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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
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.