President Obama Puts Wall Street On Notice
With characteristic calm and moderate language “No Drama” Obama came to the Great Hall at Cooper Union and put Wall street on notice. The freewheeling days when shady sharpies were allowed to shoot craps with billions of dollars of other peoples money on “The Street” while so-called regulators over at the Securities and Exchange Commission – whose raison d’ etre was to protect the interests of investors – spent thousands of hours watching porn movies according to the results of an investigation reported on ABC Evening News today – are over. “I believe in the power of the free market, said the President…“but the free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get however you can get it!”
While critics on the left and right will find President Obama’s position unsatisfactory – the right thinks he’s a socialist while the left views him as a capitalist stooge – Wall Street bankers wish he would go away and let them alone. This was evident from the absence of major Wall Street players like CEOs Jamie Diamond of J. P. Morgan Chase and the President of Citi-Group Vikram Pandit, whose bank made 4.4 Billion in profits after paying off preferred dividends this year. Clearly Citigroup, who lost 696 million dollars last year, has had a spectacular recovery. Morgan Chase also posted a profit this year.
Yet it is a measure of Wall Street’s loss of esteem that both of these CEO’s are being spurned as robber barons that betray the public interests and imperil their economic future by members of the graduating classes at Syracuse and Colombia, where the administrations have invited them to deliver commencement addresses over student protests. A big exception to the CEO no-show was Lloyd Blankfien of Goldman Sachs – scheduled to receive up to $100 million in bonuses this year – whose company is facing a major fraud investigation by the SEC.
Financial shark who snubbed the Prez
Since BAM refused to flagellate the Wall Street bandits with the kind of caustic rhetoric Employed by Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression – or Teddy Roosevelt back at the turn of the twentieth century – the attitudes of many on Wall Street toward the rather modest reforms proposed by the president is baffling. It is compelling evidence of their unrepentant arrogance. Although the previous Presidents hailed from the ruling class, they excoriated the bankers and branded them with labels like “Economic Royalist.” But President Obama, encircled by Republican reactionaries and the howling untutored racist mob whose anger they have skillfully manufactured, is determined to get the basic provisions of his bill passed rather than get his rocks off hurling invective at the investment bankers. This President really keeps his eyes on the prize and is totally results oriented!
A Wall Street Titan Once Praised by Obama
While this bill will certainly increase transparency and expose shady practices that have heretofore been carried out behind closed doors, while making it harder for banks to behave like Atlantic City casinos, skeptics remain concerned that such exotic financial schemes as credit default swaps and derivatives are still allowed to remain legal. These Wall Street practices were at the heart of the near financial disaster we just barely escaped; thus there is sufficient reason for concern that they are still with us. However President Obama major goals for the regulatory legislation he is shepherding through Congress: Transparency, protecting the investor, and ending banks that are too big to fail are all positive moves in the right direction.
Clearly the objective of this speech was not to chastise the scoundrels on Wall Street, but to simply denounce the reckless practices that nearly took us all down the tubes, promote his bill to stop them and prevent a repeat of the recent panic, and force the Republicans to declare whether the stand with the people or remain shills of Wall Street fat cats. However, while I understand that politics is the art of the possible and BAM has a world to lead, I still fantasize about everybody that had a hand in designing the financial instruments that led us into this prolonged and devastating economic crisis – which is destroying so many lives and murdering dreams all over the world – being sentenced to a firing squad composed of the investors they robbed.
Lloyd Blankfein: CEO Goldman Sachs
In a World Of Trouble
It is perversely amusing watching the way Republicans have painted themselves in a corner with the fake populist rhetoric they have been serving up at the Tea Party wildings; the party of the plutocrats posing as the friends of Joe Six Pack. Now that BAM has presented them with some real solutions which will curb the excesses of high rolling Wall Street brigands, they are going to have to poop or get off the pot. In his cool calm collected manner, president Obama has once again maneuvered the hapless Republicans right where he wants them: Behind the eight ball. Let the GOP charlatans filibuster this bill if they dare!
Harlem, New York
April 22, 2010