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Reply #78: Bill Moyers with David Corn and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones [View All]

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99 Percent Sure Donating Member (355 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-11-10 12:49 AM
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78. Bill Moyers with David Corn and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones
broke our financial mess down so succinctly that even the most uninformed could get it. It was so affecting, that I had to read the transcript:

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal.

The ancient Romans had a proverb: "Money is like sea water. The more you drink, the thirstier you become." That adage finds particular meaning today on Wall Street, which began this New Year riding a tidal wave of bonuses in a surging ocean of greed.

Thanks to taxpayers like you who generously bailed banking from the financial shipwreck it created for itself and for us, by the end of 2009 the industry's compensation pool reached nearly $200 billion. And despite windfall profits, the banks will claim almost $80 billion in tax deductions. And nearly $20 billion of those deductions will go to just three institutions Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs.

Ah, yes Goldman Sachs, that paragon of profit and probity which bet big on the housing bubble and when it popped presto! converted itself from an investment firm into a bank so it could get your bailout money. Now consider this: in 2008, Goldman Sachs paid an effective tax rate of just one percent. I'm not making that up one percent! while their CEO Lloyd Blankfein pulled down over $40 million. That's God's work, if you can get it. And, believe me, Wall Street bankers know how to get it.

Let me read you a letter that was posted on our website a few days ago from a faithful viewer. His name is Mike Demmer. I don't know him personally, but I like to hear from him. He says, dear Bill, I watch your program all the time. What I don't understand is how a bunch of greedy bankers could bring the world to the edge of catastrophe and then in less than a year, already move back to their old ways. How do they do it?

KEVIN DRUM: Well, that's the $64 million question. Or maybe it's the $64 billion question these days. Yeah, how they do it? They've got all the money. And they use all the money. And they use it in Congress to get rules passed and get laws passed that they want. They use it to lobby the Fed, they use it to lobby the S.E.C. They use it to lobby the executive branch. And they get rules passed that allow them to make a lot of money. Just like any of us would. It's not that American bankers are greedier than anybody else's bankers. It's that our rules, our laws, allow them to do things that they can't do everywhere else. We let them take advantage of the system.

BILL MOYERS: But how do you measure their power? Lobbying doesn't happen in the public, in the open. We can't sit in the bleachers and watch the game being played. How do you know they have this power?

DAVID CORN: You can read the lobbying reports. You know that there are scores if not hundreds of lobbyists. And where do they come from? They come from the committees that they're lobbying. People used to work on the committee, whether they were members, Congressmen or Senators, or staffers. And they spent a lot of time because, ultimately, Bill, this is about knowledge. This is about information. This stuff is really complicated and convoluted. And, you know, you try reading any of one of these bills and figuring out what's actually being said. It's mystifying. And so, these guys who know the rules, they know the language, and they have the access, and they're giving contributions to the people writing the rules, have all the advantages.

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