Thanks to a five hour delay in my flight yesterday (first plane was two hours late, and after finally boarding it and sitting in it for a half hour, we had to deplane for mechanical reasons, forced to wait again until the airline could find us another bird); and having run out of battery charge for my laptop, I resorted to reading various newspapers. I had just finished my fourth one when one of the pilots handed me his copy of The Wall Street Journal. (I will say that Southwest was very good about making amends, apologizing repeatedly and giving us a $100 voucher and a free drink.)
Anywhoozle, I read two WSJ op-eds, one from Carl Rove and the other from Phil Gramm and a former economic adviser to Mitch McConnell, Michael Solon. I was going to dig into the latter but Hunter at the Big Orange beat me to it. Here’s how he begins his piece:
Former senator Phil Gramm, who is primarily famous these days as being associated with every major economic meltdown and scandal in the last twenty years, and who said in 2008 that the whole Great Recession did not actually exist, calling it a “mental” recession and saying that we had become a “nation of whiners,” wants you to know that the real problem with America is not all that various shit he and his fellow near-crooks have done over the last dozen years but, instead, all of the damn poor people today taking advantage of food stamps and disability and whatnot instead of going out and getting some of those jobs that still do not actually exist:
In 1980 and 1992, only 3% of the American labor force drew disability benefits from the government. Today it is 6%. The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.
How would Presidents Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush have fared on their Election Day if 40% of the Americans who were unemployed had instead qualified for disability benefits? How would voters have reacted in 1980 or 1992 if food-stamp benefits had grown by 65% instead of an average of less than 25% during the first four years of their administrations?
During the past four years, the Obama administration’s aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million. Do these people feel the same level of discontent about economic conditions as the rest of the voting population?
Hunter goes on to point out the essential role that then Senator Gramm played in deregulating the derivatives market; his time as an executive at UBS during which the bank was fleecing its customers, their plunge into the sub-prime mortgage disaster, and their being investigated for money laundering. And, in an All in the Family moment, the role Gramm’s wife, Wendy Gramm, played in the Enron meltdown.
(I would add that Willard had a tax sheltered account at UBS during the time that it was illegally hiding its clients’ money from Uncle Sam’s tax collectors, for which it was fined $760 million and produced the infamous IRS ordered tax amnesty program, the likely reason why Romney has so adamantly refused to release his 2009 tax return.)
Hunter addresses the moral hypocrisy of the 47% being lectured by a corporate marauder like Gramm:
See there? The reason so so many people are voting for Barack Obama in this election is that they’re not hungry enough. In the wake of the Great Recession. When the first sub-eight-percent unemployment numbers have come in in for-freaking-ever, itself a dismally modest improvement that proved so shocking to conservatives that they have all but convinced themselves that it must be a government plot. Why, if we let those 18.5 million people starve, they’d be much more pissed off—and then they’d go out and vote for Mitt Romney!
Gramm is living proof of the lack of accountability that exists among the 1% that brought on the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Not only are they still wearing tuxedos instead of orange jumpsuits, they’re given a megaphone by the likes of Rupert Murdoch‘s Wall Street Journal to erase from our collective memory the devastating consequences of their greedy machinations—by blaming their victims, of course.
That in the process they are using this same Ayn Randian narrative to justify reducing their already historically low tax rates is an expression of hubris and mendacity that is breathtaking in its scope.
Message to all you hallucinating whiners who’ve lost your jobs, homes, retirement accounts, and hopes for a better life for you and your kids:
The beatings will continue until morale improves.
[image found here.]