Our Consumer Plutocracy

 We Americans dwell in a consumer plutocracy, and the plutocrats don't even bother to be cute about it any more. Barack Obama, hailed by the geniuses of new media as a populist saviour, has surrounded himself with a team that was already bought and paid for by the financial services industry before they ever walked into the White House.

Larry Summers collected $5.2 million last year from his part-time job with a hedge fund.

$5.2 million for a part-time job!

One day per week!

"And just in case you ever get a big job in Washington, Larry, remember who your friends are!"

George W. Bush remembered his friends who paid him $15 million on a $600K investment in a baseball franchise, and Barack Obama remembers his friend Penny Pritzker, the Queen of Sub-Prime Lending, chief financial officer of his Senate and Presidential campaigns, and Rahm Emanuel remembers his friends among the investment bankers at Wasserstein Perella, who paid him $16.2 million for two years of "work," and it isn't easy to figure out exactly what "work" that was, because Rahm Emanuel was a speech and communication major at Sarah Lawrence and Northwestern, and never had any training whatsoever in accounting, or business, or finance... but he always knew how to follow the money, as a fundraiser for Richard Daley and Bill Clinton, and now Rahm has followed the money all the way to his current job as Chief of Staff and gatekeeper outside the Oval Office.

"If you ever get a big job in Washington, Rahm, remember your friends!"

And the friends remember, too. They remembered Bill Clinton for signing Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and paid him $40 million for speaking, in 2007, alone, and the same friends already remember Tim Geithner.

Tim Geithner is "[a] very unusually talented young man...[who] understands government and understands markets," says Henry Paulson, who gave away more money to the banks than anybody in the history of the world... except Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Barack Obama.

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    And for the little people, it's debtors' prison! (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jacob Freeze on Wed Apr 08, 2009 at 11:58:53 PM EST
    Jolly news from the New York Times...

    Here is a tale that sounds like it comes right from the pages of "Little Dorrit," Charles Dickens's scathing indictment of Victorian England's debtors' prisons. Unfortunately, it is happening in 21st-century America.

    Edwina Nowlin, a poor Michigan resident, was ordered to reimburse a juvenile detention center $104 a month for holding her 16-year-old son. When she explained to the court that she could not afford to pay, Ms. Nowlin was sent to prison. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which helped get her out last week after she spent 28 days behind bars, says it is seeing more people being sent to jail because they cannot make various court-ordered payments. That is both barbaric and unconstitutional.

    In 1970, the Supreme Court ruled that it violates equal protection to keep inmates in prison extra time because they are too poor to pay a fine or court costs. More recently, the court ruled that a state generally cannot revoke a defendant's probation and imprison him for failing to pay a fine if he is unable to do so.

    That has not stopped the practice. In Georgia, poor people who cannot pay off fines - plus a monthly fee to the private company that collects the payments - are often sent to jail for nonpayment, according to Stephen Bright, president of the Southern Center for Human Rights. In 2006, the center sued on behalf of a woman who was locked up in Atlanta for eight months past her original sentence because she could not pay a $705 fine.

    All we need now is public flogging for beggars, and it's welcome back to the 18th Century!

    Burn that witch!

    Tote that barge!

    Debtors prisons? Take their money away (none / 0) (#2)
    by Timetrvlr on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 10:21:55 AM EST
    I think it's time that we take it ALL back.  Take all your money and savings out of national banks and wall street and place it into smaller state regulated banks and then keep the pressure on THOSE local people to keep the money OUT of Wall Street and thereby OUT OF WASHINGTON and IN our communities.
    Put the pressure on local and state businesses to start supporting the people instead of the politicians.    
    We can rebuild with pressure on LOCAL politicians and actually PUSH BACK against this unholy alliance of the financial wizards and politicians.
    Naive?  Perhaps.  Is it worth it to get it going? Absolutely.