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Intro: "Boy, do I feel like an idiot. I've been out there on radio and TV in the last few months saying that I thought there was a chance Barack Obama was listening to the popular anger against Wall Street. ... Then the JOBS Act happened. ... his law actually appears to have been specifically written to encourage fraud in the stock markets."

Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, 10/27/10. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Matt Taibbi at Skylight Studio in New York, 10/27/10. (photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)



Why Obama's JOBS Act Couldn't Suck Worse

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

10 April 12

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

oy, do I feel like an idiot. I've been out there on radio and TV in the last few months saying that I thought there was a chance Barack Obama was listening to the popular anger against Wall Street that drove the Occupy movement, that decisions like putting a for-real law enforcement guy like New York AG Eric Schneiderman in charge of a mortgage fraud task force meant he was at least willing to pay lip service to public outrage against the banks.

Then the JOBS Act happened.

The "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act" (in addition to everything else, the Act has an annoying, redundant title) will very nearly legalize fraud in the stock market.

In fact, one could say this law is not just a sweeping piece of deregulation that will have an increase in securities fraud as an accidental, ancillary consequence. No, this law actually appears to have been specifically written to encourage fraud in the stock markets.

Ostensibly, the law makes it easier for startup companies (particularly tech companies, whose lobbyists were a driving force behind its passage) attract capital by, among other things, exempting them from independent accounting requirements for up to five years after they first begin selling shares in the stock market.

The law also rolls back rules designed to prevent bank analysts from talking up a stock just to win business, a practice that was so pervasive in the tech-boom years as to be almost industry standard.

Even worse, the JOBS Act, incredibly, will allow executives to give "pre-prospectus" presentations to investors using PowerPoint and other tools in which they will not be held liable for misrepresentations. These firms will still be obligated to submit prospectuses before their IPOs, and they'll still be held liable for what's in those. But it'll be up to the investor to check and make sure that the prospectus matches the "pre-presentation."

The JOBS Act also loosens a whole range of other reporting requirements, and expands stock investment beyond "accredited investors," giving official sanction to the internet-based fundraising activity known as "crowdfunding."

But the big one, to me, is the bit about exempting firms from real independent tests of internal controls for five years.

When I first read this, I asked myself: how does a law exempting a Silicon Valley startup from independent accounting actually encourage investment? If American companies have to have their internal processes independently verified before and after they go public, doesn't that give investors all around the world a big reason to put their money here, instead of investing in, say, Mobbed-Up Siberian Aluminum LLC, or Bangalore Sweatshop Inc.?

In other words, how does letting www.investonawhim.com go to market (and stay on the market for five years!) without publishing real numbers actually help the industry attract more financing in general, when the whole point of all of these controls is to make investment a less risky experience for the investor?

Get ready for the ostensible answer, because you won't believe it. Here's how CNN explained the reasoning behind that exemption:

Having 500 investors or raising $5 million previously forced a company to register with the SEC - a costly endeavor. Filling out stacks of legal forms and undergoing independent accounting audits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The law loosens requirements for most companies by raising several thresholds.

We needed Barack Obama and the congress to compromise the entire U.S. stock market because it's too expensive for a publicly-listed company with billion-dollar ambitions to hire an accountant? That almost sounds like a comedy routine:

SILICON VALLEY EXECUTIVE: Listen, IJustThoughtOfSomething.com is the hottest thing on the internet. We're so huge it hurts... I can't even walk to my corner bodega without women throwing me their phone numbers!

INVESTOR: I'd love to invest. Can I see your numbers from last year?

SILICON VALLEY EXECUTIVE: Well, that's just the thing. We painted the bathrooms last March, and then we also had that Vitamin Water machine put in the lounge. You know, the one next to the ping-pong table? So we just didn't have any money left over for an accountant. But I estimate our revenues for 2014 to be $4.2 billion.

INVESTOR: Sounds hot! Where do I send the check?

There's just no benefit that the JOBS Act brings to an honest startup company. In fact, it puts an honest company at a severe disadvantage, because now it has to compete against other, less scrupulous companies that can simply make their projections up on the backs of envelopes.

This is like formally eliminating steroid testing for the first five years of a baseball player's career. Yes, you can pretty much bet that you'll see a lot of home runs in the first few years after you institute a rule like that. But you'd better be ready to stick a lot asterisks in the record books ten or fifteen years down the line.

In the same way, get ready for an avalanche of shareholder suits ten years from now, since post-factum civil litigation will be the only real regulation of the startup market. In fact, there are already supporters talking up future lawsuits as an appropriate tool to replace the regulations being wiped out by this bill.

The JOBS Act seems like it will invite a replay of the disastrous tech-stock bubble of the late nineties. That mess was made possible by a historic collapse in accounting standards, with the great investment banks the pioneers of the collapse. In the old days, in the fifties and sixties for instance, you would never take a company public that wasn't profitable at the time of the IPO, or didn't have a multi-year track record of solid revenues.

When the banks stopped insisting on proven track records or real profitability before taking a company public, there was a sudden explosion of stock-market investment into heretofore unknown internet firms. Companies with no track records went from having literally no revenues at all to having five or six billion dollars' worth of market capitalization overnight. Banks explained that the new way to measure a company was by the quality of its ideas, not boring old indicators like revenues.

Even Alan Greenspan told the world that technology had made such great advances that the traditional laws of economics no longer applied, that there was "new paradigm," and that it was possible to have long-term growth without inflation. He essentially told the world that the bubble wasn't a bubble, because all that phony growth was not phony at all, it was just a whole bunch of people properly evaluating great new ideas, albeit before they had actually performed.

And we later found out, of course, a lot of that value wasn't value at all. And a lot of that sharp growth in the nineties was actually caused by complex fraud schemes like "spinning" and "laddering,", wherein banks artificially pumped up startup stocks in exchange for future business, or rigged the IPOs so that they would have fake "bumps" in investment at pre-arranged times.

Sometimes the companies themselves were the victims in the fraud scams, and sometimes the company executives were beneficiaries of fraud. But in virtually all of these schemes, the casual investor was the big dupe in the con. When the dot-com bubble finally collapsed, costing the world about $5 trillion in losses, the major victims were ordinary people. We can expect a replay of the same thing now, only on a much bigger scale.

The finance world is buzzing over this bill. The reactions I've heard so far range from minutes-long guffaws of dark laughter to bloodcurdling, I-can't-freaking-believe-they-went-this-far outrage. "I thought I had lost the ability to be shocked," one friend of mine, a former regulator, told me this weekend, chuckling at the sheer stones it took to push the law. "But this thing is just inspired. They broke the mold with this one."

There are some crazy side-stories that I'll get to later in the week, including the hilarious influence certain preposterous individuals had in pushing this bill (most notably Steve Case, former co-founder of AOL and a veteran of multiple accounting fraud scandals, who was recruited by both parties to lobby the bill). There are also some remarkable contradictions in the arguments the bill's supporters made when they pushed for the bill's passage. Anyway, more on this to come.

In the meantime, let's just say this is a dramatic step taken by Barack Obama. Nobody should have any illusions about where he stands on Wall Street corruption after this thing. Boss Tweed himself couldn't have done any worse.

 

Comments   

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+65 # MidwestTom 2012-04-10 09:42
The poster child is John Corzine the former Goldman Sacks, MF Global thief, who told Congress that $1.2 billion of investor money "just disappeared" on his watch. Then it was revealed that $200 million was transferred to his personal off shore account. Yet there have still been no charges, Why?

Wall Street has had the SEC rewrite the rules to make what you I would call thief, legal. Remember that when they raised the margin on silver contracts from 6^ to 12& the price of silver dropped 40 percent. Why not raise the margin on gasoline and crude oil contracts? The result would be the same.

Why should we allow the NYC crowd to own stock for 25 seconds? is this investing? Put a four hour minimum holding period on stock, and stock prices will stabilize. Return to the Up tick rule and sudden sharp drops will be far less frequent.

Also, limit 'insurance' purchases to ones investment risk, thus shrinking the derivative market by 80%.
 
 
+17 # soularddave 2012-04-10 22:09
How about that tiny TAX on each share of stock traded? That would slow the "robotraders" and make them acknowledge the trades, at least.
 
 
+29 # afrizunk 2012-04-10 10:03
You could write a book called "Hush Money". Now it's just "let the buyer beware".
 
 
+58 # pappajohn15 2012-04-10 10:25
J-O-B-S (emphasis on the BS) passed with bipartisan support. Both sides are bought and paid for. We need a new Congress--regul ar people running to get rid of these clowns. I'm running in Indiana. Check out www.aNewCongress.com.
 
 
+38 # John Locke 2012-04-10 11:40
pappajohn15: This "legislative Joke" was promoted by Obama and yes it has bipartisan support, why not it was another boon to Wall Street...Bipart isan support for any bill now only means it is in favor of their financial backers…

Obama I continue to out as another enemy of the 99%, a puppet in bed with his criminal Wall Street buddies.

Someday I hope people will wake up and see that he has No interest in the 99%, we don't have the money to Bribe him or his party, so we are merely looked at as Serfs to them… To be used to further their wars and bled to death with taxes and corporate scams, and excessive oil prices, that steals our retirements and pensions! It’s all geared to flow money from us to them…

Now that more is coming out, (They don't even try to hide what they are doing) maybe people will wake up, however it’s to late this election to make a difference by pulling away from both controlled parties!

But we have to abandon the Democratic Party and start a new one! While we still can….To continue to play the two party scam is insanity. Nothing ever changes now except the face; the agenda continues to move forward with either party…and its escalating now!

The only play we have to show them right now is a total and complete tax revolt…
 
 
+19 # Observer 47 2012-04-10 16:42
BRAVO, John!! I've said it before and I'll say it again: die-hard Democratic supporters are as blind as the right-wing extremists. It's long past time people woke up to the fact that everybody in Congress is on the same team: the one controlled by Wall Street.
 
 
+2 # JCM 2012-04-10 20:05
If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, cuts in the Department of Education, reduced regulation for the protection of the environment, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, reduced budget for clean energy, reduced regulation on the financial and petroleum industries and maybe all out war. Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, increased the Pell Grant, and believes in a budget with shared sacrificed. Believes in the environment, in education, in regulations for the protection of the working class and has tried to pass legislation to provide for that but “working” with the Republicans has made it impossible. This list can go on a long time and Obama is no neo-con for more war. Progressives and liberals need to fight for the Democrats with their vote and their rhetoric. If you don’t, you get the Republicans. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. They are flawed but still our best chance to succeed.
 
 
+11 # soularddave 2012-04-10 22:23
I'm looking for a 3rd party with leaderS I can trust by their track record. Progressive platform and budget, to be sure, but specifics that everybody can understand the benefits from.

Start now, and put the reds & blues on notice now, because there will be no incumbent president in 2016. I already have few names that I'd vote for, but they're not on my ballot. They talk the talk and walk the walk already, but they have to choose to put their heart into a good campaign.
 
 
+7 # Broger 2012-04-11 10:12
Why am I not hearing anything about Rocky Anderson and the Justice Party? We're going to get a third party by doing what exactly? Seems like big media has it wrapped up. No mention of anything alternative, but the usual threats that if we don't make the choice between the lesser of two evils, we're doomed.
Where have I heard this before?
 
 
+2 # jky1291 2012-04-11 11:30
While I agree with your sentiment, I believe Rocky Anderson adopts too many divisive positions. In fighting the most corrupt and powerful forces the world has ever seen, it is necessary to adopt a limited laser focus on the essential issues upon which everyone agrees are required to advance progressive improvements in our political and economic systems, uniting a majority needed to achieve those goals, rather than diminishing support necessary to achieve any progress with a laundry list of issues that generate controversy. The Rebuild the Dream movement complements Occupy Wall Street's goals, and their Contract for the American Dream, developed last summer by a nationwide grassroots consensus, would serve as an excellent guide for future activities to build the momentum needed to overcome the inordinate influence of the wealthy, special interests, and multinational corporations. Advancing these 10 essential issues increases our chance of exploiting the weaknesses of the obscenely wealthy 1%'s indefensible positions. It is essential that a candidate that genuinely supports and will fight for the fundamental issues presented in the Contract for the American Dream is identified, recruited, and elected as an Independent 3rd party President to wrestle our country out of the death grip of the multinational corporations.

http://contract.rebuildthedream.com/?rc=rtd_home

If one only votes for the lesser of 2 evils the result still cannot be acceptable.
 
 
+4 # jky1291 2012-04-11 11:06
Deductive reasoning dictates the realization that the corporate parties will not allow either of their candidates to solve any of the problems facing this country because that would hinder their short term greed for absolute power. By actually representing the 99% of the electorate, not merely the wealthy 1%, any independent candidate will leverage the unprecedented insanity of the corporate politicians in Washington, D.C. and the 90% dissatisfaction with their total incompetence and dysfunction. Since only half of the electorate actually vote, if merely 2 of every 10 citizens are committed to the salvation of this nation and ALL of its citizens, election of an independent candidate by a 40%-35%-25% margin is our only hope of restoring democracy and sending a message to the multinational corporations that slavery will not be reinstituted and that we are not for sale to the highest bidder. I decline to be included in the old adage referencing people who continue doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result as the definition of INSANITY. I for one will join the 60%-80% who have reached the conclusion that the status quo is unacceptable. In President Obama's own words, "If not now, WHEN?' Democratic majorities in Congress were squandered for 2 years at the most critical time in our history due to corporate ownership of both parties, and an Independent President is the only remedy to the United Corporate States of America. THIS is our LAST CHANCE!
 
 
-5 # Lolanne 2012-04-13 08:58
Quoting JCM:
If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, . . . Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, . . . Progressives and liberals need to fight for the Democrats with their vote and their rhetoric. If you don’t, you get the Republicans. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. They are flawed but still our best chance to succeed.


JCM, you are absolutely correct. I am increasingly troubled by all the negative remarks from Progressives in these forums, and I've tried in recent weeks to respond as you have done. Sad to say, those who are disappointed that Pres Obama has not proved to be exactly what we all wanted seem to see things in an all-or-nothing way. I'm disappointed, too, but I'm also pragmatic enough to know you are right: a vote for anybody other than Obama this year is in reality a vote for republican take-over. And that's the end of our country. We MUST get Obama and a Democratic majority elected this year, and then hold their feet to the fire!
 
 
-3 # JCM 2012-04-16 19:45
Excellent!
 
 
+42 # HowardMH 2012-04-10 10:30
Obama the Wimp. Wall Street Banks Investigation
Be afraid, be very afraid.
Isn’t Department of Homeland Security (DHS) part of the “GOVERNMENT”. Why should we be the least bit surprised about the DHS wanting to squash Occupy Wall Street (OWS).
During the Savings and Loan mess 15 or so years ago there were over 1000 agents assigned to investigate, and over 1000 Felony convictions. The Current Economic Crisis (Wall Street Mess) is according to MSNBC Dylan Ratigan Show on 27 Feb 2012, 70 times larger, so doing the math, there should be many many Thousands of FBI Agents assigned, not the 120 that have assigned since 2007. So far there has been ZERO Elite Felons convicted. Have you figured out yet that Obama the Wimp is totally bought and paid for by Wall Street?
OWS is a thorn in the “GOVERNMENT’s” side and they want it GONE!
Support the 99ers, the only chance we have left. Go 99ers Go!
 
 
+65 # pappajohn15 2012-04-10 10:43
Great sign at OWS:
"If they had enforced Wall Street rules like the do park rules, we wouldn't be here!"
 
 
+13 # noitall 2012-04-10 11:21
Obama the co-conspirator. He's a wimp like Mr. Soprano.
 
 
+45 # angelfish 2012-04-10 10:32
Not only has Justice been savagely Killed in this Country, Ethics, Morals, and Humanity itself have also been brutally murdered in this scam! This is an Election year Mr. President. Have you lost your mind in supporting this Bull-Puckey?
 
 
+20 # John Locke 2012-04-10 11:44
angelfish: No he hasn't, he has always been on the side of Wall Street, and the oil industry, you are only now beginning to see a small part of his agenda...wait until after the election, what he does then will surprise you! nothing for us!
 
 
+3 # disgusted American 2012-04-10 17:57
More Obama bull-pucky re Obamacare:

1) gov't will tell you how much you can afford to pay based on your PRIOR year income.

2) cheapest "affordable" plan (see #1 above) = 60/40 coverage with an annual deductible still being tossed around by HHS & insurers. IF you can afford the premium for this plan based on PRIOR year income, can you afford to use it?

3) If in the current year you earn $1 over the Federal Poverty Level you were in during the prior year, you will have to payback the gov't. Amts are: $695, $1,500, $2,500. If you are $1 over 400% FPL, you will have to pay back the entire subsidy.

4) b/c you earned $1 above the FPL you were in, you will be put into a higher cost plan. If you can't afford that & opt out, you will be liable for the tax penalty for being uninsured & will still owe the payback.

5) If you are found eligible for expanded Medicaid (up to 133% FPL) no other choice for you except the penalty for being uninsured if you don't want crappy Medicaid which also contains the federally-requi red estate recovery program (see OBRA 1993). This takes, upon death, the assets of people who used Medicaid benefits at age 55 and up. (hint: you just got a mandated collateral loan).

Estate recovery is required for any state that receives federal Medicaid funding. State keeps a running tab on benefits you used at age 55 & up. OBRA 1993 is federal statute but program is administered by each state
 
 
+12 # SallyB 2012-04-10 10:55
Well, what do you expect, after all? We The People have no say in our government. It is a subsidiary of the biggest corporations in the world, wholly owned and operated by THEM. And sadly, there's not a damned thing can be done about it, either. We can scream and shout until we're all blue in the face but the sad fact is, money speaks, and whoever has the most money wields the most influence in the Beltway. Without money, and billions of it, we are helpless to stop the takeover of our government. It's too late. What's done is done and we may as well accept the fact that we can't UNDO it. The Occupy Movement was our best hope and that's over and done with, never to return. It's faded into oblivion and that's a shame, but.....it's the way with all movements. They come on like gangbusters at first, make a lot of noise, get a lot of press, and then things devolve into arguments over who's the leader and such, and...well....y ou see the pattern. The reason that the Right is so powerful and influential and can make their agenda come to fruition is one simple word: MONEY. When the left starts accumulating money like the right has, then maybe we can turn things around. Until then, forget it. Make the best of a very bad situation, I say. And don't be surprised if we have a Republican tsumani this fall, because the Democrats have suffered for too long from ineptness and weak kneed surrender to the Right every time they threaten blackmail. Just cold hard reality, I'm afraid.
 
 
-41 # Robt Eagle 2012-04-10 11:18
Taibbi finally hits the nail on the head. OK, so let's vote Obama out of the White House before he does more damage than he already has. Every policy Obama has pushed through, including all the Executive Orders, have just caused more harm to the US fiscally, in the world's view, and caused everything to get more expensive. The stock market is crashing because of the unbelievable expenses racking up. In a few months we went from $15 to over $16 trillion in debt and it rising even faster. Gasoline is over $4.00 a gallon and inching higher daily. Obama's policies are killing all of America, not just the middle class, or women alone, everyone is suffering. His BS on pitting the rich vs the poor is rediculous also. It is common knowledge now that taxing the wealthiest at the rates in Obama's proposed budget would just produce a paltry less than $100 billion, which would do nothing towards the national debt. The only way to reduce the deficit and the national debt is to do severe cuts in everything, but especially Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Also the rampant waste is unending in the Obama administration. Obama MUST be voted out of the White House.
 
 
+22 # Anarchist 23 2012-04-10 12:03
And elect 'Gott Mitt Uns' Romney? The whole electoral system is mostly corrupt and the politicians are mostly fixed around the Oligarch's desires.

As for rich against poor-RFK made the same point just before he was assassinated. Obama is just more of the SOS but he is hardly the first to tear down the structure of the country-or did you forget Bush and the Patriot Act? Reagan and the PATCO bust? Nixon and Watergate? Church hearings on CIA? BTW-the 1% have ALWAYS controlled the wealth-check out statistics back to the 1920s.
 
 
-4 # JCM 2012-04-10 20:10
There is no other realistic alternative, at this point, so close to the election the only practical direction we have is to support Obama and all the Dems. If we are successful and have a super majority we will need to push and shove Congress to do the right thing.
I am asking to fight to elect Obama and as many Democrats and Progressives Independents we can. Without a super majority it would probably be business as usual. With it, a true super majority, we will have a fighting chance to balance the economy and even our American rights. One thing you might not be taking into consideration is that so much of the odious legislation is due to the extreme right wing pressure and when Democrats see the population go Right they are pressured by this too. If we show them they can be reelected with progressive ideals then it will be much easier for them to create progressive legislation. In 2010, if all the people who voted for Obama went out and voted for their Dems we would have won that election and history would be much different and much more progressive. So many gave up because things didn’t go as well as they wanted and what we got was a Republican take over at so many levels. The thought of Republicans taking total control is more than a nightmare. We need your help. Note: the Supreme Court alone is good enough reason to support Obama. One more Conservative will destroy us.
 
 
+1 # JCM 2012-04-11 05:18
Stock market crashing? It is doing better now then it has in years. And the Democrats and Bernie Sanders put in legislation to reduce the effect of speculators on the price of gas and the Republicans said no. In fact the Republicans said no to nearly anything that would have helped the working class, the environment and regulations that would have really benefitted the Country. They only do things that benefit the very wealthy. They are Ann Rand believers, a philosophy of greed and it is the greedy that believe in it.
 
 
+5 # jcdav 2012-04-11 06:02
OK, we are supposed to get obama out. So who do we vote in? As if we were actually voting and being counted. The two offerings differ only in rate of decay..Obama is somewhat slower than Romney...time to impact is the only difference...
 
 
+16 # elmont 2012-04-10 11:18
Thanks, Matt. Well said, as usual. Looks like you've still got our back.
 
 
+21 # DPM 2012-04-10 11:28
OCCUPY1
 
 
-12 # infohiway 2012-04-10 11:49
BAD HAIR WEEK?
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/29/hurt-was-week-was-obama-style/

FAKE RACE-BAITING 'NEWS'?
http://www.infowars.com/disinformation-and-fake-reporting-in-florida-fuel-american-race-war/

NO GZ CHARGES: PREZ STUCK HIS FOOT IN IT.
http://www.infowars.com/infowars-source-confirms-zimmerman-will-not-be-arrested-for-murder/ HE CAN'T GET A FAIR TRIAL NOW.
 
 
+10 # noitall 2012-04-10 11:54
On ALL the fronts that the American People, their rights, and their Constitution are being attacked by the "have mores", our only friend is ourselves and our only voice is ONE made up of millions. Until we reach that critical voice (and feel the violence of the push-back) the erosion will continue aggresively and unabated. Like the People's reaction to Climate Change, I'm afraid it will continue to come too little and too late. Until it is our so-called leader's cousins, brothers and sisters, and acquaintences being beat up and killed in the street, they will continue to do nothing but stuff their pockets. We're competing with a feeding frenzy and all at the expense of our Republic.
 
 
-8 # rogermathews 2012-04-10 12:20
I agree with your analysis of the fraud risk efffaccy of the JOBS bill and the unmentioned very small impact on jobs that it would accomplish. BUT I do nor agree with your prognosis that it will wipe out the SEC. And why do you call it Obama's JOBS bill? HE did NOT initiate it --The GOP did in the House and in the Senate --with, as you noted, bipartisan support! Though wrong, it is small potatoes bill. Vetoing it would be vetoing a bipartisan jobs bill. This would be political suicide in 2012. By not discusssing context, your article attacks Obama unfairly -and unfactually! Is your solution seems to be,to "throw the Obama bum out" -- and replace him with the Mitt-ernative?? Are
contributing to the solution --or just loudly venting?
 
 
+10 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-10 18:52
Quoting rogermathews:
And why do you call it Obama's JOBS bill? HE did NOT initiate it


Obama introduced his "Jumpstart" initiative in January 2011. A Republican in the house authored the bill based on his ideas. Nearly half of the co-sponsors were Democrats.

Both houses of congress passed it with huge majorities.

You call it a "small potatoes bill." Every economist I read was up in arms about this bill. Simon Johnson, Baseline Scenario, devoted three or four consecutive posts detailing the horrible damage the bill would do if passed and urged people repeatedly to stop it.

The "unmentioned very small impact on jobs" you claim will actually be – according to economists – job loss, not gain. The biggest losers are going to be all the honest businesses who will not be able to complete against the widespread fraud this law enables.

I ask you the same question you've asked Matt: "Are you contributing to the solution – or just loudly venting?"
 
 
+23 # seeuingoa 2012-04-10 13:30
What is the biggest difference
between USA and democratic Europe?

No money in politics,
no guns,
no death-penalty,
universal healthcare,

wow! what a difference that makes.
 
 
+7 # kc_ 2012-04-10 14:16
A reason why?

In a few months the Volcker Rule will become the law of the land -i.e. banks will have to separate their speculative activities from their traditional banking activities, etc. (Not exactly the iron curtain of Glass-Steagal - more like a bit of cheese cloth.) And apparently they [the banks] are pissed off about it. (No more "FED Window" backed bets.)

So maybe, and I have no evidence to support this, the Whitehouse and Congress have in a bipartisan quid pro quo way (they do have elections coming up and our politicans do need money...) threw the financial firms this marrow rich bone as compensation. (All that was left was the marrow, they've already eaten all the meat, even the 'Pink Slime' is gone.)

Naahh... no way our President and Congress would do such a thing.
 
 
+5 # Jorge 2012-04-10 14:34
Thanks Matt for confirming our suspicions about the "Jobs" Act. But do not beat yourself up regarding believing the Obama campaign rhetoric. To quote G.W. Bush (Cheney's lap dummy) as he said so eloquently... "There's an old saying in Tennessee- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee-- that says, fool me once, shame on- shame on you. Fool me-- you can't get fooled again". Good advice from a great President (I am looking forward to completion of the GW Bush Library, coming to your town inside a VW beetle).
 
 
+2 # kc_ 2012-04-10 14:50
Oops..

I just discovered that bone marrow is a part of Pink Slime -i.e. its part of the centrifuge product - you know, when they toss all that remains after butching the beast into a centrifuge and exact what little is left.

So I stand corrected. My analogy was wrong.

The correct analogy would be something like, the Jobs Act is our Administration and Congress' way of allowing the financial sector to make its own Pink Slime of whats left. A kind of "Green Slime", if you like.

My apologies.
 
 
+5 # Rick Levy 2012-04-10 19:11
I'm starting a business Brooklynbridge4 sale.com. I'm already capitalized at $4 billion. This is an absolutely risk-free investment. So sign up now.
 
 
+1 # barbaratodish 2012-04-11 01:13
Whenever I see an ad in the "Capital Available" or "Capital Wanted" in the Sunday NY Times Business section, and I call about venture capital, it's a gamble to get someone to even talk to you unless you know some secret, or perhaps be among some secret "in" group, and/or speak in some kind of code, lingo, jargon, etc. Whenever I did get to "Pitch" someone, it was like giving my idea for free and they would have my idea and I would be left "holding the (empty) bag. Anyway, the JOBS Act sounds like an extension of these ads, similar to websites like kickstarter, that are like what the old fashioned "ANGELS" were(are?) for movie plots, and other startup "Pitches". Maybe people with innovative ideas for creative technology, entertainment ideas, etc., ought to value them more and realize they are throwing "pearls to pigs" and if the really creative types (mostly the poor) withhold their ideas, pretty soon we might see that the source for creativity into the innovation "pipeline", has dried up and then maybe the creative poor might be looked upon more favorably. Maybe all the poor need to go on strike, and keep their ideas to themself.
 
 
+4 # Buddha 2012-04-11 10:39
The very fact that this Bill made it out of the GOP House and any filibuster in the Senate should tell you that it is something that the Corporatists of the GOP love. That alone should tell you it isn't a bill that really benefits your average American.
 
 
+7 # tomo 2012-04-11 11:40
In the light of Obama's abysmal record as a Democrat, I don't see why any Democrat would want to vote for him. He's a much better PR man than his Republican opponents, but he delivers the same stuff. Trouble is, it's wrapped up in the traditional rhetoric of the Democratic Party. Would you rather that the poison available to you had a great big Republican label: "WE OFFER POISON! DEATH TO DEMOCRACY!" -with a skull and crossbones prominently affixed; or would you prefer the same poison with "UNCLE BARACK'S SWEET ELIXIR!" stamped on it? I know the "lesser of two evils" argument. I just don't believe in it any more. When you vote, the person receiving your vote can, reasonably, cite your vote as an endorsement. What is there about Obama one can reasonably wish to endorse?
 
 
-4 # JCM 2012-04-11 14:48
I thought you might like to read this again from above.
If you don't vote for Obama and every Democrat you can you will get; the Paul Ryan budget plan, reducing the Pell Grant, deeper cuts in Social Security, deeper cuts in Medicare, cuts in the Department of Education, reduced regulation for the protection of the environment, reduced taxes for the very wealthy, reduced budget for clean energy, reduced regulation on the financial and petroleum industries and maybe all out war. Obama believes in a budget that would help restore the middle class, increased the Pell Grant, and believes in a budget with shared sacrificed. Believes in the environment, in education, in regulations for the protection of the working class and has tried to pass legislation to provide for that but “working” with the Republicans has made it impossible. This list can go on a long time and Obama is no neo-con for more war. Similarities, you might come up with some, but the differences are immense. Progressives and liberals need to fight for the Democrats with their vote and their rhetoric. If you don’t, you get the Republicans. There is no third choice for this election. If they try to tell you differently they are working for the Republicans. If you want to change politics prepare years before the election, otherwise get on board and fight for the Democrats. They are flawed but still our best chance to succeed.
 
 
+3 # jbell94521 2012-04-11 21:07
This is in response to the # JCM comment above: I truly believe it is a terrible mistake to vote for Obama, since he is clearly in support of, (being bought and paid for by), the crooks and global super gangsters who have stolen trillions, ruined the economy and who are committed to keeping the U.S.A. in a state of perpetual imperial war. There is no way I can vote for that.

Yes, there are some good Democrats, and there are a few more of those than good Republicans. However, everytime we allow our fears of the alternatives to stampede us into voting for Democrats who do not support our core values and who never will, it sends a message straight to the power structure of the Democratic Party that they can continue their shift to the the right and can continue to support disastrous policies of privatization, deregulation, unlimited support for war, etc. without losing elections as the rightful consequence. Liberals have been panicked into doing this for the past 40 years or so, and we are living with the horrendous consequences. Yes, wse will make things a little worse in the short term. But just as short term thinking ruins economies, so it ruins the policital landscape. Please think this through with a longer view.

BTW, It would be interesting to know who actualy wrote the JOBS Act. Wouldn't supprise me to know it was actually private lawyers on Wall Street.
 
 
+1 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-16 04:04
Outstanding comment.
 
 
-3 # JCM 2012-04-16 19:09
So the Republicans are OK with you?
 
 
-2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-17 05:08
I realize that you don't have to wake up in the morning worrying about whether a drone will fly over your house and drop a hellfire missile that kills your children and destroys your home; or whether government agents burst into your home, arrest you, and confiscate your electronic devices and papers because you are a peace activist (which they know because they have been monitoring all your communications) ; or whether you will be evicted from your home because your bank produced fraudulent foreclosure documents and the government “negotiated” immunity for their doing so. But these, among others, are policies of the Obama administration that were either officially approved by a majority of Democrats as well as Republicans, or are allowed to persist by that same majority of both parties.

I can only assume that you have decided since these things are unlikely to happen to you or the people you care about that they don’t concern you. But they concern me greatly.


If there are no electoral consequences for abhorrent policies, then Democrats have no incentive to do anything more than find a way to look marginally better than Republicans. If you asked yourself, “what act(s) committed by Obama or the Democrats could make me withdraw my support for them,” I suspect your honest answer would be “none.” Blind partisan support of Democrats who behave like Republicans ensures that we always have a “Republican” in office.
 
 
0 # JCM 2012-04-17 08:52
Even the Tea Baggers didn't try to start a 3rd party. Even if you did get a 3rd party candidate elected what makes you think they wouldn't be corrupted by the same I want to be reelected mentality as everyone else. Legislation comes from Congress and without a Democratic super majority it will be business as usual. Your anger at the Dems is so misplaced. Why aren’t you railing against the Republicans creating the worst income and wealth inequality in history, reducing the health care reforms, reducing regulations that nearly destroyed our economy, reducing environmental regulations, reducing educations funding, voter rights, women’s choices, etc, etc, etc… If a Republican were president we would have gone to all out war in Libya and probably Iran. For every criticism you have about Obama, the Republicans would and have been magnitudes worse. There is no chance at this time a 3rd party can win. Your attempts will empower the Republicans and help them win not just the Presidency but could pull votes away from other Democratic candidates. Then what do we have, Republicans in more control. If all the people who voted for Obama in 08 came out and voted for Dems in 10, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Learn from history. Progressives punish the Dems and the Republicans win!
 
 
-2 # Stephanie Remington 2012-04-17 15:02
Quoting JCM:
Learn from history.


I hope you take your own advice. I can't tell if you didn't read what I wrote or you just chose to ignore it -- the last line, in particular.
 
 
-2 # JCM 2012-04-17 17:07
Ever thought you might be in your own denial. The real war being waged against the 99% for the last 30 years is by the Republicans. When you realize that you will be horrified of the mistakes you are making but then it might be too late. The Dems went more Right because they lost the last election. Why? Because they didn’t have the votes, the Right got them and the Dems now think they have to move Right to get more votes. They just don’t get being punished. We all have a much better chance to change politics if we got the 99% into Congress using the Democrats, similarly to how the Tea Baggers did it with the Republicans. It takes 100's of millions of dollars to be elected and more importantly media support. We can't take a chance on a nearly impossible task to get a 3rd party candidate to win. The consequences are lower taxes on the wealthiest, higher debt, the veritable destruction of our government, which is the extreme conservative ideology of the Republicans, not the Democrats. You talk about drones; the Republicans will give you all out war. You talk about foreclosure, the Republicans were the ones that created the entire disaster that led to the recession (yeah, the way all of this is being handle sucks, but if the Republicans had their way there wouldn’t have even been a settlement and would not be doing anything at all to keep from happening again). Get real and vote and fight for the Dems.
 

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