February 12th, 2008 by Edward Miller

In the 1980s, the Savings and Loan Crisis hit our nation. John Kenneth Galbraith called it, “the largest and costliest venture in public misfeasance, malfeasance and larceny of all time.” It cost our nation hundreds of billions of dollars because of immoral and illegal activity by financial corporations, and the result was the most massive corporate bailout in history. In the end, our government handed over 120 billion dollars to the corporate criminals who orchestrated this financial disaster and their creditors, a despicable form of corporate welfare.

Most don’t remember that John McCain was one of the Keating Five, and a key player in the Savings and Loan Crisis. McCain’s senatorial campaign was funded hundreds of thousands of dollars by Charles Keating, an ultra-rich and ultra-conservative banker who ran the largest Savings and Loan Association, Lincoln Savings. As a result of misguided deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry, corporate fraud in this industry skyrocketed. Keating’s organization was able to single-handedly defraud people, mostly the elderly, of billions of dollars. Thanks to his good friend John McCain and other friends in congress, he was able to evade investigation and generally skirt the law. Thanks to further corruption of our legislative branch, Keating’s organization alone was bailed out to the tune of 3 billion dollars.

We can look to the culture of corruption built by people like McCain as the direct cause of our current financial crisis that we are now in the midst of, the eerily similar Subprime Mortgage Crisis.

Granted, I do commend McCain for working with Russell Feingold on the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, however this law is very limited and I remain thoroughly unconvinced of his commitment to battling corruption. Does anyone honestly feel hopeful that John McCain, a key player in fomenting the biggest financial corruption scandal in US history, would make any substantive progress in combating the fraud that has been continuously causing so much damage? Indeed, it is more than likely he would perpetuate, if not worsen, the current situation.

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