Paul Krugman explains how the GOPers are going to fight financial reform, despite what the financial services industry did to our nation’s economy. They’re going to lie about the legislation, which is, of course, a key component of any GOP strategy these days:
Back in January, Frank Luntz, the G.O.P. strategist, circulated a memo on how to oppose financial reform. His key idea was that Republicans should claim that up is down — that reform legislation is a “big bank bailout bill,” rather than a set of restrictions on the banks.
Sure enough, a few days ago Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, in a letter attacking the Dodd bill, claimed that an essential part of reform — tougher oversight of large, systemically important financial companies — is actually a bailout, because “The market will view these firms as being ‘too big to fail’ and implicitly backed by the government.” Um, senator, the market already views those firms as having implicit government backing, because they do: whatever people like Mr. Shelby may say now, in any future crisis those firms will be rescued, whichever party is in power.
The only question is whether we’re going to regulate bankers so that they don’t abuse the privilege of government backing. And it’s that regulation — not future bailouts — that reform opponents are trying to block.
So it’s the punks versus the plutocrats — those who want to rein in runaway banks, and bankers who want the freedom to put the economy at risk, freedom enhanced by the knowledge that taxpayers will bail them out in a crisis. Whatever they say, the fact is that people like Mr. Shelby are on the side of the plutocrats; the American people should be on the side of the punks, who are trying to protect their interests.
Proving Krugman’s point, a couple weeks ago, at a gathering of bankers, that same Mr. Shelby told those bankers how to defeat financial reform — elect more GOPers, starting with Roy Blunt:
Asked what bankers could do to change the agenda, Shelby said, “What you can do is elect more Republicans to the U.S. Senate, that would help immensely.” He asked each of the attendees to send $10,000 to Roy Blunt, a former House leader who is now running for Senate as a Republican in Missouri.
Couldn’t be more clear than that.