Last week, Elizabeth Warren (author, Harvard Law professor, and Democratic Senator) took her cross-hairs off her regular targets (the bankers and the regulators) and opened up on President Obama and his administration instead in a quote that has been bouncing around the web for the last week:
“They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over”
I’ve been following Senator Warren’s career since 2003 when her book The Two Income Trap came out. She expanded on the themes of her book in a June 2007 lecture at UC Berkeley. The lectures’ title–THE COMING COLLAPSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS–comes closer to predicting the 2008 meltdown than any of the pundits on CNBC. And she divined the reasons for the meltdown and continued economic sluggishness–the fact that the middle class needs 104 paychecks a year to pay for a lifestyle their parents had with 52.
Watch the video: her contention is that the middle class couldn’t survive any slippage in employment and hope to pay for continued price increases in the cost of housing, college and medical care.
We’re now seven years past the point when Warren and others sounded the alarm. She got to form the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, though she couldn’t run it–The administration decided they didn’t want to fight a Senate filibuster of her appointment (or maybe the many Dems who depend on campaign money from Wall Street made their voices heard privately at the White House).
And we’re now five years away from an economic meltdown that was almost totally caused by the Wall Streeters who turned the market into a casino. Not a single Wall Street miscreant has been indicted for what has to be the biggest financial crime in world history (a minimum of $22 Trillion disappeared from the US economy, largely due to Wall Street’s lack of regulation).
If it had been the Gambino Crime family involved in the mortgage scams, phony derivatives swaps and the sabotaging of the MBS bonds, the RICO indictments would have been stacked to the rafters and the perp-walk would have been the length of the Isle of Manhattan. Instead, the hapless Eric Holder (and his man Lanny Breuer) let the statute of limitations run out with zero criminal indictments. Holder didn’t even hold out for criminal prosecutions for drug money laundering and manipulating LIBOR. And predictably, Wall Street is back to its old games.
And now Wall Street has retreated nearly 800 points from its top in September.
Part of the anger welling up against Obama and the Democrats (and it may be enough to tip the Senate red in November) is that the people who put us in the economic ditch never paid a price. I just re-watched the famous 2009 confrontation between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer, and you can see the contempt growing in Stewart with each self-serving statement Cramer makes. That anger still burns hot with many of us, but very few people in politics even give the issue of the lack of banker accountability for 2008 lip service these days.
Elizabeth Warren is probably one of the most trusted people in the Senate (along with Socialist Bernie Sanders). She has been stumping for Senate Democrats for weeks now, so no one can accuse her of riding off the range. It seems to me she can see the coming electoral disaster in the tea leaves, and is hoping for some acknowledgement from the White House that we’re back to where we were in 2008. Don’t attack the messenger just because you don’t like her message.