Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amen, Brother Leonard

Commenting on news that former Senator Phil Gramm has continued working as a lobbyist for the Swiss bank UBS up until mid-April while at the same time advising John McCain on economic matters, Andrew Leonard at Salon's How the World Works blog writes:
Maybe I've just been paying attention to this particular thread of the American narrative of politics and the economy for too long, but it still strikes me as shocking that the same man who spearheaded legislation deregulating energy futures trading (which facilitated Enron's misdeeds), and the repeal of e Glass-Steagal's separation of investment and commercial banking, is a major influence on John McCain's economic agenda, and has simultaneously been working for the banking industry to prevent Congress from passing legislation that would give ordinary Americans a leg up in dealing with the mess that Wall Street has caused.

In a campaign where we have been endlessly obsessed by such trivia as what John Hagee or Jeremiah Wright might think about Jews or AIDS when neither man is going to have any influence at all on how McCain or Obama would govern, Phil Gramm's opposition to allowing judges to rewrite mortgage terms for Americans facing foreclosure seems far more relevant to the real lives of Americans than just about anything else the candidates are saying or doing. I don't care whether Obama's grand-uncle really helped to liberate Buchenwald instead of Auschwitz or whether Hillary Clinton's reference to Bobby Kennedy's assassination was pure evil or just dumb. But I do care about evidence that demolishes the fantasy that John McCain is some kind of maverick independent who might represent a change in direction from the economic policies pursued by Ronald Reagan and the two Bushes. In an election year where everyone is putting "the economy" at the top of the priority list, the employment priorities of McCain's longtime buddy and top advisor could hardly be more relevant.


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