The country as a whole does much better when working Americans prosper, the poor are less destitute and the middle class is healthy and growing. Key drivers for that are healthy unions, consumer protections, regulation and oversight of businesses, and a more progressive tax code (adding more margins at the top would help a great deal). We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that has been consistently lied about by conservatives, and often misreported on in the media. We need fair pay, based on merit. There have been some victories, and the recent rebuke of Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis by shareholders might give other oligarchs pause. But the recent defeat of cramdown measures in the Senate was both deeply disappointing and entirely predictable, given that the banking industry essentially owns most of Congress. Class warfare continues as always, it's being waged by the rich and powerful as always, and they usually win. But they don't win all the time, and the more existing power dynamics can be changed, the better. David Sirota has a good breakdown on the cramdown vote:
- 12 Democrats (listed here) voted against allowing bankruptcy judges to compel banks to renegotiate mortgage terms so as to prevent homeowners from being foreclosed on and thrown out of their homes.
- Bankruptcy judges currently have this "cramdown" power to renegotiate mortgage terms on vacation homes and investment properties.
- Vacation homes and investment properties are disproportionately owned by very rich people.
QUESTION 1: Out of the hundreds of professional "journalists" who work in Washington, can someone - anyone - please ask these 12 Democratic senators why they believe it is perfectly fine for bankruptcy judges to cram down mortgages for very rich people's vacation homes and investment properties, but not mortgages for regular people's homes? IMHO, this is the most important question, especially because none of these 12 Democratic senators are sponsoring legislation to repeal the law that gives judges cram down power to help rich people.
QUESTION 2: Oh, also - can someone please ask Democratic proponents of cramdown (who I do genuinely applaud for their courage) why they didn't just make this point over and over again?* The bought off whores who voted against this bill were allowed to make this debate into one about whether it is "fair" to let people renegotiate loans they agreed to. That's a shame, because the real question is whether it is "fair" to let judges help rich people keep their vacation homes but not let those same judges help regular people keep their primary residences.
Just imagine if most politicians actually represented the interests of their average constituents versus their almost exclusive pandering to the rich and powerful. This May Day, may we take a few steps to forcing that to happen.
(Cross-posted at Blue Herald)