Some questions for Tea Partiers: I understand they believe big government threatens freedom. And on laws like the first Patriot Act allowing invasion of citizens' privacy, right on. But I do not understand why they get enraged at government about the financial collapse of 2008-09 and not at the Wall Street gamblers mainly responsible for people losing jobs, homes, and health insurance.
The government — Congress and presidents going back to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — should have regulated investment firms like Lehmann Brothers (gone under) and Goldman Sachs (saved by Bush's Treasury Secretary and since enabled by Barack Obama's), but why are Republican congressmen trying to undo the partial bank regulation passed by the Democrats?
Republicans like to point to people who bought houses they could not afford: the "losers" whose "bad behavior" CNBC business editor Rick Santelli screamed about in early 2009.
But Santelli also mentioned the credit-swap derivatives that Wall Street guys put together, betting on the mortgages to fail, and leveraged into millions in profits.
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So average people who get in over their heads are worse than the con men who sold them the rotten goods?
"Taxed enough already," Tea Partiers say, but why no concern that Bank of America, GE and other corporations avoid paying their fair share? Losing freedom, they say, with the government bailing out banks and General Motors. Exactly how did saving tens of thousands of autoworker jobs, not to mention tens of thousands in related businesses, hurt them? Helped all of us methinks 'cause it made the recession less bad. GM is solvent again and making better cars.
I treasure freedom, but I see all around us that impersonal forces generated by big business and corporations limit my freedom more than government. Then there are the quite visible billionaire Koch brothers and their impositions on freedom.
Worth $44 billion and with extensive industries, the Kochs support the Tea Party because they want to avoid any regulation to pollute our free air as much as they wish and to pay virtually no taxes. And as in Wisconsin, bust all unions.
Last year they sent out political packets to most of their 50,000 employees telling them who to vote for and warning darkly of consequences for their jobs and families should the wrong folks be elected. This kind of intimidation by bosses is now legal by the Supreme Court's abominable Citizens United decision declaring corporations were individuals.
So the corporate masters (I chose that word deliberately) are exercising their free speech to control the freedom of thought and action of their employees. Takes us right back to the 19th century where the Kochs would like us to be. When your employer tries to turn you into the equivalent of slaves who must accept any work conditions and pay they dictate, who will stand between you and them?
The government or unions, my friends, that's who.