I was listening to NPR this morning. Does “fair and balanced” mean listening to NPR with one’s left ear and Fox News with his right? Could be.
At any rate, a talking head on NPR said that a congressman told him, regarding financial reform, that there was no way he would vote for legislation that would make it harder for automobile dealers to arrange financing for consumer purchases. After all, the legislator admitted, a car dealer gave him his very first campaign contribution. There you have the problem in a nutshell. Auto dealers could be the worst offenders in consumer financial transactions, since they make substantial profit through financing and have every incentive to screw the customer. Even so, they will be excluded from financial reform, a clear example of our legislators in action – protecting not the American citizen, but, instead, protecting their campaign contributors.
And, of course, even Congress seems to agree that financial reform won’t protect us from future bubbles – does legislation ever? Congress does things like financial reform so that we will think its members are doing something, other than enjoying good lobbyist-paid lunches. I am convinced that members understand little about the workings of finance – how could they? Even the heads of Lehman Brothers, AIG and Bear Stearns didn’t understand.
Even organizations like AARP are suspect, aren’t they? Someone recently wrote, approximately, that AARP was an insurance company masking itself as a senior citizens’ organization. It probably isn’t quite that black and white a situation, however AARP certainly did its best to promote the new health care reform, and, nominally, reform’s primary mission did not particularly target the average AARP member – he or she is presently on Medicare, a supplement and Part D, right?