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Mike Lux

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Dumb Idea: Put the Guys Who Caused the Problem in Charge

Posted: 09/28/2012 2:31 pm

Some big news coming out of MA: looks like Scott Brown worked as a real estate attorney and title agent for the parent company of a company named LPS, which happened to be one of the very worst offenders in the foreclosure fraud industry (so bad that one of their subsidiaries was featured on a 60 Minutes profile of mortgage fraud practices). And he did this during the peak of the housing bubble and all the mortgage fraud that was occurring in those years. We don't know exactly what Scott Brown did for the company in those years, but with the loose morality of the company he worked for it would be interesting to depose him and find out what he knows.

Now at least Scott Brown, who shares many of his main consultants and advisers and donors with his close friend Mitt Romney, wasn't the CEO of one of these companies that pillaged through the American economy like Genghis Khan on a bender the way Romney was. But Brown is exactly like Romney in this way: they are both arguing that voters ought to put in charge of government the same people who worked for the companies that created our economic problems.

There are way too many politicians who carry water for wealthy and powerful corporations that have damaged our economy -- that is bad enough. But to make the argument, as Romney has repeatedly done in terms of his Bain Capital experience, that working for these kinds of companies is what gives you the experience you need to fix the economy? I'd say the only way that makes any sense at all is if you are claiming a Road to Damascus type of conversion experience where you have fallen on your knees and realized that your values were warped and you needed to completely change your life. I haven't noticed any of that going with either Brown or Romney.

This is the simple fact: companies like Bain Capital and LPS helped drive our nation's economy into a ditch over the last 3 decades. LPS manipulated markets, ripped off homeowners and helped pump up the housing bubble that caused the financial panic. Bain Capital pioneered the outsourcing of jobs. They slashed wages, cut benefits and laid workers off without a moment of moral compunction. They manipulated the tax code by loading companies up with unproductive debt that they could write off. They pioneered the building of health care companies that have driven up health care prices and dramatically increased our national debt. They and other Wall Street companies manipulated markets and destroyed middle class jobs in ways profoundly destructive to this economy.

It's bad enough that politicians enabled this kind of destructive economic activity which hurt so many while benefitting so few, but now the people working for the companies doing all that damage want to become politicians themselves? It makes my head hurt.

While Mitt Romney was closing down steel factories, Barack Obama was working in a Chicago neighborhood fighting for steelworkers who had just been laid off. While Scott Brown was an attorney for one of the most fraudulent mortgage companies in the country, Elizabeth Warren was becoming the most effective advocate against Wall Street consumer abuse in the country.

This year's election is a morality tale, the story over which values you want representing you in public office. Mitt Romney made clear his view of morality in that famous video of him talking about how lazy and dependent so many Americans were, and in the budget he and Paul Ryan are so excited to push which cuts taxes for the wealthiest, raises them for everyone else and forces seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for their health care coverage. Scott Brown made his view of morality clear by voting against tax increases for the wealthy and making sure Wall Street firms had some extra loopholes in the financial reform bill.

To give you a great contrast between the Romney, Ryan, and Brown views on morality and ones that are easier to take, at least for me, let me share with you one of the best things I've seen written in this entire election, an op-ed in the New York Times entitled "I Was a Welfare Mother." Here's my favorite part:

I was not an exception in that little Section 8 neighborhood. Among those welfare moms were future teachers, nurses, scientists, business owners, health and safety advocates. We never believed we were "victims" or felt "entitled"; if anything, we felt determined. Wouldn't any decent person throw a rope to a drowning person? Wouldn't any drowning person take it?

Judge-and-punish-the-poor is not a demonstration of American values. It is, simply, mean. My parents saved me and then -- on the dole, in the classroom or crying deep in the night, in love with a little boy who needed everything I could give him -- I learned to save myself. I do not apologize. I was not ashamed then; I am not ashamed now. I was, and will always be, profoundly grateful.

Sums things up pretty well, I think. Read that letter, and then listen to Romney's 47 percent video. After that, deciding which side to vote for seems pretty easy.

 

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