Why should we not be surprised about the fact Wall Street is now the largest contributor to the Bush Reelection campaign, despite the "tough new enforcement initiatives" announced to reform the financial services industry by President Bush in April 2003? Because, true to form, the Bush reforms are without teeth and the actual implementation has been lax. President Bush tells individual investors, who gave up about $2.1 trillion in market value after the corporate scandals of 2001 - 2002.
Contrast this language, offered by President Bush in April:
The misdeeds now being uncovered in some quarters of corporate America are threatening the financial well-being of many workers and many investors. At this moment, America's greatest economic need is higher ethical standards -- standards enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders....
We've learned of some business leaders obstructing justice, and misleading clients, falsifying records, business executives breaching the trust and abusing power. We've learned of CEOs earning tens of millions of dollars in bonuses just before their companies go bankrupt, leaving employees and retirees and investors to suffer. The business pages of American newspapers should not read like a scandal sheet.....
With these campaign contributions, from a financial industry that is experiencing double- and triple-digit growth in compensation (which is scandalous, given the continuing layoffs across the economy, not to mention continued paring on Wall Street):
A study to be released today shows that the financial community has surpassed all other groups, including lawyers and lobbyists, as the top industry among Mr. Bush's elite fund-raisers. The list of those generating $100,000 and $200,000 now includes chief executives like Henry M. Paulson of Goldman Sachs, John J. Mack of Credit Suisse First Boston and Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch , whose firm has already raised twice the amount for Mr. Bush's re-election that it did during the entire 2000 campaign cycle....
The 2004 election is still more than a year away, but employees of securities and investment firms and their political action committees have contributed $3.8 million to the Bush campaign through September, just $159,000 less than they gave during the entire campaign cycle in 2000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance.
The president has raised more from the industry than all nine candidates in the Democratic field combined. While Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts counts the industry as his second-largest contributor, at about $1 million through September, others have not done as well. Howard Dean, the top fund-raiser in the field, raised about $302,000, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut raised about $639,00
While Wall Street executives say they are contributing because "President Bush is doing the right thing for the American people," the evidence of economic performance and increasing distrust and anger toward the United States internationally doesn't support the argument. The tangible results of the president's economic and foreign policy don't bear any improvements for Americans -- yes, we're more scared, but we are less prosperous and less secure than we might have been if President Bush had not lied repeatedly about the justifications for the war in Iraq.
All things being equal, the simplest explanation is that, having lined the pockets of Wall Streeters, President Bush is harvesting the resulting contributions.