Hallelujah, Washington has finally heard the people's cries for jobs! In an urgent bipartisan push, Democrats and Republicans have joined hands across the aisle to pass the JOBS Act. In this time of "The Great Hurt" — with widespread unemployment, middle-class incomes tumbling and the price of gasoline skyrocketing — we can all applaud our stalwarts in the capital city for meeting the No. 1 need of America's hard-hit economy: deregulating Wall Street.
Huh? I thought this was a jobs bill?
We'll get to that, but first (as always) Wall Street bankers must be served. Yes, them. The same priests of unmitigated arrogance who caused the disastrous financial crash that continues to rumble across our land. The same Wall Streeters we bailed out with trillions of public dollars. That Wall Street is now sulking and skulking around the U.S. Capitol, insisting that it is an economic victim, held back from its profiteering potential by government regulations to protect the public from finaglers and fraudsters. "Free Wall Street," is their cry!
Clucking with sympathy, Congress' tea party Republicans have rushed to the side of these poor, rich financiers, pledging to unshackle them from "burdensome" regulations. Serving Wall Street is not all that popular these days with voters, however, so the Repubs and their Democratic allies have committed their own fraud in order to pass this bill, deceptively titled it the "JOBS Act" (even though it doesn't actually create any jobs).
Then they pushed it in the name of small businesses (even though they quietly defined "small" as a billion dollars a year in sales). In fact, the accent on the JOBS acronym should be on "B.S." Will it surprise you to learn that the word "jobs" isn't even included in the title? Instead, JOBS stands for "Jump-start Our Business Start-ups."
Alarmingly, the so-called "onerous" regulations that Congress eliminated primarily are the extremely useful financial disclosure rules passed a decade ago to prevent another Enron scandal. The GOP House even tried to free financial hucksters from having to tell potential investors the names of the executives running the company and — get this — from providing such essential investor information as a description of what the company does and accurate accounting of its financial condition!
The last thing our economy needs is an open invitation for a new crop of Enroners to be unleashed to defraud the public — but that's the first thing that Washington agreed to do. It's a disgrace.
While the law was rushed to passage without any public hearings in the name of hard-hit American workers and small business, all of the benefits go to corporate and financial hucksters who begged Congress to roll back financial disclosure and anti-fraud rules that were designed to protect investors, consumers and taxpayers. It's just another "tinkle-down" economic scam written by and for Wall Street fraudsters. The law makes it easier for them to raise cash for their new business schemes by deceiving investors about the risk of loses, the true financial condition of the enterprise and the amount of capital being raked off by executives.
"Free us from those pesky old regulations," demanded the hucksters, "and we'll attract speculators for corporate startups that (if they succeed and don't set up operations offshore) could possibly, someday create a few low-wage American jobs. But don't hold us to that job thing."
Sure enough, Washington's Wall Street-hugging politicos did not. Instead, they merrily passed a bill upping the likelihood of more financial swindles without even getting a promise from the swindlers that America will get some good jobs in return. The JOBS Act should be called the ROBS Act.
To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.