March 30, 2012

At Banking Event, Senator-Turned-Lobbyist Evan Bayh Echoes Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” Says Crisis is the Only Way to Make “Progress”

At Banking Event, Senator-Turned-Lobbyist Evan Bayh Echoes Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," Says Crisis is the Only Way to Make "Progress"
Former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Bayh now works on several lobbying campaigns on behalf of corporate interests.
Ex-Senator Evan Bayh, a lobbyist for financial services industry firms like VISA (as well as many other corporate interests), spoke at an industry event late last year to give his thoughts on the political dynamic in the US.  What he said could be lifted straight out of Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine”, whose thesis is that political elites use crisis moments to create structural change.  Here’s Bayh, according to an account in an industry newsletter:

At a recent industry event, former Senator Evan Bayh provided an update on the banking industry as it relates to the U.S. economy. He expects that recovery from the past three or four years of economic sluggishness will begin to improve, but it will not be a speedy recovery. He cited personal consumption, capital investment, exports and government as the key building blocks to economic improvement, but noted that these underlying agents for growth in our economy are going to be anemic for a long time, ushering in a period of fiscal austerity.

In Bayh’s opinion, the best way to solve a fiscal problem is through rapid growth, which is unlikely to happen in today’s economy. He noted that slower economic growth and financial austerity at the federal level will lead to increased political volatility, and since each party is at odds with the other, finding the middle ground, where progress is usually made, is more difficult. Such intense opposition leads to decision-making gridlock, and progress is only made when there is a crisis, such as the debt ceiling or spiking interest rates.

A Senator turned financial services lobbyist is arguing that “progress” can only happen when there is a crisis.  So that’s what corruption brings forth – crisis.