Does a politician who represents Wall Street bankers and investors do right by them when he lets them get away with anything they want?
Or when he pushes them to do the right thing by America?
Maybe this will help:
Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion. *
-- Edmund Burke
Case in point, from Page One of today's Buffalo News
- Schumer gets tough on Wall Street - Jerry Zremski/The Buffalo News
WASHINGTON — Sen. Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat long known as the "senator from Wall Street," now is giving his biggest financial supporters some unwelcome tough love.
Schumer is not only a strong supporter of the financial reform bill working its way through the Senate, but also the author of some of its consumer-oriented provisions.
Privately, he has told his Wall Street contacts that the bill is likely to pass and that they better get used to the idea.
"We have close to 10 percent unemployment in Western New York, in part because Wall Street got away with too much, and it hurt Main Street; it hurt the average folks," Schumer explained in an interview, spelling out the need for reform.
To financial industry lobbyists, that's hard news coming from a politician who has raised nearly $8 million for himself and millions more for others from Wall Street executives over the years.
But Schumer called it necessary medicine for an industry that, while vital to the state, caused a worldwide economic crisis.
"When Wall Street's right, I'll side with them," he said. "When it's Wall Street versus financial institutions overseas, if it's jobs in New York, I'll side with them. But when they're wrong, I always go against them."
The question is, who is to say what's wrong? If you let Wall Street say it, without applying some serious independent judgment, you aren't helping it. Or us.
- What the financial reform bill would do - Buffalo News
- N.Y. senators support reforms despite donations - Brian Tulmuty/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
New York Democrats Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand rank No. 1 and No. 2 among members of Congress in donations from the securities and investment industry during the 2009-2010 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a watchdog group. Schumer has received $1.5 million and Gillibrand $639,000.
And Gillibrand is the top recipient of campaign cash from commercial banks, with $135,450 this cycle. Schumer is No. 3 with $80,700.
Those donations haven't kept the two from supporting tightened regulation of Wall Street. They reject the claim that some firms might move out of the country because the legislation could stifle capital markets.
- Which street are you on? - New York Magazine
- Democrats, Republicans just can't quit Wall Street money - Ezra Klein/Washington Post
- Today Is Just Not Chuck Schumer’s Day - Juli Weiner/Vanity Fair Daily
- Chris Dodd backs out of Wall St. fundraiser - Manu Raju/Politico
* I wish I could say I remember reading this. I don't. [You have to go past the song.]:
-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News