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Listen intently, and you can hear the faint music of the band coming from over the hills. Their drums are pounding out a steady cadence, the bagpipes are wheezing mournfully, and the fifes are trilling plaintively. Coming straight at you, it's The Musicale Marching Pity Corps from Wall Street!
In describing a suspicious character who had visited his home, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."
Average Americans today might need to be counting their spoons, because President Obama and the Congress have visited Timothy Geithner upon us. He's the new treasury secretary, our nation's top financial official, whose duties include handling the ongoing Wall Street debacle.
"So long," sang Woody Guthrie, "it's been good to know you."
After Bernard Madoff confessed in December to looting some $50 billion from investors through a long-running, widespread Ponzi scheme, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., complained that this massive fraud "fell through the cracks of our regulatory system."
Indeed it did, but let's be blunt — there are now a lot more "cracks" than "system" in America's financial regulatory apparatus.
Unions. Who needs 'em? They're so passe, so 1930s.
This is the frantic argument being pushed by corporate lobbyists who're worried by the recent resurgence in union organizing, political punch and public support. Sure, say these corporatists, unions were needed back in the bad ol' Depression days, when rich executives and investors treated workers with all the respect that a Kleenex gets — use 'em up, toss 'em out.
As the classic New Year's song asks, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot?"
Not if our auld acquaintance is the Bush regime. Yes, our country will soon be getting a new beginning, and maybe, just maybe, we can put our country back on the right path. As we head that way, however, we ought not totally put out of mind the dark path we've been down the past eight, lest we allow future leaders to take us there again. Let's long remember our old acquaintances of the Bush years.
In keeping with the Biblical adage that it's better to give than to receive, I came up with a delightful sleighful of holiday goodies this year to dispense to some of our nation's most special people.
Let's say that you're CEO of a coal corporation, and you want to get at the deposits of black gold deep inside the beautiful, verdant mountains of Appalachia. You have a choice.
Sen. Bob Corker is ... well, a real corker.
The Tennessee Republican is on the Senate banking committee that's overseeing the bailout of America's Big Three automakers, and, by gollies, he got his dander up when the three CEOs told the committee last week that they needed a $34 billion loan to survive. No way, popped the corker, unless and until you cut jobs and slash the pay of your union workers. "Before we even contemplate making a loan to these companies," corker lectured, "we need to put in place specific and rigorous measures."