Tuesday, April 03, 2012

No Problem To Sign

"How," asks a wise commenter on firedogake.com, can he sign this bill, yet get credit for signing Dodd-Frank(as weak as this is)?"

President Obama has promised to sign on Thursday the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act which includes, as described by Bloomberg, "measures that would among other things undo a ban on closely held firms soliciting investments, increase the number of investors such firms can have and exempt newly public companies with less than $1 billion in revenue from some reporting requirements of the Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley laws."       The people who watch the industry understand the implications.    Former SEC chief accountant Lynn E. Turner had warned "It won’t create jobs, but it will simplify fraud.     This would be better known as the bucket-shop and penny-stock fraud reauthorization act of 2012."     A statement released by the spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated chairman Mary Schapiro  “believes that portions of the legislation either unnecessarily eliminate important investor protections or are not balanced with sufficient safeguards."    

As a measure which would undermine Dodd-Frank, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act excited Republicans, pleased President Obama, and delighted Senator Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street).  

But there are other reasons Barack Obama would sign the bill, even beyond the clever acronym JOBS Act, which makes it somewhat difficult to oppose, given the willingness of the media to mischaracterize it as an actual measure to create jobs.     (It would be far more politically palatable to oppose it as the "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act," and far easier than saying it ten times fast.)       One clue may be in the numerous websites, a few set up since almost before Obama became President, cataloging his "accomplishments."    

Here is one only recently listing fifty (50).      It in turn links to one established two years earlier, which lists ninety (90) alleged accomplishments, including the awesome "held first Seder in the White House," "has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform," "has announced his intention to push for energy reform," and "has announced his intention to push for education reform."    

The cynical among us might question how announcing an intention is an accomplishment and those paying attention might want to note that the Obama-Duncan education reform scheme is one meant to undermine the public school system.      Still, promulgating such lists are a tactic for pushing the idea that a chief executive, any manager, has done things.They may be discontinued, as in cash-for-clunkers and tax write-offs for purchase of hybrid vehicles; grossly inadequate, as in a "housing rescue plan;" or obscenely misleading, as in "respecting the Freedom of Information Act.    Or the alleged accomplishment could be mere means toward an end, as in "visited more countries and met with more world leaders..."Nevertheless, they can be catalogued, however disingenuously, as "accomplishments."

President Obama can, and will, sign the bill, moreover, because that's what he does:    sign bills.      According to wikipedia (which is usually up-to-date), our current president has vetoed two (2) bills.    Two bills- compared to 12 by Bush/43, 37 by Clinton, 44 by Bush/41, and 78 by Ronald (6) Wilson (6) Reagan (6).    It would be too much to quip that Barack Obama has never met a legislative measure he didn't like- but not by much.

But, inadvertently, House Majority Leader Cantor said it best.    "What we're trying to do," he explained, "is regain the confidence of the people that sent us here."      They sent the economy hurtling toward destruction, bankrolled Obama's candidacy, then switched their allegiance to GOP congressional candidates and now Mitt Romney.    What Dick Durbin said in 2009 about the banks applies now to the financial industry generally:     "hard to believe in a time when we're facing a banking crisis that many of the banks created -- are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place."

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