Jacob Lew: Another Brick in the Wall Street on the Potomac
Posted: 01/10/2013 9:45 am
The New York Times has just run two articles confirming that President Obama intends to appoint Jacob Lew as Treasury Secretary Geithner's replacement. Most people assume that Geithner is a creature of Wall Street through direct employment, but Geithner never drew a paycheck directly from Wall Street. Geithner worked for a wholly-controlled subsidiary of Wall Street -- the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Lew is the real deal, another brick in Obama's creation of Wall Street on the Potomac. While the first NYT article ignored Lew's work on Wall Street, the second article simply tries to minimize it.
Mr. Lew had a brief turn in the financial industry before joining the Obama administration four years ago, working at the financial giant Citicorp, first as managing director of Citi Global Wealth Management and then as chief operating officer of Citigroup Alternative Investments."Global Wealth Management" refers to banking services for the wealthiest people in the world, a club in which mere millionaires are barely worth having as a client. "Alternative investments" refers to financial derivatives traded for the bank's own account. Lew's training was as a lawyer. From CBS News:
Obama is clearly comfortable bringing another ex-Wall Streeter into an administration that, beyond a recent ratcheting up of populist rhetoric, has done relatively little to rein in the financial industry. That, in turn, reflects the ease with which Washington hands like Lew shuttle between the Street and the Hill. Case in point: Lew's predecessor as budget chief, Peter Orszag, left the agency and joined Citi as vice chairman of global banking. A job in politics is no longer a back-door to a lucrative job in banking -- it's a red carpet. The revolving door keeps spinning.
The Citi [alternative investments] division ultimately lost billions. As for Lew, he naturally made big bucks during his three-year stint at Citi, including a roughly $950,000 bonus in 2009 -- after the company's federal bailout.(More here.)