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Saturday, December 12, 2009


Barack Obama and Wall Street

Selling us Down the River

 Another strong statement from the eloquent one.  The headline of an item in Marketwatch.com  reads "Obama blasts Wall Street for economic crisis".

By Jonathan Burton, MarketWatch SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- President Barack Obama blasted Wall Street for worsening the economy's downturn and promised to make financial markets more transparent and accountable.

In his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, the president applauded the House of Representatives for passing sweeping financial reform legislation and said the economy is recovering from the "irresponsibility" of Wall Street firms that "gambled on risky loans and complex financial products, seeking short-term profits and big bonuses."

It was "risk management without the management," Obama said. "Their actions, in the absence of strong oversight, intensified the cycle of bubble-and-bust and led to a financial crisis that threatened to bring down the entire economy."

Obama also blamed an "era of easy credit" for some of the excesses. "Millions of Americans borrowed beyond their means, bought homes they couldn't afford, and assumed that housing prices would always rise and the day of reckoning would never come," he said.

"It was a disaster that could have been avoided if we'd had clearer rules of the road for Wall Street and actually enforced them," the president said.

But somehow it does not cause excitement; does not stir hopes for stopping questionable practices on Wall Street.  Since Obama became president we heard many such statements on various issues and nothing happened.  The House has passed a bill.  The problem is getting it through the Senate.  Is he going to fight to get a meaningful bill through the Senate or are we going to see another copout as he builds consensus and yields ground until the bill becomes a mockery of his words.

"Then he got elected"

Obama's Big Sellout - Matt Tabibi in RollingStones.com:
Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it's not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.
Then he got elected.
What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside.
According to the the latest Rasmussen Reports (December 13), 23% of voters "strongly approve" his performance while 42% "strongly disapprove".  Support for members of Congress continues to remain low. If the current trend continues then in 2010 the Democrats would lose a number of seats in both House and Senate.

And Sarah Palin still remains a favorite of a large number of conservative Republicans.  Come 2012 we could see her as a presidential contender.  It would be funny if it were not for the stakes involved. So, those of us who have lost our enthusiasm for Barack Obama will again vote for him simply because the alternative would be much worse.  Depressing.


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