On the day before Halloween, the ethically-challenged members of our lobbyist-haunted House of Representatives did a perverse imitation of "Profiles in Courage," turning that body into "Profiles in Spinelessness."
In particular, they cravenly caved in to an outrageous and dangerous demand by Wall Street whiners. Such financial powerhouses as Citigroup just hate having their profiteering recklessness restrained by the regulatory reforms passed after their 2008 financial meltdown. Even though the shockwaves from that Wall Street collapse continue to devastate America's middle class, the banking elite have completely recovered -- including recovering their swaggering arrogance and ability to sway money-hungry congress critters with rich campaign donations.
Thus, a majority of the House happily did Wall Street's bidding, passing a major bill that undercuts the reforms so banks can return to the risky casino games that wrecked our economy. Of course, the members insist that banker money didn't influence them. For example, Rep. Jim Himes, the second-largest recipient among Democrats of Wall Street cash, asserted after the vote that money "hardly determines, thank goodness, how legislators think about these issues."
Really? Then why did they let Citigroup lobbyists write the bulk of the bill? And why did they let Wall Street lobbyists orchestrate the debate by handing out talking points and questions for members to parrot during consideration of what became known as "Citigroup's bill?" Even a Republican staffer warned against simply mouthing the industry's lines: "I know that some of our members are inclined to whore," he wrote in an email, "but we cannot be apes."
Yet, for this Halloween trick-and-treat show, the majority of House members did, indeed, pose as apes and parrots for Wall Street.
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Photo: Flickr user David Shankbone, creative commons licensed.