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Posted by: Doug Henwood | February 10, 2010

Obama luvs bankers

From Bloomberg, via Politico’s Morning Money:

OBAMA DOESN’T ‘BEGRUDGE’ BONUSES FOR ‘SAVVY’ WALL STREET EXECS, Bloomberg’s Julianna Goldman and Ian Katz report: ‘President Barack Obama said he doesn’t ‘begrudge’ the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay. The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is ‘an extraordinary amount of money’ for Main Street, ‘there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well. I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,’ Obama said … ‘I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system.’

The new FDR, eh?

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Responses

  1. As Lawrence Summers said, “any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.” Saving capitalism from itself required putting Americans to work. Saving face for market liberalism requires sacrificing American lives to a failed god.

    He believes in a meritocracy: those who succeed have the only real claim to merit.

  2. [FDR in a 1936 speech to the party convention:]

    An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living – a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

    http://www.austincc.edu/lpatrick/his2341/fdr36acceptancespeech.htm

    [FDR in his 1944 State of the Union address:]

    We have come to a clear realization of the fact, however, that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry, people who are (and) out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

    http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/011144.html

    [Lawrence Summers on Milton Friedman, “the great liberator”:]

    IF John Maynard Keynes was the most influential economist of the first half of the 20th century, then Milton Friedman was the most influential economist of the second half.

    Not so long ago, we were all Keynesians. (“I am a Keynesian,” Richard Nixon famously said in 1971.) Equally, any honest Democrat will admit that we are now all Friedmanites.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/19/opinion/19summers.html

  3. http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/irked-wall-st-hedges-its-bet-on-democrats/

    Republicans are rushing to capitalize on what they call Wall Street’s “buyer’s remorse” with the Democrats. And industry executives and lobbyists are warning Democrats that if Mr. Obama keeps attacking Wall Street “fat cats,” they may fight back by withholding their cash.

    “If the president doesn’t become a little more balanced and centrist in his approach, then he will likely lose that support,” said Kelly S. King, the chairman and chief executive of BB&T. Mr. King is a board member of the Financial Services Roundtable, which lobbies for the biggest banks, and last month he helped represent the industry at a private dinner at the Treasury Department.

    “I understand the public outcry,” he continued. “We have a 17 percent real unemployment rate, people are hurting, and they want to see punishment. But the political rhetoric just incites more animosity and gets people riled up.”

    Wall Street never talked about Bill Clinton like this.

    Doug’s not reporting the whole story. The MSM is reporting Obama is going overboard so he backed off a little. He doesn’t feel “getting personal” helps. It’s his M.O. if you’ve been paying attention.

    All that matters is the legislation they pass. If they don’t pass anything it will be a mark against Obama.

  4. I’m stupefied. I thought maybe Obama would be marginally okay.

    The only thing he’s accomplished unfailingly is to give Wall Street whatever it wants.

    Maybe that’s why he was hired. I think you once mentioned that there were very early fund-raisers by hedgies in Greenwich for him.

  5. The Democrat Party is now culpable for mass unemployment. If there is another crisis in the next few years, they will be complicit, just as Summers and company bear guilt the last one.

    Obama continues to defend the oligarchs from the pitchforks. He won’t put up with the beliefs of his voter base, which are denounced as retarded. The administration is fighting for what they believe in. It’s hard, you know, arguing for self-regulating markets when they self-destruct.

    Ask not what the Democrat Party can do for the country, ask what the country can do for the Democrat Party. Call it progress, as the blue machine does.

  6. This shocks me….

    ….not at all.

    Obama has been a neoliberal for his ENTIRE political career. “Hope” and “change” notwithstanding, this has been clear for long before he ran for prez.

    Adolph Reed, from January of 1996: “In Chicago, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program–the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics.”

    Guess who he was talking about.

  7. Obama’s got to keep the powder dry, you know. For something.

  8. From De Long’s comment section, Obama was throat clearing as a politician is wont to do.

    “The statement about not begrudging people who are rich is abstract and made before Obama addressed the specific issue of the two bankers. I’m pretty sure Obama is wrong about the American people who might not begrudge the richness of many of the rich but who sure do want to tax the rich more. Also in the specific case, most Americans clearly do begrudge the fact that top bankers still have jobs let alone 7 or 8 figure bonuses.

    Note that when he gets around to the question of what is to be done, he agrees with Brad’s proposal and adds a demand that shareholders get more control.

    What we have here is that Obama presents the arguments against his conclusion first, then works to the conclusion. He did that on every known issue in “The Audacity of Hope.”

    By now, he should know that he shouldn’t do that -that political reporters are perfectly willing to quote his general throat clearing and ignore his specific statement and that they are even willing to quote only his hedges and qualifications and not mention his policy proposal.”

  9. http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/02/hoisted-from-comments-robert-waldmann-on-barack-obamas-throat-clearing.html

    We should we pay attention to people who have already judged Obama and fit the evidence to their preconceptions?

  10. Adolph Reed nailed it. Obama is transformative–he is out to redefine “progressive” in terms that are economically correct to Lawrence Summers. Every “honest” Democrat a Friedmanite. See: Arnie Duncan.

    Judging from the compulsive excuses made for him by many progressives, it isn’t so hard to imagine.


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