April 7, 2012
On April 5, as expected, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act).
Again, America's 99% was betrayed. Overwhelming bipartisan House and Senate support backed the measure. The bill does nothing to create jobs. It facilitates greater fraud. America's race to the bottom continues.
Wall Street's again celebrating, and why not. Only bankers could love this type bill. They had to. They wrote it. It opens greater avenues for grand theft.
The SEC long ago abandoned its regulatory mandate. Under financial industry insider Mary Schapiro, it's in safe hands. Her job just got easier. The bill eliminates SEC reporting requirements for enterprises with annual revenues up to $1 billion.
The implications are obvious. Not only will big fish steal freely, so will smaller ones.
The measure also makes it easier for companies to raise oversight-free capital online. They can have up to 1,000 investors without providing the SEC financial data. In addition, they can solicit them more freely. It's similar to how drug giants promote toxic products. Users have no idea what they're getting.
Former bank regulator/financial fraud expert Bill Black called the measure "insane on many levels. It creates an extraordinarily criminogenic environment in which securities fraud will become even more out of control."
Leading up to passage, back room dealmaking ignored expert anti-fraud input. The best, brightest, and most honest independent analysts unanimously condemned the bill. Black calls it "the sick face of crony capitalism."
Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" called Goldman Sachs "a great vampire squid wrapped around the fact of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells money."
In fact, it's much worse. Wall Street and other FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) giants together comprise the GREATEST "vampire squid." They're all the stronger by Washington's complicit role.
Their business model is grand theft. They're crime families, not legitimate enterprises. They make money by stealing it. They wreck economies, communities, and households. Corrupt politicians let them. They're bribed to go along. As bad as things are, they're getting worse.
On April 5, The New York Times headlined, "Obama Signs Bill to Promote Start-Up Investments," saying:
Surrounded by complicit lawmakers and industry crooks, Obama signed the JOBS Act. He called it a "potential game changer." The Times article went along with the charade. It quoted him saying:
"For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in."
"Our economy has begun to turn a corner, but we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of Americans out there who are looking for a job or looking for a job that pays better than the one that they’ve got."
Unexplained was that 25 million are unemployed. Millions more are underemployed.
The real unemployment rate's about 22.5%, not the fake 8.2% figure. The economy's dead. Main Street's in a protracted Depression. Force-fed austerity worsens it. Poverty or households approaching it's at record levels.
Millions are suffering. Political Washington's indifferent. No matter. Friday was a day for "celebrating a rare bipartisan achievement on legislation that had been pushed by Republicans and embraced by Mr. Obama in his (January) State of the Union address."
House majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said:
"I hope it represents the kind of bipartisan work that we can accomplish here in Washington over the next few months. We have a very difficult economic situation still. We are nowhere near out of the woods."
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called the bill a "key part of the Republican jobs plan," adding:
It's "good news for entrepreneurs and aspiring small businesspeople struggling to overcome government barriers to job creation."
"The House will continue to lead the way on jobs, and with help from President Obama and Senate Democrats, we can get these things done for the people we serve and the country we love."
It's "good news" all right, but not for long-suffering households. This measure increases their torrent. It does nothing to alleviate it. As expected, Obama went along. Imagine conditions ahead if he's reelected.
Imagine them under either party. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Presidents serve as titular heads. They either go along or get replaced by someone who will.
Wars without end continue. Bankers and other financial giants steal freely. When overreach, they're bailed out. America's 99% is left out and betrayed. Bad as things are now, expect worse.
Money power in private hands runs America. Whatever it wants it gets. People have no say. Exploiting them is policy. America's wealth gap is unprecedented. Young people once had futures. No longer.
Nonetheless, a White House Office of the Press Secretary statement said:
"On Thursday, April 5, 2012, the President signed into law:
H.R. 3606, the 'Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act,' which provides for Federal securities law exemptions intended to ease access to capital and investments for emerging growth companies and through crowdfunding."
A same day White House blog Federal Chief Information Officer commentary headlined, "The JOBS Act: Encouraging Startups, Supporting Small Businesses," saying:
Obama agreed to greater deregulatory easing. It's intended to create jobs. "Not only will this help small businesses and high-growth enterprises raise capital more efficiently, but it will also allow small and young firms to expand and hire faster."
"(T)his bill is a win-win for small businesses, for the economy, and for the American people."
The bill destroys jobs. It doesn't create them, except for greater numbers of scam artists wanting in on the take. Only Wall Street and other corporate crooks benefit, and why not. They wrote the bill and all others pertaining to them. It perpetuates a corrupted, dysfunctional system heading America for banana republic status in its worst sense.
A Final Comment
The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) calls its roll "Putting Investors First," saying:
"NASAA members have protected Main Street investors from fraud for 100 years."
"More than 100 million investors rely on regulators to keep our nation’s markets well policed and cannot afford any weakening of this successful and complementary regulatory system. NASAA members work within your state government(s) to protect investors and help maintain the integrity of the securities industry...."
Commenting on the JOBS Act and overall conditions today, NASAA president Jack Herstein said:
"In 2004, the Bush Administration preempted numerous state consumer financial protection laws in order to facilitate greater 'financial innovation,’ especially in mortgage lending. Most of us remember how (badly) that experiment ended, but it seems that Congress has already forgotten."
He added that the JOBS Act creates "new jobs for promoters of Internet investment scams."
Other critics were also vocal. Americans for Financial Reform (AFR) executive director Lisa Donner said:
"We are deeply disappointed by the Senate passage of the so called 'JOBS Act.' With the country still suffering from high unemployment and hard times in the wake of the financial crisis, it is almost unbelievable that the (House and) Senate would rush passage of measures that will undermine transparency and accountability in the capital markets, and expose our families to a new round of fraud and abuse."
Prior to the bill's passage, AFR and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) wrote congressional members:
We "urge you to vote NO on final passage of the JOBS Act. This bill will harm investors, harm the capital markets, and harm the overall health of the economy." Enacting it assures "damaging new investment frauds."
"Unions oppose the bill because it endangers workers’ retirement savings and will not increase jobs. And IPO experts oppose the bill because it will not even deliver its promised increase in small company IPOs....We urge you to vote no."
Their view and similar ones got nowhere, especially with Obama on board all along. The bill's now law. Friday night, champagne flowed freely on Wall Street.
Another win for criminal fraud and abuse! Another crushing blow for America's 99%, and more reason for world revolution as the only solution! There's no other way!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.