One bill that sailed through the House Financial Services Committee this month — over the objections of the Treasury Department — was essentially Citigroup’s, according to e-mails reviewed by The New York Times. The bill would exempt broad swathes of trades from new regulation.
In a sign of Wall Street’s resurgent influence in Washington, Citigroup’s recommendations were reflected in more than 70 lines of the House committee’s 85-line bill. Two crucial paragraphs, prepared by Citigroup in conjunction with other Wall Street banks, were copied nearly word for word. (Lawmakers changed two words to make them plural.)
The lobbying campaign shows how, three years after Congress passed the most comprehensive overhaul of regulation since the Depression, Wall Street is finding Washington a friendlier place.
The cordial relations now include a growing number of Democrats in both the House and the Senate, whose support the banks need if they want to roll back parts of the 2010 financial overhaul, known as Dodd-Frank.
This legislative push is a second front, with Wall Street’s other battle being waged against regulators who are drafting detailed rules allowing them to enforce the law.
And as its lobbying campaign steps up, the financial industry has doubled its already considerable giving to political causes. The lawmakers who this month supported the bills championed by Wall Street received twice as much in contributions from financial institutions compared with those who opposed them, according to an analysis of campaign finance records performed by MapLight, a nonprofit group.
The bill, in brief, is worse than meritless; it is a fraud. According to its Republican backers, it’s an expression in legislative form of how much they care for families, work-life balance and, in particular, working women. If this is caring, I would hate to see what contempt looks like.
The bill would amend long-standing labor law by allowing private-sector employers to offer compensatory time off in lieu of time-and-a-half pay for overtime. Employers and workers are supposed to agree on the arrangement, but there is nothing to stop an employer from discriminating against those who prefer payment by cutting back on their overtime hours. Nor would employers face any real deterrent against forcing unpaid overtime on workers who fear losing their jobs if they object. The recourse for coerced workers would be to sue, a far-fetched and unaffordable option for most people.
For employers, then, the bill is a way to impose extra work at no additional cost, effectively shifting what would otherwise be worker pay into corporate profits.
For employees who won’t work overtime without extra compensation, the likely result would be fewer hours and overall less pay. For those who will, the likely result would be greater unpredictability in scheduling, which only creates more work stress, as well as higher costs for work related expenses like child care, but with no additional money to meet those expenses.
Sincerely, Kevin Drum.
Drum goes on to point out how ineffective Schwarzeneggar’s term in office was, as if Arni could have changed it. Perhaps - but identifying elected executives to be at fault is an easy way to focus the attention/blame off the system and the parties responsible off of systemic flaws: everyone.
First, California has shot itself in the foot as to how revenue is raised. Over coming noise about either revenues or taxes is exceedingly difficult in California as it is in much of the developed world at present. Further, term limits have rendered the our legislative process ineffective. These are the fruits of the citizen’s tool to write it’s own legislation is manipulated and abused, thus sending government (think as a process, not a monolith) in an extreme, regressive / reactionary directions. Add that in to ideological intransigence that vilifies taxation, you’ve got a government that seems like a zombie to me.
If one still wants to blame anyone for Schwarzeneggar besides or in addition to Schwarzeneggar himself, blame the man who made it possible by starting the recall of Gray Davis, Schwarzennegar’s predecessor who was one the casualties of Enron’s manipulation of the energy (transmitted electricity) markets in 2000.