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It's a wonderful life

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  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    We've all seen Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" numerous times since it was first released on Christmas Day in 1946 , and you may even remember that it closes with an enthusiastic rendition of Auld Lang Syne";

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3sXVxqDbFk

    The film is a classic example of a little guy (George Bailey) triumphing over Big Business, and its lessons still hold true today.

    Not long after the movie's release, the Federal Government (long a friend of Big Business) weighed in with its opinion. Because the movie portrayed Big Banks in an unfavorable light, the FBI released a report in 1947 that the movie was actually "Communist Propaganda":

    http://www.wisebread.com/fbi-considered-its-a-wonderful-life-communist-propaganda

    Apart from the millions of dollars that our elected officials have received from the oil and gas industry, the tobacco industry, the NRA, the mining industry, and insurance companies, they've also received a TON of money from financial institutions. Things have actually gotten so bad that the government now lets Big Banks write the legislature that governs them. 70 lines of the 85 lines of the House financial services committee's bill that was crammed into the recent "cromnibus" bill were actually written by Citigroup.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/spending-bill-992-derivatives-citigroup-lobbyists

    Fortunately, the fact was noticed by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who had a "few words" to say about it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJpTxONxvoo&list=UUTH9zV8Imw09J5bOoTR18_A

    By now, it's safe to say that Elizabeth Warren has "earned her wings", but she (and other progressives) still need our support.

    Let's keep "ringing those bells".
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    that guy in Arizona Wrote: Things have actually gotten so bad that the government now lets Big Banks write the legislature that governs them. 70 lines of the 85 lines of the House financial services committee's bill that was crammed into the recent "cromnibus" bill were actually written by Citigroup.
    This worries me more than pretty much anything else. The fact that our legislatures don't write the bills they vote on is an affront to our democracy and poses a genuine threat to representative government. If the individuals we elect don't even bother writing the laws they pass then how can we still call ourselves a democracy?
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    jared:

    You're exactly right, and a big part of the problem is the American Legislative Exchange Council, which was started in 1973. As you're probably aware, this site has already had a lot of opinions published so far about the topic, which you can access by typing either "ALEC" or "American Legislative Exchange Council" into the search bar at the top of the page.

    According to a New York Times article from 2012, ALEC lawmakers introduce about 1000 bills a year that were based on ALEC model legislation, and pass roughly 17% of them. The most recent example of the organization's success is in Michigan, where Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation earlier this week to require drug testing of welfare recipients. To date, 29 states have either passed, or are considering, similar legislation, even though the states that HAVE passed laws (Florida and North Carolina) have proven that it MAKES SO SENSE.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/us/alec-a-tax-exempt-group-mixes-legislators-and-lobbyists.html?pagewanted=all

    There are plenty of people to blame for the financial crisis of 2008/2009, and Time magazine listed 25 of them in a 2013 article:

    http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1877351,00.html

    The worst offender on the list, in my opinion is Citigroup, and its former chairman, Sandy Weill (net worth $1 billion), who was the individual most responsible for dismantling the Glass-Steagall Act:

    In April 1998, Travelers Group announced an agreement to undertake the $76 billion merger between Travelers and Citicorp, and the merger was completed on October 8, 1998. The possibility remained that the merger would run into problems connected with federal law. Ever since the Glass–Steagall Act, banking and insurance businesses had been kept separate. Weill and John S. Reed bet that Congress would soon pass legislation overturning those regulations, which Weill, Reed and a number of businesspeople considered not in their interest.

    To speed up the process, they recruited ex-President Gerald Ford (Republican) to the Board of Directors and Robert Rubin (Secretary of Treasury during Democratic Clinton Administration) whom Weill was close to. With both Democrats and Republican on their side, the law was taken down in less than 2 years. Many European countries, for instance, had already torn down the firewall between banking and insurance. During a two-to-five-year grace period allowed by law, Citigroup could conduct business in its merged form; should that period have elapsed without a change in the law, Citigroup would have had to spin off its insurance businesses. Weill's office holds a wood etching of him engraved with the words "The Shatterer of Glass–Steagall". Weill denies that the repeal of Glass–Steagall played a role in the recent financial crisis.

    Ironically, by 2012, he had had a change of heart, and was advocating separating banking from investment banking, which is essentially what Elizabeth Warren is trying to accomplish today.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_I._Weill

    The main reason that Elizabeth Warren is so upset is that Citigroup has absolutely screwed the taxpayers. As of February of 2013, Citigroup hadn't paid taxes for the last 4 years, and had received $2.5 TRILLION in assistance from the Federal government.

    http://americablog.com/2013/02/citigroup-taxes-jack-lew.html

    Was the bailout of Citigroup a smart investment for the government to make? It depends on who you ask.

    According to Fortune magazine in September of 2013, the Federal government made a profit of $15 billion on the Citigroup bailout:

    http://fortune.com/2013/09/10/government-banks-15-billion-on-citigroup-bailout/

    According to The Daily Kos, though, the picture is a lot murkier, and may never really be known.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/20/1188374/-The-true-cost-of-the-Bank-Bailout

    The man who introduced the Citigroup wording into the crombius bill, Congressman Kevin Yoder of Kansas, has been "missing in action" in recent days.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/15/kevin-yoder-wall-street-bailout_n_6329784.html

    Although the last known use of "tar and feathering" occurred in Northern Ireland in 2007, it looks like a fair number of people in Kansas would now like to resurrect the punishment for their Congressman.