And a new report from the New Economy Working Group, called “How to Liberate America from Wall Street Rule,” offers a “six-part policy agenda to rebuild a sensible system of community-based and accountable financial services institutions.”
Unfortunately, most of those who hold the cash and the corporations they control have lost interest in long-term investments that build and expand strong enterprises. The substantial majority of trades in financial markets are made by high-speed computers in securities held for fractions of a second. Business pundits still refer to this trading as investment. It bears no resemblance, however, to the investment required to put people to work rebuilding a strong America. Corporations are using their stores of cash primarily to buy back their own stock, acquire control of other companies, invest in off-shoring yet more American jobs, and pay generous dividends to shareholders and outsized bonuses to management. … Raising taxes on the rich and implementing financial reforms are essential elements of the solution to our seemingly intractable fiscal and economic crisis. Yet proposals currently on the table fall far short of the need.
Read the full report here. It leans heavily on proposals William Greider has put forward in recent years. But it’s well-organized and stimulates thought; I particularly like the “seven action clusters” at the end. Figuring out a road to real redistribution is the most important issue in American political life today. Most liberal politicians are so many costumed Tanias: rich kids playing at helping the poor, with acts of random Robin-Hoodery that only shift a few coins from pocket to pocket. Change means breaking into the main vault.