By Brent Budowsky - 11/02/09 09:42 PM EST
The conservative base threatens insider Republicans. Unrest spreads among the Democratic base about Democrats who are high-profile, low-courage, and possess no fight for real transforming change. Independents lose faith in them all. The contagion of anti-Washington sentiment reaches pandemic proportion.
The voters are not stupid. The voters are not happy. The politicians do not listen.
America has ended a rip-off recession and entered a rip-off recovery that is a Depression for many Americans and a life of deep worry and genuine trepidation for many others. Soon the jobless rate will reach 10 percent, a politically explosive moment. Americans know the real jobless rate is much higher.
Voters are gouged by gasoline prices that are rising again. They are gouged by banks that raise their interest rates and increase their fees with lending practices worthy of “The Godfather” under a law the president and Congress falsely claimed would protect them.
Voters are gouged by insurance premiums that rocket to the skies. They worry (correctly) that premiums will soar even higher after the current bill is enacted. Even a lobotomized public option that voters strongly support is squeezed between a president who does not really support it, insurance lobbyists who try to kill it and a Congress drenched in special interest money.
Voters are not stupid. They know they paid a king’s ransom to bail out banks that treat them like they are serfs in feudal England, pay themselves titanic rewards for it and grease palms in Washington with legal bribery called campaign donations.
The fix is in. The word is out. The voters are not happy. They know that nothing has changed. They know that pain has risen in their lives while the president claims credit for doing little. The Republicans claim credit for doing nothing. Big donors are promised secret access to high-level officials in a town that has no shame and will not change.
Real wages continue their 20-year decline. Wall Street compensation reaches all-time highs. Foreclosures continue to mount. The president and Congress do nothing to stop it. Many homeowners fear they will be next. All suffer as the value of their homes decline.
Nothing has changed in Washington. Money talks and the public interest walks. Nothing has changed on Wall Street. Speculators reign while taxpayers pay. Nothing has changed on Main Street. Eloquent speeches do not stop the pain, worry or truth that the John and Jane Does of America are still being scammed.
The fix is in. The word is out. The jig is up. The voters are not stupid. The people are not happy. Washington would be well-advised to listen.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at email@example.com.