“The American people are voting against the political system. They are given the choice between the marketed vision of false hope and the vision of everyman financed by those who are attempting to take away vital services. Anger at the financial bailouts is understandable and a vote to cut off government from using our future tax burden to fortify the powerful is also quite sensible. The problem is that in the era of money politics, no coalition from either party can make good on the mirage of their marketed vision.
That both Alan Grayson and Russ Feingold were defeated after being ardent critics of the bailouts and the industry friendly financial regulatory reform is a clear warning that the money system can defeat the politician who represents the people’s interest against powerful vested interests.
All of this points to the fundamental need for reform of government incentives in order to restore the power of votes relative to the power of money. And to the fact that reform is the precursor to limiting the domination of our state by concentrated money interests, both corporate and by wealthy individuals. The rules of our society should not be bought and sold.”
-Robert Johnson, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow and Director of the Project on Global Finance; Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinkings
“Barack Obama did not do what it took to pull the economy out of the doldrums. This is true for the fiscal stimulus, which was too small, too preoccupied with returning to a surplus as fast as possible, and contained too much lag. His banking bailout policies continued the Bush/Paulson approach and effectively reinforced the notion of government as an instrument of predatory capitalism, rather than an entity mobilizing resources for a broader public purpose. Obama didn’t give us ‘change we could believe in.’ He instead used trillions of dollars in financial guarantees to sustain Wall Street (much more money than was spent on the stimulus) and consequently presided over one of the most regressive wealth transfers in American history. At a time when most Americans were experiencing stagnant or absolute declines in total wages, and Wall Street Robber Barons paid themselves even higher bonuses than before, the President was totally insensitive. He appeared to take pains to put down or ignore the aspirations of every single part of his base. And he wonders why there was an ‘enthusiasm gap.’”
– Marshall Auerback, Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow
For more see Roosevelt Election Roundup