Token Reformer

Elizabeth Warren is beginning to remind me of that poor hero in Tienanmen who stood in front of the Chinese Communist Party panzer column as it mowed down Chinese democracy. He stopped the tank column that day, but the brave Chinese reformers still got slaughtered.

Elizabeth Warren seems like the last best hope of the American people, but still, her convention speech was mostly undeserved pats on the back for a president who cares more about being part of the Washington club than he does about taking the reform steps Warren advocates. She did have a few money quotes:

People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs—the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs—still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them….

we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people

Good as far as it goes and Warren’s record suggests that she can be trusted to try to fill in the details, but you have to trust her. She certainly did not lay out the necessary reform program, and there is little evidence that the Democratic Party leaders will help her very much. They are far too comfortable lying in bed with the Wall St. magnates at whom Warren keeps pointing her finger. After four years of Obama, has a single Wall St. CEO even been tried, much less convicted? Has a single corporate mugger (corporations, being people, can also be muggers, as Americans have learned since the neo-con heyday) been cut down to size? Have the banks been forced to return to banking? Have punitive taxes been levied on derivative trades? Has the FBI reconstituted the financial crimes division that it used to such effect during the S&L crisis, when it jailed some 1,000 financial criminals? Do we even have visibility into the financial tricks Wall St. continues to employ to transfer funds from the poor into the hands of the rich? Is incorporation defined as a privilege to be extended only insofar as it may be consistent with the national good?

So, actually, we do run this country for corporations rather than people. Elect Elizabeth by all means, but don’t expect anything to change.  Elizabeth Warren is going to be the loneliest person in Washington. Without real popular support for reform, our government will continue to be “by the rich, of the rich, and for the rich.”

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