Congress passed with lightning speed and president Obama signed the so-called JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act that was hailed as a welcome bipartisan action for the benefit of the nation at a time when government seemed gridlocked.
I am always suspicious when there is quick bipartisan action on a bill that has a clearly propagandist name. It is almost always the case that the general public is at the losing end, with the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 being the gold standard for such deception.
From Matt Taibbi in The Rolling Stone, I learn that my suspicions about the JOBS Act were correct. In his first post on the topic, he says:
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.
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.
But the big one, to me, is the bit about exempting firms from real independent tests of internal controls for five years.
In a followup post on this topic he counters those Obama supporters who are trying to distance the president from this law.
So to recap: Three different Obama-created committees contributed major policy ideas to the bill. Obama himself heartily endorsed it through his Statement of Administration Policy. And the bill sailed through the Democratic-controlled Senate when someone up above decided it would be too much trouble to bother with the normal committee process of debate, testimony, and amendments.
Of course the Republicans wanted this bill, pushed for it, wrote its most piggish passages. But the Republicans always suck on these issues. The real political question, as it always is in Washington, is how much the Democrats choose to fight back and do their jobs, versus how much they choose to step aside and take Wall Street money in exchange for “letting nature take its course.” And the JOBS Act is a classic example of a Democratic administration looking the other way while thieves robbed the store.
That’s the way the game is played: Fight long and publicly and furiously over things that the oligarchy does not care about, and quickly and easily rush through those things that they do care about.