Cenk Uygur: Back in the days, Governor Eliot Spitzer was, of course, the Attorney General of New York, he used to be known as the Sheriff of Wall Street. Why? Because he actually went after people who committed financial fraud.
I want to show you the clip, and more than this, I want to talk about her general attitude towards her job. So watch the clip first.
Eliot Spitzer: Hank Greenberg’s accounting was fraudulent.
Maria Bartiromo: C’mon, you can’t say fraudulent because there is no indictment: you can’t just throw around the word fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here’s the federal judge’s opinion that says he was a conspirator. Here are the headlines: his company throwing him out.
Maria Bartiromo: So then why no charges: why six out of eight charges dropped then?
Eliot Spitzer: You want to know why? The answer is we charged the company, cleaned it up, got new leadership, the Southern District said to me, we are going to bring the charges. We let the Southern District. This has all been documented. We said, you want to do that, that’s fine.
Cenk Uygur: So here is what I find amazing. AIG paid one point six billion dollars because of fraud. Now why would Bartiromo think, oh, you think they are just going to pay $1.6 billion if they didn’t commit the fraud? They have an army of lawyers!
Hank Greenberg himself paid a fifteen million dollar fine for fraud. But Bartiromo’s default position is: protect the financial industry; protect the people who are in power; protected the establishment. And this guy who actually try to do something about fraud you must attack him, you must destroy him in order protect the establishment.
This is exactly what’s wrong with the establishment media and CNBC in particular. All they do is protect the guys who are doing fraud. You are supposed to represent us, your audience, not those guys. Unfortunately they totally misunderstand that.
‘The mob learned from Wall Street’: Eliot Spitzer on the ‘cartel-style corruption’ behind Libor scam. July 3, 2012 broadcast on Viewpoint, Eliot Spitzer interviews Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone’s financial reporter, who has written extensively on Wall Street fraud; and Dennis Kelleher, the head of the nonprofit organization, Better Markets, that promotes the public interest in U.S. and global financial markets.
Maria Bartiromo: I want to ask you about these new explosive allegations surrounding your charges against Hank Greenberg when he ran AIG. You brought eight charges against Greenberg during your time as attorney general. Six have been dropped: six out of the eight. Two remain. Six have been dropped.
Eliot Spitzer: No. Maria, let’s deal with facts for a minute. We brought a charge that AIG’s accounting was fundamentally fraudulent. The company admitted that. The Justice Department, the SEC, joined us in those charges. The company’s board removed Hank Greenberg.
Because of the silliness that is attached to this claim, people saying that I did this out of personal invective, or somehow personal animus: can I tell you something pretty simple? I don’t know if this will make Hank feel better or not, I have no emotions about him one way or the other. He is merely one in a litany of corporate executives who defrauded the market. We prosecuted them.
The charge against a prosecutor, that a prosecutor’s motive is flawed, is the last refuge of the guilty. I had this claim made against me by every person that we prosecuted. Hank Greenberg was thrown out by his own company’s board. He was called a conspirator by a federal judge.
Maria Bartiromo: Under pressure from you. In fact, some people might say that the collapse of AIG lays at your feet, because if Hank Greenberg had been there, he would not have allowed some of that craziness and risk being taken on.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, who still think that the sun revolves around the earth. You know, let’s deal with reality here. Hank Greenberg’s accounting was fraudulent. His company threw him out.
Maria Bartiromo: You can’t say fraudulent because there is no indictment. You can’t just throw around the word fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the federal judge’s opinion that said that he was a conspirator. Here are the headlines: his company throwing him out.
Maria Bartiromo: Then why six out of the eight charges were dropped then. What is the answer?
Eliot Spitzer: You want to know why? The answer is we charged the company, cleaned it up, got new leadership. The Southern District said to me, we are going to bring the charges. We let the Southern District. This has all been documented. We said, you want to do it? That’s fine. We let them.
Maria Bartiromo: And Hank Greenberg is still not running, TV star, running, you know, living his life, so all of these charges that you throw away so cavalier, there is no evidence to support that.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, look, I hate to say this to you, deal with facts and reality, not what Hank Greenberg’s PR machine wants you to believe. Hank Greenberg was thrown out by his own board. His company paid $1.6 billion in a settlement, acknowledged that his accounting was fraudulent. These are in facts. Read the federal judicial opinion. He was the one that instigated the conspiracy. He is the one that began, this is a federal judge, began and instigated the conspiracy, fraudulent reinsurance contract. Do you know who brought the case to me?
Maria Bartiromo: But no charge. But all those charges have been dropped. You’re still not answering that. I want to take you back three days ago because we talked with your predecessor in the New York Attorney General’s Office, Dennis Vacco. He says he heard you make comments that demonstrate you had a personal vendetta against Greenberg. Let me play what he said on this program three days ago. I want to get your reaction. Listen to this. Dennis Vacco.
Dennis Vacco: It wasn’t that he was hammering his fist on the desk or or on the table, citing allegations of wrong doing or corruption. His tirade was much more personal in nature, and it left me with an uneasy feeling there was some kind of personal animus that was driving him at that point in time, and I was really surprised and taken aback when Mr. Spitzer, after referencing some comments that Hank Greenberg had made recently, my recollection is that Greenberg had said something to the effect that Spitzer was prosecuting him for murder for essentially jaywalking.
But what followed from that comment was rather a startling personal attack that I was really quite surprised by.
Maria Bartiromo: That’s what I want to ask you about. Because after the interview, we are told that you placed a call to Hank Greenberg’s lawyers, the firm Boies, Schiller. Allegedly you told them, because your firm is in bed with someone like Hank, you will have to bear the consequences. I have a bazooka pointed at you and everyone else at your firm who is involved. Did you say this on July 10th?
Eliot Spitzer: No. Here is where we are. David Boies is a good friend of mine. David Boies is representing Hank Greenberg. In the past they have made representations in their briefs that they immediately had to withdraw; you can call them and ask them about that. They had made unsubstantiated counter-factual statements in their briefs, so they needed to send a letter to the court saying, no, we were wrong, that is not where that statement was made. Ask them about the footnote where in the past they tried to challenge my motive for bringing the case as it is wrong. They are hired guns. They are paid well to say what they’re saying, and they have been wrong repeatedly. Maria, let’s come back to facts.
Maria Bartiromo: So are you saying you did not say it or did you say it? Did you say, I have a bazooka at your head?
Eliot Spitzer: No, I had a nice conversation with Nick Gravante, in which I said, can you send me the statement that David has made. You guys have made statements in the past that have needed to be withdrawn. Please send me the statement so that I can see what it says.
Maria, let’s come back to facts here for a minute. Hank Greenberg was removed by his own board.
Maria Bartiromo: From pressure from you.
Eliot Spitzer: No, no pressure from me.
Maria Bartiromo: C’mon! Ha, Ha!
Eliot Spitzer: The Board of AIG, which had the most august membership, fired and removed Hank Greenberg because I called up the phone and said I want him gone?!
Maria Bartiromo: You went on Sunday morning television and said he committed fraud And you have no evidence of this so many years later, still. His people say you destroyed his reputation and caused the collapse of AIG.
Eliot Spitzer: Unfortunately I have in front of me the transcript of what I said on Sunday morning TV. You want the transcript? These were created for the purpose of deceiving the market. That’s fraud, it was a black box run by a CEO that did not tell the public the truth.
Maria Bartiromo: You used the word fraud, that’s the point. That’s the point, and then you color everybody else’s opinion even though to this day we don’t have any charges of that. The charges are being dropped.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the federal court judgment. Facts matter. I know this is cable TV, but facts matter.
Maria Bartiromo: I’m aware of facts matter.
Eliot Spitzer: You need to understand that AIG was being lead by a CEO whose accountant was fraudulent.
Maria Bartiromo: Hank, you know – I know he is trying he is trying to get your personal e-mails because he says you also tried to get him — bring him down. Are you going to release those e-mails?
Eliot Spitzer: As I said to people, well, ain’t no such thing. Hank Greenberg at AIG committed fraud. The record of on –
Maria Bartiromo: You keep saying it again, fraud, but there’s no charge of fraud.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the 29-page federal court opinion. I don’t know why you keep saying there’s no evidence.
Maria Bartiromo: I say it because when you’re the judge, jury, and executor, it’s important for our viewers to understand what went on and give people the benefit of the doubt if there is no evidence supporting that.
Eliot Spitzer: Have you read this opinion? I’m waiting for an answer.
Maria Bartiromo: What was the question.
Eliot Spitzer: Have you read the opinion?
Maria Bartiromo: Yes i have.
Eliot Spitzer: Does it say that he’s a conspirator. Let’s talk facts. I’m going to be very serious.
Maria Bartiromo: I’m not under oath for you, and I’m not in your courtroom. you’re on my show, and thank you for joining us Eliot Spitzer. I’m asking you a question.
Eliot Spitzer: You said you read the opinion, because its says that Hank Greenberg’s action led to fraud.
Maria Bartiromo: You said it, you have continued to say it, and you say it all the time, and I just want to get to the facts here.
Eliot Spitzer: Maria, here is the problem. The problem is that you want to repeat ad nauseam things that are coming out of the PR machine of Hank Greenberg that defie factual record. Maria, I will ask you to give deference to a guest. The reason the Wall Street environment is falling apart, pardon me, is there is an inability on Wall Street’s part to acknowledge what happened. If they said those were flawed, we should not have done it, we won’t do it again, we’re done. That’s what we did in most of the cases.
He continues to this day to dispute facts that have been proven beyond any dispute. Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett came to us and said it. It’s all documented. This is the history, it is clearly known. I think if the public were to understand what was going on at AIG, they would agree that if anything, more should have been done. The Justice Department looked at it, the SEC looked at it, we all forced that change at AIG, there is no doubt about it, no dispute about it, this is what we need in terms of smart prosecution.
Maria Bartiromo: It’s good to have you on the program, I enjoyed this. Very good exchange.
Eliot Spitzer: Here is the deal, next time you come on my show.
Maria Bartiromo: I’ll see you on current TV.
Eliot Spitzer: We’ll see you soon, thank you.
Maria Bartiromo: You can catch Mr. Spitzer on Current TV week nights at 8:00 PM.
I don’t know whether to laugh or to flee the country out of fear. If I knew Mitt Romney would surely be defeated in November, although I am not in love with President Obama, I would be pissing in my pants laughing hysterically at everything that comes out of the mouth of Mitt Romney. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction, but, folks, what Mitt Romney is asking us to swallow is not truth and it’s so far out that it’s not what can be classified—either by Dewey or the Library of Congress—as conventional fiction.
According to Ed Gillespie, Mitt claims that, even though he received an annual salary of at least $100,000 for his services as the chief executive of Bain Capital for a number of years after 1999, and even though he signed and filed reports to the SEC describing his position at Bain Capital as the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president”, he had, in fact, “retroactively retired” in 1999!!! As Jon Stewart correctly ponders in his video, did Mitt Romney have a time machine in order to travel back in time from 2002 so that he could then retire in 1999???
This is not fiction as we ordinarily know it: isn’t it more like science fiction from The Twilight Zone? Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And isn’t it kind of crazy for anyone to utter such nonsense about retroactive retirement and expect everyone to believe it?! But what is so very scary to me about this kind of talk is that it is presumably coming from a Presidential candidate, someone representing the very best of a nation, to lead its citizens of 300 million people: someone entrusted by those 300 million poor souls with the power to push a nuclear button and blow up the entire world?!!!! Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And let us not also forget that this is the same man who supposedly believes that some guy (i.e., Joseph Smith) born in Sharon, Vermont in 1805 was in some sense “divine” in ways to the nth degree: divine inspiration, divine revelation, divine manifestation, divine calling, divine mission, divine origins….Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
And that this divine-ish guy, Joseph Smith, believed that the physical throne of God is located on the planet Kolob (never identified by astronomers yet). And this Mormon follower, Mitt Romney, might become our next President?! Anyone wanna go to Kolob?
Oh, my God….Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
Well…perhaps Mitt Romney has had some divine revelations, too, incomprehensible to us mere mortals, to account for his transmigration of his soul from 2002 to 1999 so that he could retire retroactively? Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na.
Isn’t it kind of ironic that the Christian fundamentalists will vote for a guy who supposedly believes that Joseph Smith was divine-ish and that God, according to the Mormon Book of Abraham, lives on the planet Kolob?!?!
LOL! Pretty scary stuff for Presidential material, isn’t it?
I am Rocky Anderson and I’m the Justice Party’s candidate for President of the United States. I’ve also been nominated by the Independent Party in New Mexico and the Progressive Party in Oregon, and I’m seeking the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party in California.
And as a third-party candidate for President, I often hear people express the concern that I might be a spoiler in this race. And by that they mean that I might take away votes—as if one takes away votes—from the candidate with whom I have the most in common and help elect the candidate with whom I have the least in common.
And I thought long and hard about this. And, in fact, my concern about the so-called spoiler effect kept me from getting into this race for a period of time until after thinking very intensely about this, I concluded that we cannot be driven by fear of being a spoiler because if we did, in every single race, we’d end up voting for one of the two parties in this sick, corrupt, political duopoly in this country, the Republican and the Democratic Parties, who have brought us to the point where we are.
And we have got to break out of that. Regardless of whether it means we are going to win or lose a particular election, we have to come together and build a long term sustained movement, and the way to get that started is for as many people as we can possibly get behind this race to vote for a very different way.
There are three basic responses to this so-called spoiler argument. First, we are stuck in a very corrupt game in which we simply move around the players, a Democrat here, a Republican there, every election. It doesn’t matter in this context which of the two parties wins. We still end up with a corrupt system in which the public interest is betrayed by elected officials who have sold out to the highest bidders.
The rules have been made by the two dominant parties and they thrive from those rules. If we are ever going to break out of that perverse game and create a new paradigm where concentrated wealth no longer calls the shots in Washington, we need to vote for a real alternative. We may not win this election but each of us can send the message that we will not stand for this disease plutocracy anymore.
Not to make light of any of this, but I saw cartoon recently that makes the point powerfully. That cartoons says, choosing among Republican or Democratic candidates for President is like choosing between a window seat or an aisle seat on a plane crash. Our job is to do all we can to save our nation from that plane crash.
The second argument against the so-called spoiler argument: we need to, each of us, draw our own moral and political lines in the sand and determine where that point is beyond which we will not go. I have drawn my line. I determined that I cannot support someone who will engage in ramped-up wars of aggression; who covers for Wall Street and refuses to hold accountable those responsible for the massive financial fraud leading to the economic disaster faced by millions of people in this country; who ignores the responsibility to provide leadership on the climate crisis; who ignores due process and targets US citizens for assassination; and who gives the orders for drone killings, where we know that hundreds of innocent men, women, and children have been killed in the process in nations where Congress has not authorized acts of war in violation of the War Power clause of the Constitution; and who has signed into law the power of government to round people up and indefinitely detain them without trial, without charges, without right of habeas corpus, and even without the right of legal assistance.
I know someone might be worse than that person. But in every race someone is going to be worse than the other. That doesn’t mean I will support the other. There must be a moral line that each of us can draw that leads us to say “no”, regardless of the other choices.
When I am eighty years old, I want to look back and say I did everything I could to oppose the atrocities, including not supporting even the lesser evil among the two possible candidates.
The third point: President Obama might be the lesser of two evils, but he is indeed the more effective of the two evils. If George Bush or Mitt Romney were doing the things that President Obama has done, half or perhaps more of this country would be standing up in opposition, including Democrats in Congress. Imagine if George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were sitting around in the Oval Office deciding who would be killed by drones, knowing that hundreds of innocent civilians will also be killed in the process, Democrats would be out there demonstrating. In Congress they would be holding hearings and blasting the Republicans for their war crimes and human rights abuses.
However since President Obama has a “D” on his jersey, his teammates, other Democrats, simply remain complacent and fail to voice any opposition, becoming complicit in our nation’s war mongering and march towards totalitarianism. The absence of opposition by both major political parties in the face of the many abuses by the Obama administration is perhaps the most frightening facet of our nation’s present circumstances.
Please join with us in saying, “no more”. Make your vote count along with those of many others to signal your insistence that we eliminate the corrupting influence of money in government and that we restore the rule of law, the system of checks and balances, and fundamental constitutional values.
I am Rocky Anderson and I approve this message. This message was paid for by Rocky Anderson Our President 2012, Inc.
Eliot Spitzer: I want to come back to the outsourcing issue. Mitt Romney obviously being, in my view, properly attacked for the outsourcing that Bain did, how do we actually stopped that. To some extent, are not these not laws of economics? Are these choices that we can actually force companies not to make, not to send jobs overseas?
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter: Eliot, let’s talk about trade bills for just a second because I have been against those since I got into Congress including the ones that we passed this term. But I have never seen any kind of trade agreement the United States made with another country that advantaged in any way the American manufacturers. In many cases I think they were pretty much sent overseas.
And manufacturers, you know, we have never been able to deal with a law that allows Congress to pay people to outsource. That is an annoyance beyond belief, as many things in Washington are today.
But I found a trade bill as well that will finally advantage manufacturers in America by saying that we can change the conditions of a trade bill. It wasn’t tariffs that really bothered so much as the unseen barriers: for example, with cars, the steering wheel wasn’t big enough, this light doesn’t look right, I don’t like that bumper.
We sold eight thousand cars in Japan last year. That should tell us a lot. We sell eight thousand cars in every town in America, just about, of Japanese origin. So we have been just pretty stupid about trade policies far as I’m concerned.
Eliot Spitzer: Louise, I could not agree with you more and I think you put your finger on the very issue that we need to talk about, which is that—and I hate to admit it, this is unfortunate—it has been a bipartisan error. President Clinton signed a lot of the trade bills.
Louise Slaughter: All of them. Yes.
Eliot Spitzer: That’s right. There have been two pieces, two pillars, of our economic strategy that have been fundamentally wrong: one was deregulation of Wall Street; the other was trade bills that were simply oblivious, as you point out, to our manufacturing base. Can we get the President to change on this?
Louise Slaughter: I don’t know. I hope so. I have certainly been trying because of this bill that I got. But this goes all the way back. NAFTA, of course, as we know, has done absolutely nothing for us. And what I watched towns like mine and cities around us be boarded up where people used to work. It was a stupid thing for us to do.
We were in the top manufacturing in the world, we were extraordinarily generous, and we need to be because we had a lot of things going for us, but what we did was give away our seed corn. Nobody does that but we did it.
But what we have to do is pay attention to enforce trade agreements, and that can’t be done by the person who negotiates the trade agreement, which is what we do now. It needs to be in a whole new department of the country but what we have done is make it possible for the Congress itself to stop the trade agreement until it is straightened out. And that’s what we need.
Eliot Spitzer: You are from the Rochester Buffalo portion of upstate New York, which is part of what people used to refer to as the rust belt. It used to be the industrial manufacturing core of America. You understand exactly what has happened to hollow out our economy, and I sure hope that you will continue to hammer on this.
Louise Slaughter: I sure will. I am so involved in this that I eat and sleep this Bill so that we can try once to advantage American manufacturers.
Throughout history myths have played an important role in controlling the common folk by the elite and aristocracy, necessitated, of course, by their fewer numbers. Mark Twain noted its use in his book, “Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court”, observing its effectiveness in controlling the ignorant and uncouth serfs by the Church, the well rewarded agent of the nobility. That myth so widely in use then was, if you work like a feudal slave all day without virtually any pay, starving to death in the process, don’t worry, you will get your reward in heaven: there you will occupy a palace and have everything you had desired (except sex, of course) but were denied on earth. And the general population bought this garbage for nearly two thousand years, confirming the ignorance and gullibility of the general populace to swallow just about anything, including dogma, political propaganda, utter nonsense, or shit.
After Charles Dickens and other humanists let the cat out of the bag, exposing the ungodliness of the Malthus theory and the unchristian treatment of the poor, ironically condoned by the Church for centuries, the rich had to find other myths to keep the rabble slaving away for pennies on the hour. My father believed in that Horatio Alger myth, that if you worked hard here in America, you, too, could become successful and rich. My grandfather and he worked for 12.5 cents per hour. If it were not for FDR and the growth of the unions during the 1930s, my father, like his father, would have died a pauper, too.
When Ronald Reagan—that B actor whom I recall as a child selling soap on TV and who has been canonized as a saint by the Republican Party—spewed that myth which we now term trickle-down economics (aka, tinkle-down, pissed on, economics), the middle class was once again hoodwinked into giving gifts of gold to the rich in hopes of being rewarded with manna from heaven. Of course, that manna never came, since all of that dough resulted in the greatest transfer of wealth over the last 30 years to the upper 1%.
Now that the middle class has finally begun to wisen up to that tinkle-down nonsense, the Republicans and many conservative Democrats have been forced to repackage and disguise that Lauffer myth with a twist: if we give tax cuts to the rich, their tax savings will miraculously create the jobs that we all crave here in America. As the great seer, Yogi, once said, it’s deja vu all over again.
For those of you who actually believe that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy and create jobs, historical facts show just the contrary: when the highest marginal tax rates were at their highest rates of 75% to 94% from 1945 through 1980, growth rates in employment were also at their highest rates. And conversely, when the highest marginal tax rates on the rich were at their lowest rates, the rates of growth in employment were also at their lowest rates: over the last eleven years (from 2000 through 2011), the highest effective marginal tax rates have been at nearly historical lows of 35% (in comparison to the 75% to 94% rates in effect from 1945 through 1980), while the capital gains tax rate has been at a historical low of 15%, but the rate of growth in employment has been negative: that is, we have been losing jobs over the last eleven years!
Now, you might wonder, how can that be? Raising taxes on the rich creates jobs in America?! Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh say otherwise. Well, folks, it’s quite understandable. When taxes on the rich go down, Congress typically restrains or even cuts government spending, or at least the growth rate in government spending. But you might argue, don’t the rich then invest in America and create jobs?! No, they don’t. The rich typically hoard their money—since they have more than what they could spend in an entire lifetime already—often in tax havens like Swiss bank accounts, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, etc., or invest their moneys in the stock market, where multinational corporations invest those funds in manufacturing facilities overseas because labor there is as low as 22.5 cents per hour. So jobs are not created here in the U.S. when the highest marginal tax rates on the rich go down. Quite the contrary.
Conversely, when taxes on the rich have been higher, filling Washington’s coffers, government spending typically is increased: for instance, the government funds infrastructure projects, education, the criminal justice system, the space program, the Great Society, endless wars overseas, etc. Such government spending normally creates jobs here in the United States. The fiscal policy of our government can result in job growth; however, a tax policy resulting in lower taxes on the rich does not create jobs in our country since those tax decreases on the rich often result in decreases in government spending, and, consequently, decreases in employment here in the US.
Only significant decreases in taxes on the middle class would result in job creation here at home since the resulting increase in disposable income for a middle class already at its borrowing limit would lead to increased consumption by it, stimulating the economy, and consequently, creating jobs. But the tax decreases proposed by the Republicans and conservative Democrats target the rich, not the middle class. And the rich, unlike the middle class, do not have to spend their additional tax savings. That’s the key point deliberately omitted in the presentation by the messengers of the rich for additional tax breaks for the rich.
Is it any coincidence then that those who give the biggest campaign contributions inevitably get the biggest tax breaks? The United States does indeed have the best tax code that money can buy! Our governmental system is virtually broken beyond repair: campaign contributions are in essence legalized bribery.
Of course, political propaganda always speaks louder than facts to the NASCAR, masochistic mentality of the serfs, who crave simple minded solutions to any problem confronting them. Rest assured, they will eagerly, out of desperation, swallow this myth about how jobs can only be created by lowering taxes on the rich. Such myths have always worked in the past and they are guaranteed to work in the future, especially since the major media, the purveyors of our national myths, are controlled by the very rich themselves.
Cenk Uygur: We’re back with the aggressive progressive. As you know, on June twenty ninth the Republicans held Eric Holder, our Attorney General, in contempt. Here’s how it went down.
Diane Sawyer: The House of Representatives approved a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to disclose documents on that botched undercover program, the “fast and furious” operation. No sitting cabinet member has ever been held in contempt. Dozens of Democrats boycotted the vote. They walked out of the chamber.
Cenk Uygur: Well, that program was the “fast and furious” that they think he should turn over more information on.
But to me the real problem with Eric Holder is not “fast and furious.” In fact we’ve shown on this program that that is nonsense, that the ATF had no program to shuffle guns to intermediaries that then took them to Mexican cartels.
I think the real problem with Eric Holder is what I would call “the slow and the listless”. And that is his treatment of fraud in the banks. We had a gigantic amount of fraud in two thousand and eight (2008). What did he do about it? Nothing.
We have the LIBOR scandal now involving twelve different banks. What has he done so far? Nothing. In fact, did you know his former law firm, Covington and Burling, deviced a shell corporation implicated in some of the biggest mortgage and foreclosure fraud? Could that be part of the reason he has not done anything?
How many prosecutions has Eric Holder done of big bank executives?
None! Zero! “The slow and the listless.”
This is what I hold Eric Holder in contempt for. This is what is unacceptable.
And now sources that are talking to Richard Eskow at the Huffington Post say it is the Justice Department that is holding it up, and that they are frustrated, in fact, extremely frustrated, that the Justice Department will not act on the mortgage task force on fraud, and they’re not doing anything about it.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are talking to Americans about taxes. The President wants to raise taxes on those with taxable incomes over $250,000; Mitt Romney does not want to raise taxes on them. Mitt Romney is against raising taxes on those individuals with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, arguing that it would have a negative impact on job creation. Barack Obama, however, argues that raising taxes on those earning $250,000 will not impact the middle class since taking care of the middle class will grow the economy.
So who is right? Republicans are always saying that taxes are too high and they are killing job creators. President Obama is saying, on the other hand, that, no, it is the middle class that creates demand and stimulates the economy, in turn creating jobs.
The highest marginal tax rate in 1945 was 94%. Now it is at 35%. Similarly, the capital gains tax rate was at 25%; now it is at 15%. So the present tax rates are not at historic highs, as Republicans would lead you to believe, but rather at historic lows.
But do lower taxes create a booming economy? Do lower taxes help businesses grow their businesses and create jobs?
The Republicans have been saying for decades—and this has been unchallenged by the media and even by most Democrats—that if taxes are lowered, it grows the economy and creates jobs. Examining a graph of the different top marginal tax rates from 1950 to the present time in relation to average real GDP growth, one can see that when those rates were at their lowest, real GDP growth were similarly at their lowest levels. In fact, at the current top marginal tax rate of 35%, real GDP growth has been at its lowest level in that time period.
However, when the top marginal tax rates were at their highest rates of 75% to 80%, the United States experienced its highest growth rates in terms of real GDP growth. Although there are other factors involved in the level of GDP growth, the Republican contention that higher taxes would destroy our nation’s economy is not true when examining historical facts.
In fact, even when the tax rates were as high as 90%, the economy still boomed. It was doing much better than when the rates were capped at 35%. Now this graph shows the historical relation of tax rates to GDP, but how about their relation to jobs and employment.
Again one sees a similar relationship. The United States experienced its best years of job creation when the tax rates were at 75% to 80%. And since the tax rate has been capped at 35%, the United States had the worst job creation rates: in fact, the country has had a negative job creation rate: the nation has been losing jobs; and this has been the only time the United States has lost jobs.
The United States has capped the highest marginal tax rate at 35% now for eleven years and it continues to lose jobs. Tax cuts do not create jobs. Often times they cost jobs.
When taxes are raised on the rich, history shows that our country does not lose jobs. Quite the contrary, the nation experienced the highest amount of growth and the greatest increase in employment when the highest marginal tax rates were at their highest levels.
Consequently, the rich are not job creators. And taxes on the rich does not have a negative impact on economic growth nor on the creation of jobs.
Cenk Uygur: The rest of the media reports the fundraising per month without noting that this is basically legalized bribery. And they make it seem like, hey, you know what? This is a contest. And we are going to see who wins this contest. And this month Mitt Romney won.
President Obama raised seventy one million dollars. That’s really, really good: the best so far of his campaign. Well, not good enough because Mitt Romney raised a hundred and six million dollars in just June, okay.
So the rest of the media declares that Mitt Romney has won. But what has he won in the month of June?
He’s won the contest for who can get bribed more efficiently and more thoroughly. I don’t think that is something to celebrate. I think that shows you how broken our system is.
So now when you look at Mitt Romney, they say, wait, you have got to be fair to us. Ninety four percent of our donors are small donors under two hundred and fifty dollars or less, right? Okay ninety four percent of your donors are that way but the rest, the six percent, are where the real money comes from.
There raised only twenty two million dollars from the small donors; they raised eighty three point eight million dollars from the large donors. So in fact over eighty percent of the money comes from the large donors, the ones who expect something in return. That’s how this works and that’s why we call it bribery.
And speaking of which, Mitt Romney was in the Hamptons over the weekend. He went to three different fundraisers, including one at David Koch’s house, one at Ron Perlman’s house. And they were on average fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) per plate. The Koch one was more expensive: you got suckered if you went to that one and paid seventy five thousand dollars ($75,000). You would have had the same access as the other ones which were cheaper. And he raised is about three million dollars in one day.
Now as all these people were pouring in, in their Ferraris, literally, Range Rovers, golden Mercedes—as was described in one of the articles—at these fundraisers, they also sometimes talk to the press and told us what they think of all the, you know, the money going into the system, they’re in favor of it, etc.
There were also protesters, too. So first let’s show you the protesters.
[Beginning of video] “…Protesters in the process….Romney, his secret service detail, could be seen criss-crossing the Hamptons in their fleet of suburbans, donors lined up to gain access to these closed events. They were met by protesters at several of these events. Many of whom had been bused in from New York City. Some said they were part of the Occupy Wall Street movement.” [End of video]
All right, I love the fake dog on the roof to make fun of them. But honestly they couldn’t get anywhere near the events. A couple of people were arrested trying to get onto the beach where the yachts had docked to go to some of these events. I am not kidding. Okay.
So now here’s one of the anonymous donors talking to the L.A. Times, she said:
“I don’t think the common person is getting it—my college kid, the babysitters, the nails ladies—everybody who’s got the right to vote. They don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income, one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”
Look at that disdain dripping from her mouth: “Oh, you lower class people. You obviously don’t know the same things we know. And if you knew it, you would understand why we have to bribe Mitt Rodney for our advantage. Oops, did I say our advantage? I meant your advantage. Come on nails ladies, figure it out already. I know you have a low education but you have to understand us rich people in the Hamptons have to rule this country.”
They should be sickening to all of us. One of the ladies bragged to one of the reporters, “hey do you know how generous we are?” And she said, “look, my husband, who by the way had supported Obama the last time around and he said, “oh, he bit the hand that fed him”; in other words, “How dare you not be as good to the rich as Mitt Romney. We paid for something and we wanted a return on that investment. And so they flip over to Mitt Romney and she goes to tell a reporter, “oh, tell him who’s staying on our yacht.” And I thought, what, are they going to say that they got, you know, big brother big sister program there, helping people on their yacht. No, she was bragging that there was an incredibly rich Hollywood executive from Miramax who couldn’t get a hotel in the Hamptons as they were all trying to bribe Mitt Romney, and they let him stay on the yacht with them.
But that’s not being generous. That’s incredibly rich people staying on a yacht and buying our democracy. Oh, come on, man, this is grotesque, and the band plays on as if there’s nothing wrong in our government. They are buying our government as we watch.
Alright, listen, this is obviously an epic problem.