Imperium Watch: A Tale of Two Senators

Scott Brown and Bernie Sanders have different ideas about the meaning of public service.

Comments (6)
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Massachusetts Senator Scott "Just a Regular Guy" Brown believes in loyalty—to the banking and financial services interests that swept him to Capitol Hill on a magic carpet of cash. Brown was one of three Republican senators (the other two were Maine's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) who joined Democrats to vote for the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill.

However, Brown demanded and got elimination of a provision in the bill that would have taxed banks to raise $19 billion to pay for its implementation. He also succeeded in weakening a reform, called the Volcker amendment, that would have prohibited banks from certain kinds of risky investing (such as owning hedge funds) with money guaranteed by the government.

Meanwhile, according to the Boston Globe, between the middle of June and July 4, Brown got $140, 000 from banks and investment firms and their officers. The average donation by that industry to Republican senators during that time was $28,000.

A different kind of loyalty—loyalty to average constituents—has been demonstrated lately by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who filibustered for eight and a half hours December 10 on the pending tax bill that would preserve tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. A sample: "This nation has a record-breaking, $13.8 trillion national debt at the same time as the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing. It seems to me to be unconscionable, unconscionable for my conservative friends and for everybody else in this country to be driving up this already too-high national debt by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who don't need it and in some cases, Mr. President, don't even want it."

More from the speech, nicknamed the "FiliBernie": "For my friends, my Republican colleagues, to tell me that we need more tax cuts for the very rich, because that's going to create jobs, that's what trickle down economics is all about. What I would say to them is: Ya had your chance! It failed! In case you don't know, losing 600,000 private sector jobs in eight years is not good. That's very, very bad. &We don't need to look at that movie again. We saw it. It stunk! It was a very bad movie!"

While Sanders was still fulminating, the Washington Post offered an online poll asking readers whether the speech was a "waste of time" or "proved an important point" (a third choice was, "Who is Bernie Sanders?"). Of nearly 9,000 responding, 87 percent said the socialist senator's oratory "proved an important point."

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Bernie Sanders is a communist from a state with the highest welfare rate in the country. He does not want to bring an end to the gravy train called socialism. That is why he wants other peoples money.

Posted by Greg on 12.22.10 at 20:31

Ms. Stephanie if the government lived within its means we would not be in our current dire financial situation. I have an idea that would reduce our national debt, SPEND LESS MONEY. Why are politicians constantly looking for more ways to tax EVERYONE? Because thay want to "bring home the bacon" for their special interest projects. If the government were to increase taxes, or let the tax breaks you refer to expire, there would perhaps be a short term decline in the national debt. But dont be so naive to think that politicians would continue to find new ways to get your money into their hands and then spend spend spend. If you want to reduce the national debt get more private sector jobs and stop govenrment spending.

Posted by Jerry65 on 12.23.10 at 13:09

How interesting it is for all Americans who were born here or who die to get here, knowing that they live or would live in the Land of Opportunity, now have the audacity to say you shouldn't get rich or be rich. That is why the boats landed here folks. Our ancestors did not like owning nothing and giving everything to kings and queens and emporers and other rulers. They came here to own land, cultivate land, buy land, and live on the land. They learned to give back the fruits of their labors with corn, potatoes, beans, wheat, etc. Some got lucky. They went on to California and found GOLD. Americans are resilient and always wind up giving to others whether it be our country or the rest of the world. Riches! Is it not the rich who give money around the world to set up businesses, food, large manufacturing companies.? Not to many middle class citizens can do that but middle class folks in America are the spokes to the richest wheels in our culture. Rich folks need us to buy and want they make or grow. If rich people did not take risks, then who would? If you are so eager to be American and you believe in your heart and soul that this is and always will be the Land Of Opportunity for All, then why not stop wasting 8 hours trying to rob from Peter to pay Paul. Our government is the guilty culprint here. They have so much money from all of us taxpapyers and because of greed and special interest groups, they not only want more, but will take it from anyone not just the rich. Free enterprise and hars work is how our ancestors make America work and I do not want that to ever change. I love Liberty, Freedome, and the American Way. Do I wish I was rich? Of course I do. Do I get envious and jealous because someone has more than i do? NO. America was founded and brought up as a Christian World where freedom is for all who come here. But the sacrifice is you must become integrated into Our Country and Our Constitution, and Our Laws. You are supposed to become a citizen of the United States of America. That is your duty and desire if you chose to come here and enjoy all the freedoms American offers. There are rich people all over the world and I don't hear anyone making a stink about the millions of rich folks around the globe. So why here? Why not let people be free to make money or not make money. To be rich or not to be rich. It is the American Dream we were born into and the American Dream everyone else came to so leave it alone and let FREEDOM RING FOR ALL.

Posted by Anne Gelinas on 12.23.10 at 14:49

Let me just say this. Stimulus aside, there is still a large multibillion dollar deficit that increased itself. Food stamps, emergency unemployment, medicare, medicaid and similar programs that do not turn people away. This is non-discretionary spending.

Yes, let us have the government spend less and Americans out of job can pay no bills. Americans who took a cut in pay working part-time low wage job may have difficulty to buy food and make rent. The elderly and the poor do not need to get health care. This is what it means for the government to spend less money.

As for the discretionary, we don't need an NTSB to figure out why a plane ditched--successfullly--in the Hudson River. We'll just hope that should a pilot lose altitude likewise they can pull off a similar miracle--and not be over land. Let's can the Nuclear Regulator Commission because we're just burdening the nuclear industry by insisting they operate safely or be lisenced at all. Paging Vermont Yankee. National Parks? Please, history is for people living in the past. Springfield Armory, indeed! Wage and Hour Enforcement at Dept. of Labor is just for the schmucks too lazy to ask their obstinate employer nicely to pay them. Besides anybody too poor to hire a lawyer to sue for their wages probably isn't working hard enough to earn them.

Yes. The sarcasm is thick and I have chosen extremes to illustrate a broader point. Cutting gov't spending is not quite like a family of four choosing not to go out to Applebee's on Thursdays to save. Are there economies to be realized? Absolutately. Is there waste? Darn tootin'! And then, there are those weapon systems that are likely only to find God as a worthy opponent and two different jet enginges in a plane that can only accept one. However, successfully culling those excesses are unlikely to plug the hole. A mending economy will help, too. However, a streamlined tax code that, yes, does collect more money will, too, be necessary.

Posted by Matt S on 12.24.10 at 1:28

I like the one who posts as Annie Gelinas, Well said sister! I too am not of the millionair class ,unless you count my credit card debt. but I cannot abide these democrats whose generosity is with other peoples money. and ,Why is this story still up, this must be the longest lasting bag of crap in the history of land fill journalism.

Posted by de sean on 12.27.10 at 18:59

Our ancestors did not come here with the intent that the banks would replace the European nobility, and that is just what has happened.

When conservatives list expenditures they list the money the government spends on their serfs. But the big expense is the war in the middle east to protect the oil industry. We are also finding other wars to protect aristocratic interests throughout the world. The rich are the most successful welfare class, they get the government to spend billions protecting their interests.

I think we might have lost some people when the budget went to over 6 zeroes. War is still the expensive item, and we get nothing for it.

The only reason why the “safety net” is expensive is because of the depression that the bankers have engineered in the so-called “market economy.” And they are sabotaging the safety net by putting so many people on it ( some from outside of the US ) that it will break. The unemployment caused by run away US industry and investments is the reason for the unemployment.

Posted by Robert Underwood on 12.28.10 at 12:58



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