When I heard about Rush Limbaugh’s response to the news of JP Morgan’s $2 billion trading loss, I thought: “Wow, you really have to work to be that misinformed.”
I know few people are as politically warped as Rush Limbaugh, and I know he doesn’t speak for conservatives as a whole. He does, however, pin down a flag that marks the far end of the right-winger side of the argument. And that flag is quite a hike from the center.
Here’s the backstory about the JP Morgan stuff: When this too-big-to-fail financial firm lost $2 billion by engaging in what it’s CEO admitted were “stupid” and “sloppy” practices, many politicians used the incident as an example of the need for regulation on risky banking practices. I refer to those politicians who favor Wall Street regulations as ... well, as sane people not determined to bring about the apocalypse.
Limbaugh, on the other hand, went on a rant about how Democrats don’t understand capitalism — that losing big and winning big are just part of the greatness of our economic system. Preventing those big risks would lead to complete mediocrity, he said.
Politico quoted him as saying, “The moment there is failure in an institution or in an individual here comes a bunch of leftists saying, ‘Well, we’ve got to get the government involved.’”
GET the government involved?!? This is the same JP Morgan that received tens of billions of dollars in tax payer money for playing a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008.
This company provided billions of dollars in financing to some of the worst offenders of the sub-prime mortgage bubble.
Now, just because Rush hates progressives so much, he endorses this firm and refers to any proposed regulation against it as an attack on capitalism.
The sad thing is that so many people use Limbaugh as a source of legitimate information. And because of his propaganda, whenever right-wingers hear terms like Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank or Glass-Steagall they automatically ramp up the job-killing-regulation rhetoric.
I won’t even pretend to be knowledgeable about the intricacies of those pieces of legislation, and I urge anyone interested about them to look the terms up for themselves. But the general point of all of them is to separate commercial banking from the dangerous, Gordon Gekko type Wall Street crap that crashed the economy four years ago.
I saw one quote that sums it up nicely: “I think we really do need that kind of separation. We need to go back to boring banking. The people who want to take risks need to take risks with their own money and do it somewhere else.”
That quote is from Elizabeth Warren. She is currently running for a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts. However, she is better known as a consumer advocate who helped push for and establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel, which reviewed the Treasury Department’s management of the TARP program.
Because of all that, she is blasted by conservative pundits as a government-loving nutcase.
People on the right, like Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, think that Warren is an idiot, and the answer to the Wall Street problem is — get this — less regulation.
I can understand why politicians would have this kind of talking point. After all, Wall Street groups are one of the largest campaign contributors to both sides of the political aisle.
But why would everyday people defend the right for Godless hedge fund companies to gamble with mortgages. These firms, they create nothing. They move numbers back and forth, from one computer screen to another, betting on imaginary money until they somehow create it out of thin air. They are money changers.
These companies crashed the economy and were then deemed too gigantic to answer for their own mistakes — labeled too big to fail by the politicians they bought. Then these firms were bailed out with taxpayer money just so they could start the process again, bigger and stronger. And people like Rush Limbaugh defend them.
Daniel Gaddy is a staff reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle and a Walker County native. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org