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Why is our government continuing its coddling and supporting of bankers, investors, and others who crashed the world economy? Sometimes, it actually seems like Barack Obama's approach towards the banks is the same as his approach towards Republicans: assume that they will negotiate in good faith by seeking reasonable compromises on methods of achieving common goals. Instead, every time the reality is that they have no interest in negotiation of any sort because they reject the goals entirely. Rather than a give-and-take on methods, their approach is to insist that they be given everything they want and screw everyone else.
To cite just one example of the Republicans doing this, there was the "stimulus" bill which the Republicans rejected entirely — instead of trying to compromise on some specific tactics, they wanted to dump the entire philosophy behind the bill in favor of massive tax cuts. It was their position that their electoral losses and shattered economy weren't signs that their traditional tactic of tax cuts might be either mistaken or rejected by the voters.
They wanted everything done their way and, when they didn't get it, refused to play along at all. Had it been possible for this to actually matter, the effect would have been to screw over the vast majority of the American public: let the working and middle classes lose their jobs, lose their homes, and lose whatever confidence they might be able to have for the future. The wealthy, though, would have been able to accumulate an even larger share of the ever-shrinking economy.
To cite a recent example from the financial industry, we have Chrysler going into bankruptcy because hedge funds refused to do what everyone else was doing: accept a lower return on investments so that Chrysler might survive. They want everything and refuse to accept that their investments could possibly have come with a risk of loss, so while everyone else is taking a loss — including workers — the hedge funds have forced Chrysler to go to bankruptcy court where they stand a good chance of getting more than everyone else.
They consider themselves special, with no need to contribute to the collective sacrifices others are making. They insist on "getting theirs," and if this means that others must suffer — like for example a massive loss of jobs due to Chrysler going under completely — that just doesn't matter. As a result, they would be able to also accumulate a larger share of the shrinking economy — an economy that's shrinking in large part because of their decisions.
It's hard to believe that these two groups aren't really one and the same. These are all people who regard themselves as uniquely privileged — not merely lucky, but in fact deserving of all that they have and of course deserving of much, much more. One corollary of this attitude is that those who have lost much and who are struggling must also deserve what has happened to them. During more religious times such circumstances were perceived as signs of God's favor or disfavor; among more secular libertarians today, it's all perceived as signs of hard work, skill, creativity, etc. Whatever happens, happens because it's supposed to — luck, race, gender, etc. play no role whatsoever.
The more privileged a person is, the easier it is for them to focus solely on their own narrow circumstances, taking each event as if it were isolated from everything else in society. They don't have to pay any attention to larger patterns in society or even just in individual institutions. They don't have to think about the ways in which these patterns might make life easier for some and harder for others.
Thus their superior social and political positions are retroactively justified — or just rationalized — by some sort of innate moral, ethical, or psychological superiority. It's little wonder that they feel the need to continue earning large amounts of money despite their failures. Their earlier success at earning lots of money may have been the basis for concluding their own innate superiority, but this latter belief has become an independent principle which is now used to justify why they should continue getting lots of money regardless of performance. Failure is certainly not used to conclude that they are inferior in the same ways they concluded everyone else was.
So once again, why is the Obama administration coddling the delusions of these people by rewarding their failures? Perhaps because so many people in the administration have long been part of this deluded banking and corporate culture. The entire Washington, D.C. scene has become insular and incestuous, disconnected from the life of people elsewhere in the nation. People move between lobbying firms, banks, investment firms, corporate boards, and "elected" office like they are simply moving from one corner office to another, all in the same company but just changing job title.
How much has changed, really?