (and foreign vulture bankers at that!).

Likewise in Greece, the demonstrators are showing foreign bank interests that any agreement the European Central Bank makes to bail out French and German bondholders at the cost of increasing taxes on Greek labor (but not Greek property and wealth) cannot be viewed as democratically entered into. Hence, any debts that are claimed, and any real estate or public enterprises sold off to the creditor powers under distress conditions, can be reversed once voters are given a democratic voice in whether to impose a decade of poverty on the country and force emigration.

That is the spirit of civil disobedience that is growing in this country. It is a quandary – that is, a problem with no solution. All that one can do under such conditions is to describe the disease and its symptoms. The cure will follow logically from the diagnosis. The role of OccupyWallStreet is to diagnose the financial polarization and corruption of the political process that extends right into the Supreme Court, the Presidency, and Mr. Obama’s soon-to-be notorious Committee of 13 once the happy-smoke settles from his present pretensions.


Michael Hudson: The Greek People Never Agreed to the Debt or Austerity

on Oct 9, 2011

Michael Hudson: There is nothing democratic about sending Greece into a decade of depression

Michael Hudson: The Greek People Never Agreed to the Debt or Austerity

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street economist. A Distinguished Research Professor at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), he is the author of many books, including Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (new ed., Pluto Press, 2002) and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt: A History of Theories of Polarization v. Convergence in the World Economy. He can be reached via his website, mh@michael-hudson.com.


Richard C. Cook: Creating Local Currencies and Monetary Reform

End Corporatocracy by Rand Clifford

Why the Elites Are in Trouble by Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader: Obama is a Dictator! + Nader, Ron Paul, Kucinich Speak to Occupy Wall Street

Either you are a rebel or a slave by Chris Hedges + Bernie Sanders on #OccupyWallStreet

Michael Hudson: Debt Deflation in Europe and America + Euro SOS

17 thoughts on “Michael Hudson: Banks are crime-gangs! + Obama’s Good Cop/Bad Cop deal with the Republicans

  1. Pingback: First Steps in Reforming the U.S. Financial and Tax System by Michael Hudson « Dandelion Salad

  2. Pingback: The Story of Broke (2011) « Dandelion Salad

  3. Pingback: Michael Hudson: EU: Democracy Incompatible with Debt Collection + Jon Corzine’s MF Global Firm Collapses « Dandelion Salad

  4. Pingback: Michael Hudson: Finance is the new mode of warfare « Dandelion Salad

  5. Pingback: Max Keiser: Greece run by financial terrorists + Satyajit Das: Global economic chaos « Dandelion Salad

  6. Pingback: Michael Hudson on Fixing the Economy: Reverse the Inequality « Dandelion Salad

  7. Pingback: Trade Theory Financialized by Michael Hudson « Dandelion Salad

  8. Pingback: Michael Hudson: Icelandic People Said No « Dandelion Salad

  9. Pingback: Simon Patten on Public Infrastructure and Economic Rent Capture by Michael Hudson « Dandelion Salad

  10. Pingback: Michael Hudson: Senate Bill Threatens Currency War with China « Dandelion Salad

  11. Pingback: Rumble from the people by Ralph Nader « Dandelion Salad

  12. Pingback: Don’t Divide, UNITE! From Occupy Wall Street to Liberate the World + We Want to be Free! by Andrew Gavin Marshall « Dandelion Salad

  13. Pingback: Police with horses charge protesters at Occupy Wall Street + Occupy Rome protest turns violent « Dandelion Salad

  14. Pingback: NYPD Cop Punches Woman Protester at Occupy Wall Street « Dandelion Salad

  15. The Rulers have been able to keep discontent with the system, bottled up and confined to the fantasy that voting for one or the other of the two parties was the way to fix things, Reality is beginning to set in, both parties and their spokesmen are becoming more and more irrelevant, and their pronouncements regarding this movement, downright silly

  16. well written and expressed michael. if only more ( so called ) progressives out there would ‘ see the light ‘ as to the Democrats. i urge all to get the DVD ‘ Lifting the Veil ‘ and see the truth.

    as far as the OWS movement, i am proud that they are doing it all over, with NO leadership or party labels. my only concern is that this new movement needs to incorporate what we ‘ Cut Military spending/ End All Occupations ‘ street demonstrators have been saying for years ( 7 for yours truly ) . Michael, from now on could you include the two ‘ sides of the same coin ‘ in any articles? without a pullback of this ghastly empire we are doomed.

Comments are closed.