The disaster bubbling up to the surface down in the Gulf is assuming proportions that make the plagues of Egypt look like a teen party that got a little out of control. "Don’t worry. Accidents Happen!" says the new bright star of the Tea Party Brigade, Rand Paul, "it’s un-American to blame BP for being negligent." After all, there were THREE companies that were negligent down there and one of them was that shining example of patriotic profit-taking, Halliburton! You can’t blame BP for an Act of GOD! Well, I have a question. If these god-fearing jackasses think the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Delta is an Act of God, then WTF do they think God is trying to SAY???
But I digress. My real topic is that other corporate disaster, the Financial Reform Bill. Yup, Chris Dodd has finally achieved his valedictory legislation, a financial reform that is in every way the counterpart of the Health Care and Credit Card Reforms. Like underwear that is so full of holes, the skidmarks get on your pants anyway. Yes, there are some nice new picket fences with signs that say, "Don’t Go Here Or We’ll Slap You," in place, but by and large, "too big to fail," has become enshrined by law as the WAY THINGS ARE in the United Corporations of America.
Limiting the size of banks? Perish the thought–just like the US itself is too big to fail, our banks are too big to close. Breaking up some of the companies that were responsible for a worldwide economic collapse? You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet! Caps on credit card interest? We covered THAT back with credit card reform! And what a success THAT has been. And the piece de resistance? The wall between trading and commercial banking that would prevent banks from using our money to buy chips in their own casino? Hahaha you must be joking.
OK there’s a new consumer agency that Elizabeth Warren, darling of the Daily Show, has been pushing. And there’s some new regulation and oversight. But mostly Wall Street is left with the task of policing Wall Street and us chickens know what it means when the fox is guarding the hen house. The Street will still hire its own credit raters, you know, the ones who gave those risky investments AAA ratings? And derivatives will still be sold to hedge risk, thereby allowing risk to be swallowed up in bookkeeping. So in every way, the things that led to the economic collapse of 2009 has been left in place. Anyone want to take bets on another collapse by 2016? How about 2012?
If this is Chris Dodd’s valedictory achievement in the Senate, I’d say his retirement is a very good thing for the American people. But–couldn’t you have left a little quicker, Chris?
Greg Uchrin is a satirist, cartoonist and professional cynic in Alexandria VA. This diary is cross-posted to his blog Intravenous Caffeine, the post-Bush era successor to HAIL DUBYUS!