truthdig.com — What happened to all the tough talk from Congress and the White House early last year? Why is the financial reform agenda so small, and so late? Part of the answer is that the American public has moved on. A major tenet of U.S. politics is that if politicians wait long enough, public attention wanders. A larger explanation, I am afraid, is the grip Wall Street has over the American political process. The Street is where the money is and money buys campaign commercials on television. Wall Street firms and executives have been uniquely generous to both parties, emerging as one of the largest benefactors of the Democrats. Between November 2008 and November 2009, Wall Street doled out $42 million to lawmakers, mostly to members of the House and Senate banking committees and House and Senate leaders. In the first three quarters of 2009, the industry spent $344 million on lobbying — making the Street one of the major powerhouses in the nation’s capital.
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