One of the things I’ve seen over 20 years working in corporate law has been the increasing complexity of transactions to the point that no one of the attorneys working on the deals even understands the entire deal. Incredibly complex, baroque even corporate structures are created to take advantage of tax laws. The CEOs are sold on the tax savings, but the legal fees for these deals are so astronomical that it’s hard to imagine they’re actually saving money.
The lawyers and the corporate executives get all chummy and clubby, after all many of them went to the same schools, live in the same neighborhoods, vacation in the same toney enclaves, send their kids to the same schools. They trust each other’s expert advice. In such cases, nobody really gets hurt except maybe the stockholders. But in government, that chumminess and trust between members of the same class can screw a lot of people.
One symptom of the takeover of the Democratic Party by the technocrats and professionals, like the executives and lawyers, is that there’s this trust in complexity that only the experts can fathom. Dodd Frank and Obamacare are perfect examples. Simpler alternatives were rejected for pages and pages of intricacy and mechanisms that the politicians can’t even explain. They’re relying on the experts to even know what they’re voting on. Experts are fine. necessary. But when you create legislation that chooses complexity over simplicity, do not be too surprised if the public bolts. Besides giving your opposition the ammunition to destroy you (the bill is thousands of pages!!), even your allies have trouble defending it all.
Bringing back Glass-Steagall was simple – separate commercial banks from their investment brokerage components and make them compete with each other. 22,000 pages of regulations and loopholes not necessary.
Single-payer or a public option were simple – government becomes the insurance company like Medicare. 10,000 pages and Rube Goldberg mechanisms not necessary.
Point being that the simpler solutions may have actually addressed our problems better from a policy standpoint AND from a political standpoint.
The complexity and mystification, trusting the “experts” to figure out answers that we can’t understand no less explain to the public in a sentence is part of what’s killing the Democratic Party electorally with the working class.
I’ve said that we have to admit where Bill Clinton sold out a lot of the natural Democratic constituency and hurt us electorally.
We also have to be able to admit that Obama made some very bad decisions regarding financial regulation and healthcare that continued the Clinton direction of making us look like we’re in bed with Wall Street and healthcare insurers and not fighting for people.
P.S. It occurs to me after reading this Nation critique of a new book about Andrew Jackson that certain factions in the party Jackson helped to found have completely done a 180 on trusting the bankers and financiers that Jackson found so revolting and undemocratic. Especially since 2008 it’s unwise to declare unconditional trust in the Wall Street moguls in public, and both Clintons and Obama talked a good game against them – but their actions, who they put in their cabinets, contradicted their words and evinced a dedication to those people that has not served us well. Trump, on the GOP side, has done the same exact thing. Dems are unequivocal in stating that Trump sold out his followers. Honesty dictates we need to be as clear in our thinking about our own avatars.