Friday, November 26, 2010

Taibbi on "Goldman, Obama, and the Tea Party"

Denver Nicks (The Daily Beast):
How did you feel on November 3, 2010?

I thought it was really telling that the day after the election the Republicans started talking about repealing the Volcker rule, which was the thing that got passed over the summer that banned proprietary trading by the banks. That perfectly encapsulated everything the Tea Party was about. The Tea Party was all this political energy that was directed at the bailouts. It was a lot of people that were angry about government spending. The Volcker Rule was specifically designed to prevent bailouts. The whole idea is to prevent federally insured banks from engaging in risky gambling behavior. So the day after all this anti-bailout fervor wins an election, the first thing they do is give this big favor to Wall Street, or at least they tried to. I think that summed up perfectly what the Tea Party was all about. They captured the anger, but they’re going to use it for the opposite of what these people think they’re getting.

So are they just getting the wool pulled over their eyes? Are these people stupid? What’s going on here?

A lot of people that I’ve talked to in the Tea Party, their experience with government regulation is something like: they own a hardware store and they have to deal with a building inspector, or a tax collector, or an EPA inspector or something like that. It’s some minor financial nuisance, and that’s what their idea of regulation is, and they see it as just something taking money out of the pockets of ordinary people. So they conflate that with the idea of policing Wall Street. They just think that it’s the same thing, and they’re completely different universes. I just don’t think they understand it, because the one thing that’s easy to understand is that it’s incredibly hard to understand. MORE...

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