The general co-chairman of John McCain’s presidential campaign, former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), led the charge in 1999 to repeal a Depression-era banking regulation law that Democrat Barack Obama claimed on Thursday contributed significantly to today’s economic turmoil.
“A regulatory structure set up for banks in the 1930s needed to change because the nature of business had changed,” the Illinois senator running for president said in a New York economic speech. “But by the time [it] was repealed in 1999, the $300 million lobbying effort that drove deregulation was more about facilitating mergers than creating an efficient regulatory framework.”
Gramm’s role in the swift and dramatic recent restructuring of the nation’s investment houses and practices didn’t stop there.
A year after the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealed the old regulations, Swiss Bank UBS gobbled up brokerage house Paine Weber. Two years later, Gramm settled in as a vice chairman of UBS’s new investment banking arm.
Later, he became a major player in its government affairs operation. According to federal lobbying disclosure records, Gramm lobbied Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department about banking and mortgage issues in 2005 and 2006.
During those years, the mortgage industry pressed Congress to roll back strong state rules that sought to stem the rise of predatory tactics used by lenders and brokers to place homeowners in high-cost mortgages.
For his work, Gramm and two other lobbyists collected $750,000 in fees from UBS’s American subsidiary. In the past year, UBS has written down more than $18 billion in exposure to subprime loans and other risky securities and is considering cutting as many as 8,000 jobs.
As Hunter Thompson warned us all, it matters who is President. There's a reason why we pay attention to boring details like policy, and ask the hard questions of our would-be leaders. This nation simply isn't taking the job of governing seriously. No respectable, intelligent country would tolerate this Republican madness for a moment. Treating the VP like a celebrity appearance on American Idol would doom any politician in the rest of the world, especially after eight years of disastrous Republican policy.
How the GOP cultivated this reputation as the party of fiscal discipline is one of the great political mysteries of my life. As long as I've been alive, this party has made ruin of the nation's finances. They have been in thrall to movement conservatism for far too long, with their obsession with eliminating government, with looting the public treasury, with dismantling the New Deal.
The stock market meltdown and skyrocketing debt is no mere accident. This did not happen because of incompetence. This did not happen by accident. This was the end result of deliberate party doctrinem a doctrine that calls for eliminating government oversight in every sector of the country - eliminating government itself. It should come as no surprise that these criminals have been stealing everything in the store.
And then these same Republicans, who are about to hand you a Second Great Depression, they distract you with trivia, fear and lies. And maybe another war, if all else fails. Be afraid! Barack Obama is a moooslum! Ooooh! He's going to raaaaise your taxes! Ooooooh! Gay people will force your church to marry them! Ooooh! The big bad terr'ist is gonna get ya! Celebrity! Sex ed! Lipstick! Bridge to nowhere! Drilling! Fear! Fear! Fear!
The fact that this race is tied says a lot about America. It speaks to this nation's shame. That a people could allow themselves to become so ignorant, so mindless, so easily manipulated, is a tragedy for the ages. These are not the actions of a great nation. These are the actions of dying race.