By: Eric Wattree
Am I the only one becoming nauseous over the Republican Party’s claim that they’re the party of fiscal responsibility? And what about their claim that they’re the only ones qualified to save the American middle class, or that they’re the nation’s job creators, and that they have a plan to rebuild our economy?
Well, since we don’t want to go back and forth with a lot of partisan bickering over this issue, let’s just take a brief look at the Republican resume. A cursory look at the facts will tell the true story. Due to the freewheeling fiscal policies of conservative Republicans, between 1986 and 1989, spanning the presidencies of Reagan and Bush Sr., the FSLIC had to pay off all the depositors of 296 institutions with assets of over $125 billion.
Then in 1988 Silverado Savings and Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $1.3 billion. It was headed by Neil Bush, brother of George W. The investigation indicated that Bush was guilty of “breaches of his fiduciary duties involving multiple conflicts of interest.” The issue was eventually settled out of court with Bush paying a mere $50,000 settlement.
Then there was the Lincoln Savings and loan scandal in 1987, involving John McCain. The scandal was very similar to the one that is currently playing out on Wall Street. He was one of a group of senators dubbed “The Keating Five” involved in a scandal by the same name. In 1976 Charles Keating moved to Arizona to run the American Continental Corporation. In 1984, shortly after the Reagan era push to deregulate the savings and loan community, Keating bought Lincoln Savings and Loan and began to engage in highly risky investments with the depositors’ savings. In 1989 the parent company, which Keating headed, went bankrupt, and it resulted in over 21,000 investors losing their life savings. Most of the investors were elderly, and the loss amounted to about 285 million dollars.
After having received over a million dollars from Keating in illegal campaign contributions, gifts, free trips, and other gratuities, the Keating Five–Senators John Glenn, Don Riegle, Dennis DeConini, Alan Cranston, and Sen. John McCain–attempted to intervene in the investigation into Keating’s activities by the regulators. Later, they were admonished to varying degrees by the senate for attempting to influence regulators on Keating’s behalf. Charles Keating ended up being convicted for fraud, racketeering and conspiracy, for which he received 10 years by the state court, and a 12 year sentence in federal court. After spending four and a half years in prison, his convictions were overturned. But prior to being retried, he pled guilty to a number of felonies in return for a sentence of time served.
So we mustn’t allow ourselves to be blinded by the GOP’s incendiary political rhetoric. Just take a moment to ask yourself, who was the last Republican president who DIDN’T drag America under a bus? If you answer that question truthfully, objectively, and honestly, it will become immediately clear that entrusting this government and economy to the Republican Party would be like entrusting our children to convicted child molesters. The Republican congress ran in the 2010 election on the claim that their number one priority was bringing economic relief, and creating jobs for the American people. As of June of 2012, here is a list of what they’ve done in that regard: 44 bills on Abortion, 99 on Religion, 71 on Family Relationship, 36 on Marriage, 67 on Firearms/Gun Control, 522 on Taxation and 445 on Gov’t. Investigations and Zero on Job Creation.
Eric Wattree is a columnist for The Los Angeles Sentinel, Black Star News.