Does Barack Obama think he can stop the collapse of an economic system by throwing money at it? That’s what he’s doing in massive amounts, in stimulus packages, budgets and bailouts, and it’s our money.
It seems to be having little effect. With job losses at the rate of 600,000 per month, 660,000 last month, the economy is slip-slidin’ toward a 1930s type depression.
The official unemployment rate is now 8.5% but, according to economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland, the real unemployment rate is closer to 17% when discouraged adults who have left the labor force and part-time workers are factored in.
A total of 5.1 million jobs have gone AWOL since December 2007.
After the public outrage generated by the AIG bailout and bonus give-a-way, a rational human being would think the administration wouldn’t let it happen again, but it has. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the quasi-government mortgage providers, who had two heavy hands in creating the crisis, are now giving themselves bonuses, too.
According to The Wall Street Journal, 7,600 employees will be getting $210 million in “retention” bonuses for their incompetence. The maximum retention bonus for any individual executive will be $1.5 million.
Any wonder capitalism is having heart failure?
With the economy in this fatal condition, the banks tottering, the auto industry on the ropes, financial disclosures, this week, reveal to what extent the Obama Administration is a tool of Wall Street.
Obama has no compunctions about using taxpayer money to buy up toxic assets and taking the heat off hedge funds.
The Administration’s Auto Task Force, rejecting the recovery plans of Chrysler and General Motors, has put heightened pressure on the industry to hammer the auto workers union, force brutal cuts on wages, benefits and pensions.
Even more scurrilous are Obama’s repeated assurances to Wall Street that he will slash social spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
It’s out in the open, now–top Obama advisors directly involved in setting these policies, have received millions from Wall Street firms, including those that have received huge taxpayer bailouts.
Lawrence Summers, Obama’s top economic advisor, a glaring example, pocketed $5 million as a managing director of D.E. Shaw, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, and another $2.7 million for speeches delivered to Wall Street firms that have received government bailout money. This includes $45,000 from Citigroup and $67,500 each from JPMorgan Chase and the now-liquidated Lehman Brothers. Last year, Summers walked away with $135,000 for a speech to Goldman Sachs executives.
The New York Times noted Saturday (4-4-09) “Mr. Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, wields important influence over Mr. Obama’s policy decisions for the troubled financial industry, including firms from which he recently received payments.”
Any conflict of interest here?
It’s no secret that Summers was a leading advocate of banking deregulation. The Times article notes that among his current responsibilities is deciding “whether–and how–to tighten regulation of hedge funds.”
Summers is not an exception. He’s typical of the Wall Street insiders who make up the White House team, filled with multi-millionaires, presided over by a president who parlayed his own political career into a multi-million-dollar fortune, according to investigative reporter, Tom Eley.
There is Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, who worked for Citigroup and received more than $7.4 million from the bank from January of 2008 until he entered the Obama administration this year. This included a $2.25 million year-end bonus handed him this past January, within weeks of his joining the Obama administration. Citigroup has thus far been the beneficiary of $45 billion in cash and over $300 billion in government guarantees of its bad debts. Can this be called “quid pro quo”?
David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, was paid $1.55 million last year from two consulting firms he controls. He has agreed to buyouts that will garner him another $3 million over the next five years. His disclosure claims personal assets of between $7 and $10 million.
Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, was paid $3.9 million by a Washington law firm whose major clients include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the private equity firm Apollo Management.
Donilon worked as Executive Vice President for Law and Policy at Fannie Mae. The Washington Times reported that Donilon made millions for work that included supervising Fannie Mae’s lobbying against increased regulation.
Another member of the gang, Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, made $227,155 last year from IndyMac Bancorp, the California bank that heavily promoted subprime mortgages. It collapsed last summer and was placed under federal receivership.
And that’s not all.
Multi-millionaire Wall Street insiders populate second and third-tier positions in the Obama administration as well.
David Stevens, tapped by Obama to head the Federal Housing Administration, is the president of a real estate brokerage firm. From 1999 to 2005 Stevens served as a top executive for Freddie Mac.
Neal Wolin, Obama’s deputy counsel for economic policy, is a top executive at the insurance giant Hartford Financial Services, where his salary was $4.5 million.
The story goes on…
Are you shocked–shocked!
A parallel set of characters can be found in the war, excuse me, defense department, lined up in the cabinet.
Remember “Change you can believe in!”
From the start, Obama played the populist, critic of the war in Iraq and won over a youth and liberal base, all the while being backed by the oligarchy with massive campaign funds.
So, where are you taking us with this gang, Mr. Obama?