Eric Cantor, Dave Brat, Ted Cruz and too big to fail politics

Eric Cantor, Dave Brat, Ted Cruz and too big to fail politics

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WASHINGTON, August 3, 2014 — Former GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is in need of a job. Having lost his bid to remain the representative of Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, news reports indicate Cantor is looking for a position in high finance.

“There is no one he [Cantor] doesn’t know or legislation he hasn’t worked. But he also knows financial markets well,” new GOP House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told POLITICO. It was a very public job reference for Cantor.

Corporate headhunter Korn Ferry told POLITICO that Cantor could have “Wall Street, investment banks or private equity firms interested given his relevant talents.”

During the financial crisis of 2008, Cantor supported federal bailouts for the nations’ banks. New York Private Bank and Trust (NYPBT) was a beneficiary of Washington’s unprecedented liquidity infusions, which, as it turned out, helped Cantor’s wife. Diana Cantor ran a division of NYPBT’s Virginia Private Bank and Trust, which tailored services to its special, well-heeled clientele.

According to Open Secrets, Cantor’s top campaign contributors in 2013-2014 were security and investment firms, which donated a total of $784,650.

Cantor’s stance on immigration reform reflected the positions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. During a House immigration reform debate last January, Cantor said, “I have been a strong proponent of the Kids Act… because all of us can agree that we shouldn’t hold kids accountable for the misdeeds or illegal acts of their parents.”

Today, nearly 40,000 kids stream across the U.S. border each month; a growing pool of future low-wage workers for Chamber of Commerce members.

Victorious underdog Republican challenger, Dave Brat, attacked Cantor’s close ties to Wall Street speculators he said “broke the financial system.”

“Instead of going to jail, where did they go?” asked Brat. “They went to Eric Cantor’s Rolodex.”

In a Richmond, Virginia, press conference, Brat asked, “Has Cantor ever lifted a finger to stand up for American workers that have been hurt by the Obama administration’s lawlessness and refusal to secure the border? Eric Cantor represents large corporations who want a never-ending supply of cheap, low-wage, foreign labor.”

Brat’s establishment GOP critics accused him of employing the populist, anti-business rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street, which they fear could force U.S. Chamber of Commerce money into Democratic campaign war chests.

News reports indicate the US Chamber of Commerce is ready to throw its considerable financial weight behind Louisiana’s embattled Democratic Senate incumbent Mary Landrieu.

“No other Democratic senator has been as reliable a supporter of legislation backed by business interests as Ms. Landrieu,” said the Wall Street Journal. “According to a vote scorecard from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, she votes more often for pro-business legislation than Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.”

No friend of crony capitalism, Sen. Cruz railed against the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank in a USA Today op-ed, describing it as “big businesses’ big-government bank backed by U.S. taxpayers.”

“There’s nothing inherently wrong with big business,” Cruz continued, “and President Obama is wrong to constantly demagogue them – but they don’t need special handouts from government. Especially when the government favors hurt other U.S. businesses and jeopardize American jobs.”

The financial crash of 2008 marked the failure of government intervention in the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies, coupled with Congressional backing for mortgage giant Fannie Mae’s sub-prime lending, and the securitization of toxic debt, triggered a disintegration of the 1944 Bretton Woods international financial system.

Government stimulus spending and bank bailouts were designed to build upon the ruins made of economist John Maynard Keynes’ global Rube Goldberg contraption.

Instead, unemployment remains high and economic growth sluggish. Crony capitalism, therefore, expresses the big business belief that financial survival rests upon government cash infusions and partnerships. Big government, plus big business, equals too big to fail.

Tea Party populism is in no way similar to the aims expressed by the Occupy movement, but a call for the restoration of economic equilibrium imposed by a free market – in which failure is always a possibility.

Should Eric Cantor end up working for a private equity firm, it will prove “too big to fail” now applies to American politics. And Eric Cantor’s electoral loss may be crony capitalist Wall Street’s gain.

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