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Hullabaloo


Saturday, March 22, 2014

 
Wall Street and Tea

by digby

This piece by Mike Konczal should be read by every liberal who is convinced that we make common cause with the Tea party on economics and everyone will live happily ever after:

There seems to be some confusion about the relationship between the Tea Party and Wall Street. New York magazine's Jonathan Chait says the two "are friends after all," while the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney insists that the Tea Party has loosened the business lobby's "grip on the GOP." So let’s make this clear: The Tea Party agenda is currently aligned with the Wall Street agenda.

The Tea Party's theory of the financial crisis has absolved Wall Street completely. Instead, the crisis is interpreted according to two pillars of reactionary thought: that the government is a fundamentally corrupt enterprise trying to give undeserving people free stuff, and that hard money should rule the day. This will have major consequences for the future of reform, should the GOP take the Senate this fall.

On the Hill, it’s hard to find where the Tea Party and Wall Street disagree. Tea Party senators like Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, plus conservative senators like David Vitter, have rallied around a one-line bill repealing the entirety of Dodd-Frank and replacing it with nothing. In the House, Republicans are attacking new derivatives regulations, all the activities of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the existence of the Volcker Rule, and the ability of the FDIC to wind down a major financial institution, while relentlessly attacking strong regulators and cutting regulatory funding. This is Wall Street’s wet dream of a policy agenda.

Note the lack of any Republican counter-proposal or framework. The few that have been suggested, such as David Camp's bank tax or Vitter's higher capital requirements have gotten no additional support from the right. House Republicans attacked Camp’s plan publicly, and Vitter's bill lost one of its only two other Republican supporters immediately after it was announced. So why is there a lack of an agenda? Because the Tea Party thinks that Wall Street has done nothing wrong.

That's exactly right. As Konczal explains, their version of events is that the government forced banks to make shoddy loans to undeserving people and that the way to fix this problem is to eliminate all the regulations that are keeping the banks and Wall Street from being the upstanding citizens they wish to be.

Right wing populism does not blame moneyed interests for our economic ills. Right wing populism blames "the other" --- and government regulations or laws that they believe unfairly benefits that "other" at their expense. That's not a recipe for forming a coalition with progressives, many of whom are the very "others" these right wing populists hold responsible for society's ills.

Obviously, on discrete issues there's always hope for creating a temporary coalition from several different factions, each of whom has their own (sometimes competing) goals. But a broad movement consisting of right and left populists? Let's just say I think there's a better chance of my winning the gold medal in ice dancing in 2018.

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