Thursday, April 09, 2009

Obama: Stop protecting Wall Street bankers from Main Street

The president needs to stop shielding financial executives from the pitchfork-wielding public.

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship
Salon.com

Apr. 09, 2009 |

A cartoon in the Sunday comics shows that mustachioed fellow with monocle and top hat from the Monopoly game -- "Rich Uncle Pennybags," he used to be called -- standing along the roadside, destitute, holding a sign: "Will blame poor people for food."

Time to move the blame to where it really belongs. That means no more coddling banks with bailout billions marked "secret." No more allowing their executives lavish bonuses and new corporate jets as if they've won the megalottery and not sent the economy down the tubes. And no more apostles of Wall Street calling the shots.

Which brings us to Larry Summers. Over the weekend, the White House released financial disclosure reports revealing that Summers, director of the National Economic Council, received $5.2 million last year working for a $30 billion hedge fund. He made another $2.7 million in lecture fees, including cash from such recent beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity as Citigroup, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. The now defunct financial services giant Lehman Brothers handsomely purchased his pearls of wisdom, too.

Reading stories about Summers and Wall Street you realize the man was intoxicated by the exotic witches' brew of derivatives and other financial legerdemain that got us into such a fine mess in the first place. Yet here he is, serving as gatekeeper of the information and analysis going to President Obama on the current collapse.

(More here.)

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