Class War!

From Wikipedia

 

Are Americans in the midst of a class war?

What is “class war”?
How would you know you are under attack?
Don’t our leaders protect us?
So what’s new?

_________________________

Key Victories of the Super-Rich:
  • 1978 – Capital Gains Tax Cut and Payroll Taxes Raised
  • 1978 – Bill to Establish Office of Consumer Representation Defeated
  • 1993 – Stock Option Reform Defeated: Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) announced it would require the “expensing of stock options” to link pay to corporate performance; Democrats Lieberman, Boxer, Feinstein blocked reform [Hacker & Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics 246-7]
  • 1995 – Private Securities Litigation Reform Act: “put new hurdles in the way of shareholders seeking legl remedies against corporations and underwriters peddling false information” [Winner-Take-All Politics 219]
  • 1998 – Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Prevented From Regulating Derivatives
  • 1998 – Clinton Allows Citicorp & Travelers & Salomon Smith Barney to Merge,  Violating Glass-Steagall
  • 2000 – Gramm, Clinton Abolish Glass-Steagall
  • 2007-2010 – Fed Welfare to Banks Earns Banks $13B in Income [Bloomberg 11/27/11; corporate socialism to the banks that caused the financial collapse rather than “socialism” (welfare) to homeowners facing foreclosure {see Joseph Stiglitz,Freefall 99-104 – “The real challenge is how to save the homes of the hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise lose them without bailing out the banks, which should be made to bear the consequences of their failure to assess risk.” [99]]
  • 2008 – Bush, Obama Bail Out Wall St.
  • 2010 – By Citizens’ United, Supreme Court Allows Institutions to Buy Elections
  • 2012 – New York Times: SEC Letting Big Banks Off Easy  By granting exemptions to laws and regulations that act as a deterrent to securities fraud, the S.E.C. has let financial giants like JPMorganChase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America continue to have advantages reserved for the most dependable companies, making it easier for them to raise money from investors, for example, and to avoid liability from lawsuits if their financial forecasts turn out to be wrong…. By granting those waivers, the S.E.C. allowed Wall Street firms to have powerful advantages, securities experts and former regulators say.

Douglas Lee Campbell, a former senior vice president and marketer in Bank of America’s municipal derivatives group, pleaded guilty Thursday to three criminal counts for engaging in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies connected with guaranteed investment contract and other municipal finance agreements.

  • SEC Says Banks Paid $673 M for Corruption: Financial institutions have now paid a total of $673 million in settlements resulting from the ongoing investigations into corruption in the municipal reinvestment industry.
  • Justice Department: 24 Plead Guilty to Real Estate Foreclosure Fraud .  The department said Ditmer conspired with others to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County beginning as early as July 2008 and continuing until about January 2011, and in Alameda County beginning as early as June 2007 and continuing until about January 2011.
  • 2012 – Outside Millions Defeat Walker Recall

________________________

Readings:What They Did: 

  • Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

How They Did It:

  • Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, Winner-Take-All Politics

Why We Are the Losers & Where We Need to Go:

_________________________________________

All the assumptions of citizenship and how we interact with our government shift 180 degrees under class war. Class war makes everything different: instead of agreement on the rules serving as the foundation for common success, society is split in two camps, with at least one trying to ruin the future of the other. It is possible that the rich and poor both are fighting a class war; it is also possible that the rich are fighting invisibly–by manipulating tax policy and using war scares to blind the people with patriotic rage. In the latter case, economic policy is not designed as a tide that lifts all boats but as a means of theft. Wars are fought not to defend the people but to turbo-charge the economic policy of theft. If you happen to be part of the “other,” you need to know that you are under attack.


Since the Recession of 2008, caused by super-rich gambling with other people’s money to further enrich themselves, the guilty and their political servants have taken to accusing those trying to defend society of “starting a class war.” Has a class war indeed been launched in the U.S. and, if so, who started it and who is winning?


Your future depends on finding out the very scary answers.

Liberty, Slavery, and Class War

Liberty is both reciprocal and relative, not individual or absolute. Otherwise, it just means “my liberty, and your slavery.”Slavery is the power to compel. In the long and bumbling struggle of Americans for liberty, the physical bondage called slavery has been more clearly condemned than the more subtle but equally effective financial bondage of a rich elite….

When American families use the word “liberty,” they are not referring to granting monster banks the liberty to engage in mortgage fraud or bet against their own clients or demand welfare to compensate them for their gambling losses. When billionaires use the word “liberty,” they are referring to all this and more…to the right to buy elections by pitting their billions against the savings of normal voters in a “free” contest of “one dollar, one vote.” The billionaires are referring to the right to tell the politicians they have bought to pass laws for their private convenience, laws that break unions, drive down wages, and push virtually everyone into subservience. The billionaires are referring to laws that allow them to destroy the environment that is our common heritage in order to enrich themselves even as they impoverish the rest of us.

When the average American uses the word “liberty,” that word means “government  of the people, by the people, and for the people.” When billionaires and their lackey politicians use the word “liberty,” it means something incompatible, i.e., liberty for the rich to take full advantage of their power but certainly not liberty of the people to defend their access to social services, their right to fair pay for their labor, or their control over government officials elected to represent them: it means  “class war.” And the billionaires are winning.

After Reagan, the rich became richer by stealing from the poor and by impoverishing the great middle class that personified the American dream. When a mortgage company CEO can skim a few thousand in excess fees off the top of hundreds of thousands of mortgages and then escape criminal responsibility by quickly selling those mortgages to…say, a Chinese bank, that CEO can do very well indeed, thank you, even in the midst of general disaster, and he can easily afford to contribute appropriately to the politicians who look the other way. That’s one good route for a rich man to get richer by stealing from the poor. It’s called “trickle up.”


Legislating “Morality:” Lessons Government Teaches Us


Every day we legislate to set options, which impact behavior, and which eventually tends to alter attitudes: utterly arbitrary and perhaps completely irrational, unjust, unfair, biased norms are created and eventually taken for granted as we forget their arbitrary beginnings….


The government has made a fundamental value judgement: working to build up the nation (whatever physical or mental, blue-collar or white-collar work you care to do) is punished; gambling with money (most often not even your own money!) is rewarded.

Wisconsin: Society Defeated Again

The Wisconsin election was not about union power; it was about democracy, and the voters dealt democracy a major defeat. This is what class war by the rich looks like in a land of the short-sighted.

Bankers Take Welfare, Let America Rot

Whether the bankers who so crippled the American economy end up being punished for their irresponsibility or not, the harm they caused is worsening, not improving, and we are setting ourselves up for a real collapse the next time around. Perhaps the key battle won by those of the super-rich who survived 2008 was the decision by Washington to “save the system” by saving the bankers at the expense of throwing away the victimized homeowners, leaving unanswered the question, “Why would bankers holding millions of mortgages want all that property in foreclosure and rotting away?”

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3 comments on “Class War!

  1. Pingback: Class-Based Austerity | Shadowed Forest of World Politics

  2. Pingback: Institutions Should Serve People | Shadowed Forest of World Politics

  3. Pingback: Governing to Promote Civilization | Shadowed Forest of World Politics

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