President Barack Obama’s financial stimulus package does nothing to change one fundamental problem with the current economic crisis: It fails to hold accountable the greedy bankers who caused the financial meltdown in the first place.
As former chief economist for the IMF, MIT professor Simon Johnson told Bill Moyers on the February 15 edition of Bill Moyers Journal, “The structure [of our] banking system, the concentration of power in big financial institutions has to change.”
But Obama’s plan, which at best will put a band-aid on the crisis, does not hold bankers accountable, and does not do anything to really curtail exhorbitant executive bonuses. The BlackCommentator.com cartoon below demonstrates the point well. It’s a dream to believe that the avaricious oligarchs in the banking system will repay the American taxpayer once the economy rebounds and the finanical system is stable.
They are playing us for chumps.
BILL MOYERS: Are we chumps?
SIMON JOHNSON: We’ll find out. Yes, we may be. Okay. It depends on how we play this politically. It depends on what our political system does. It depends, I think, on the level of reaction. The financial system is playing us for chumps, okay? The bankers think we’re chumps. We’ll find out. We have leadership that can handle this. We’ll find out what they do.
Obama is enabling the bankers. Is he perhaps, taking us for chumps himself? Or is he a chump like the rest of us?
While the president claims to have installed all these groundbreaking rules barring former lobbyists from working in his White House, he immediately exempted several staffers from the rule. Then he turns around and hires a gang of financial industry insiders to run his economic policy. Check out the list Bill Moyers cited during the Johnson interview:
Geithner has hired as his chief-of-staff, the lobbyist from Goldman Sachs. The new deputy secretary of state was, until last year, a CEO of Citigroup. Another CFO from Citigroup is now assistant to the president, and deputy national security advisor for International Economic Affairs. And one of his deputies also came from Citigroup. One new member of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board comes from UBS, which is being investigated for helping rich clients evade taxes. You’re probably too young to remember that old song, “Sounds like the Mack the Knife is back in town.”
The foxes are guarding the hen house at this crucial time, and the government that was elected to get us out of this mess handed them the keys. Obama’s advisors are in bed with the bankers, the House and Senate banking committees are in bed with the bankers, and we, the American people are being screwed.
As each day passes, we hear another story about how financial services companies and predatory lenders robbed us blind by saddling borrowers with loans they couldn’t afford. Now taxpayers are forced to buy “toxic assets” that no one else wants. I think this Ron Paul interview on Morning Joe is telling: If the market won’t buy these worthless assets, why are our politicians forcing us to buy them?
Because the bankers control the politicians, and the bankers will stuff their pockets with our money rather than take responsibility for bankrupting the nation in the first place.