Who Owns Washington?
In the wake of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy in 2008, many were left wondering how the financial sector had become so integral to the world economy that its collapse could bring the economy to its knees. Writing for Mother Jones in 2010, Kevin Drum explores how the financial lobby grew into the most powerful lobby in Washington, and how that power persists even today:
This is a story about politics. It’s about how Congress and the president and the Federal Reserve were persuaded to let all this happen in the first place. In other words, it’s about the finance lobby—the people who, as Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) put it last April, even after nearly destroying the world are “still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”
But it’s also about something even bigger. It’s about the way that lobby—with the eager support of a resurgent conservative movement and a handful of powerful backers—was able to fundamentally change the way we think about the world. Call it a virus. Call it a meme. Call it the power of a big idea. Whatever you call it, for three decades they had us convinced that the success of the financial sector should be measured not by how well it provides financial services to actual consumers and corporations, but by how effectively financial firms make money for themselves. It sounds crazy when you put it that way, but stripped to its bones, that’s what they pulled off.
Read the full article here.
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Two years later and still painfully spot-on.