Get Ready To Repeat Costly Mistakes

The “Pat Political Point” with WSGW’s Pat Johnston as you heard on “First Day” last Sunday. Pat laments how leadership both in Washington and Lansing are pushing policies designed to push us backwards. You can listen to his segment, and read the rough transcript provided below the sound clip.


Ah, those were simpler times, weren’t they? It was a time when the worst thing President Barack Obama committed was ordering Dijon mustard on his hamburger.

It was also a time when President Obama received criticism over his awkward pitching delivery, and his wife’s vegetable garden.

Those were some of the garden-variety issues (pardon the pun) which the right-wing focused on around this point of the Obama presidency.

How times have changed.

It was also a time when we as a country demanded some important steps be taken to protect American taxpayers from the reckless Wall Street banksters.

After the financial meltdown of 2007-08, President Obama quickly signed the Dodd-Frank bill designed to provide safe harbor for Americans if the banksters caused another financial crisis. Actually, Dodd-Frank’s goal was to prevent banks from being “too big to fail” ever again.

Now, Dodd-Frank didn’t go far enough in guaranteeing that dangerous investment banking practices would again harm the country. It didn’t reinstate Glass-Steagal, which separated investment banking from traditional banking.

But Dodd-Frank did provide some much-needed safeguards, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This regulatory arm insulates everyday Americans, no matter their race, creed, or gender identity, from exploitative practices in the financial service sector.

The CFPB has been perhaps the bright spot of Dodd-Frank, but House Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues want to dismantle that important government agency. In fact, they want to dismantle most of Dodd-Frank as they successfully passed a 600-page bill earlier this week designed to trash all the consumer protections in the Dodd-Frank.

Congressional members of Congress understand that no matter what President Trump says or does, they have an ally in the White House to sign a bill repealing Dodd-Frank. They want to eliminate protections for us while reopening the Wild Wild West atmosphere of recklessness that ruined the economy last decade. And with the Trump administration filled with former Goldman Sachs representatives, a repeal of Dodd-Frank is a strong possibility.

As Jeff Spross wrote in The Week, the GOP believes just letting the market decide everything, no matter how it damages the country–and the world.

Spross says another solution “would be to use tools like unions, regulations, monetary policy, and fiscal policy to cut the rich down to size, redistribute wealth, empower workers, and raise incomes. But that’s something the GOP would never contemplate.”

So, we are repeating history, and it’s a history fraught with failure and disaster.

It’s a history where average Americans keep clawing to get by paycheck-to-paycheck while government works around the clock to protect the donors who put them into office.

Why else would the Trump administration want to gut Dodd-Frank? Do you think that’s to help us? You don’t believe it’s to make Wall Street donors happy? You don’t think it’s to beef up their own investment portfolios?

Why else would the Trump administration fight to completely erase the Affordable Care Act, which leads to millions of uninsured people and more expensive insurance–insurance that will provide fewer services?

Why else would the Trump administration propose a complete gut in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which provides funding to help keep the highly valued fresh water of the Great Lakes clean?

Why else would the Trump administration propose allowing corporations to bring their profits back to the United States with a cut in taxes? As if so-called repatriation has ever worked for you and I!

Why else would the Republican state legislature in Michigan fight to force new teachers to use a 401K retirement package rather than choosing a pension? Governor Snyder is actually trying to water down the proposal by allowing a hybrid pension. Plus, Snyder believes this bill could hurt Michigan’s chances of attracting new teachers, and that Michigan’s pension liabilities are expected to be paid-off by 2038.

Still, with billions of cash being wasted on tax breaks, or on a charter school system with little oversight, the state GOP is trying to pass a bill designed to hurt teachers.

It’s about making the donors happy. It’s not about making us happy.

That’s why the donor class has devised a divide-or-conquer strategy so we don’t dare notice how their enriching themselves behind closed doors.

It’s a zero-sum game. It’s all about winning.

The Republican Party–the party of Ronald Reagan–is indifferent with the Trump administration’s ties to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. They seem ok knowing that our President won’t say one bad word about Putin while he attacks a former FBI Director.

The Republican Party doesn’t care that President Trump gave government houses back to Russian officials for nothing in return. Those houses were closed by President Obama in response to Russia’s meddling in our election.

I seem to recall a time when no matter what, allowing Russia to have the upper hand against the United States was the worst political crime ever.

That’s not today.

Today, conservatives are willing to give Putin the upper hand as long as they can give lavished tax breaks and cut regulatory measures for their donor base.

I mean, can you imagine the uproar if President Obama failed to criticize Putin’s leadership, or if he and his many close associates had ties to Russian governmental and business figures?

Can you imagine?

I miss the days when when Obama’s use of Grey Poupon on a burger was a scandal. It was also the last time we thought it were possible to achieve goals destined to help Americans.

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