Tuesday morning I posted to my Facebook friends a link to an excerpt from Andrew Ross Sorkin's new book "Too Big to Fail: How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System -- and Themselves." I hadn't yet read the piece, but judging from an interview Sorkin gave to Charlie Rose on Monday night about his book, I had thought the excerpt might shed some light on the recent attacks of Big Business on the Obama administration.
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Rose mentioned the assault himself. Big-bank lobbyists are teaming up to oppose new regulations for the financial industry that Obama has proposed to reduce the chances our nation might once again step to the brink of a Great Depression 2.0, as it did a year ago.
Also, last week, the health-insurance industry finally let drop it's opposition to any health-care reform by lying about the prospect for higher health-insurance premiums if currently proposed reforms go through. To my mind, the industry's contention only strengthens the argument that a public option must be included in any health-reform package. The insurance companies, after all, would be the people raising the rates!
A public option, offering lower rates, would compete against those very companies, and keep them from raising the rates if they wanted to keep their current customers.
Then on Tuesday, too, The Wasington Post, reported the White House was trying to sidestep opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, big businesses' highest paid lobbyist. The U.S. Chamber is bucking up against the administration on several fronts: health care, global warming and financial regulation.
To get around them, administration officials are visiting with individual CEOs over their company's positions on such issues; and several big firms, Apple Inc. in particular, have dropped out of the chamber because of its harsh opposition to administrative iniatives.
Did anyone really believe big business would turn the other cheek in these battles with a centrist/liberal administration that still holds majority support among voters?
"People" are beneficiaries of all the Obama initiatives, and that's what big business and some small businesses are opposed to.
You cannot save the middle class and the poor in this country, without taking something from the establishment and the rich. It's time the rich gave back what they, in cahoots with a free-market government, have slowly, inexorably taken away.
Sorkin's excerpt doesn't give much of a clue to any of this, but he indicated to Rose that the word "Themselves," in his subtitle suggests one of the most disturbing things he found in writing the tome. Wall Street is a club of rich people who also serve in government, and their actions in both arenas are taken with their own self-interest top of mind -- or at least as top-of-mind as the greater good of all Americans, which undeniably also remains one of their motives.