Saturday, November 22, 2008

Congressional Uselessness

It's really nuts-making.

The Lame Duck Congress met and heard from the Big Three Automakers regarding a $25 billion bridge loan to tide them over until some of their restructuring and adaptations to the New Economy can be made. The usual huffery and puffery transpired, and much hoo-hah about corporate jets and what not, but eventually the real issue became clear: American car makers are in a bind; the market for new (big) cars has collapsed and it is not going to revive soon, especially not if the other parts of the economy don't improve. So. The car companies say they need a loan for now in order to stay in business while they restructure for current conditions, making sure their suppliers are paid, their workers are employed, their retirees are taken care of.

It makes a lot more sense on its face than the Paulson Extortion Scheme the Congress was Johnny-on-the-Spot improving and approving just a couple of months ago.

But Congress could not bring themselves to approve the Big Three automakers' request for loans and loan guarantees. They cannot bring themselves to approve a moritorium on home foreclosures and the restructuring of mortgages to keep people in their homes. They cannot bring themselves to approve anything that would actually keep ordinary people working and in their homes.

The only thing they can do is hand over trillions of dollars to CEOs and Smart Guys -- the very Wizards who brought on the financial collapse -- on demand and under orders.

They cannot do anything for people. Oh. Sorry. They did extend unemployment benefits for a few weeks.


The foreclosure crisis that is at the bottom of the economic collapse has been going on for two years or more, and Congress has dithered about it the whole time. Done nothing. They have been told by some of the Smart Guys who were extorting them that they better not do anything about the mortgage crisis, for it would be "unfortunate" to interfere in the market that way. "Let it sort itself out."

Yet the longer this drags on, the worse things become. There is now real panic abroad in the land because the economy is not recovering and all the trillions paid in extortion to the financial sector has done nothing to bring relief. In some ways, the extortion payments have made things worse.

Congress approved those payments -- essentially giving a blank check to the Treasury Secretary to do his will -- and the American People were ripped off in the biggest and most obvious heist in world history.

But comes an opportunity to actually do something positive for the American People, the answer is "No."

Congress is completely useless for the purpose of representing the interests of the American People. All they can do is take orders from the White House and serve their corporatist/imperialist masters.

This government needs a re-boot.


  1. In light of Congress' dithering over this, and the reasons you highlight for it, do you think that it would be worth our while to continue to pressure Congress for interventionary action on this? If not, what's the alternative?

  2. The problem is that they almost never respond to pressure from the "left" because they sincerely believe they don't have to. There is nothing that people on the "left" will do to them if they are ignored.

    Congressmembers will -- in most cases -- respond to pressure from the "right" because they believe that they must do so if they intend to stay in Congress.

    I think there are lots of reasons for this state of affairs, but a key one is the control of the media by so many right wing interests and ideologues. Media that can make and break politicians.

    If the People were actually prepared to do anything (for example, actually conduct a general strike) in order to accomplish some of their aims, then I think Congress would be more inclined to listen. But the usual round of calls and faxes and emails -- not to mention blog posts -- have little or no effect, UNLESS they are backed up with either money or action.

    But even money seems not to make the impression it once did.

    So we're left with action.

    And I don't believe the American People are ready for action just yet.

    On the other hand, the news I've been hearing all day is all about how Congress is preparing some grand stimulus/recovery package, hundreds of billions of dollars, as much as the financial sector extortion scheme if not more, and I can only assume they are headed in that direction because of pressure that's come from someplace other than the right.

    I wonder who?