The Next Crash Obama’s Post-Inaugural Cave-In to Wall Street Made Possible

by William Skink

After nearly 8 years of liberal apologists making excuses for the Obama regime, it might be time to start reflecting on a two-term reign that set the tone of fealty to Wall Street within the first months of Obama’s inauguration.

Paul Street did just that in a Counterpunch piece that appeared Friday, titled The Liberal Apologies for Obama’s Ugly Reign. The way Street frames the decisive moment Obama met with the 13 titans of Wall Street is gut-wrenching to read 7 years later. Remember, back then Democrats had full control of Congress, they had just taken the White House after 8 disastrous years of Bush, Wall Street was in shambles, so there were possibilities. There was hope. And then there was this:

In his important book Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President (2011), the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Suskind tells a remarkable story from March of 2009. Three months into Barack Obama’s supposedly progressive, left-leaning presidency, popular anger at Wall Street was intense and the nation’s leading financial institutions were weak and on the defensive in the wake of the financial collapse and recession they had created. The new president called a meeting of the nation’s top 13 financial executives at the White House. The banking titans came into the meeting full of dread. As Suskind noted:

“They were the CEOs of the thirteen largest banking institutions in the United States… And they were nervous in ways that these men are never nervous. Many would have had to reach back to their college days, or even grade school, to remember a moment when they felt this sort of lump-in-the-throat tension…As some of the most successful men in the country, they weren’t used to being pariahs… [and] they were indeed pariahs. The populist backlash against the financial sector—building steadily since September—was finally beginning to cause grave discomfort on Wall Street. As unemployment ballooned and credit tightened, the country began to look inward, toward the origins of the panic and its disastrous consequences.”

In the end, however, the anxious captains of high finance left the meeting pleased to learn that Obama was totally in their camp. For instead of standing up for those who had been harmed most by the crisis—workers, minorities, and the poor – Obama sided unequivocally with those who had caused the meltdown. “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks,” Obama said. “You guys have an acute public relations problem that’s turning into a political problem. And I want to help…I’m not here to go after you. I’m protecting you…. I’m going to shield you from congressional and public anger.”

For the banking elite who destroyed millions of jobs in their lust for profit, there was, as Suskind puts it, “Nothing to worry about. Whereas [President Franklin Delano] Roosevelt had [during the Great Depression] pushed for tough, viciously opposed reforms of Wall Street and famously said ‘I welcome their hate,’ Obama was saying ‘How can I help?’” As one leading banker told Suskind, “The sense of everyone after the meeting was relief. The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability. At that point, he could have ordered us to do just about anything and we would have rolled over. But he didn’t – he mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.” When “the bankers arrived in the State Dining Room,” Suskind notes, “Obama had them scared and ready to do almost anything he said…. An hour later, they were upbeat, ready to fly home and commence business as usual” (Confidence Men).

Throughout the subsequent years, the stock market recovered. Wall Street recovered. And interest-free liquidity still flows to the too-big-to-jail financial institutions, keeping the party going.

But the party can’t go on forever.

On a day when plenty of graduates are still bleary-eyed from last night’s revelries, realistic market watchers hear the ticking of the clock counting down to the next crash. Because politics. From the link:

Warning bells just keep getting louder and louder as the countdown to the Crash of 2016 keeps ticking. Wall Street’s in denial, but the Washington Post warns: “U.S. economic growth slows to 0.2 percent, grinding nearly to a halt.” USA Today hears “Bubble Talk” at the Vegas “Davos for Geeks.” Earlier the Wall Street Journal warned, “declining population could reduce global economic growth by 40%.” Then recently the “slow-growth Fed” was blamed.

Wrong, former Fed chief Ben Bernanke counterattacked: “I’m waiting for the Journal to argue for a well-structured program of public infrastructure development, which would support growth in the near term by creating jobs and in the longer term by making our economy more productive.” But for years the Fed “has been pretty much the only game in town as far as economic policy goes.” Today “we should be looking for a better balance between monetary and other growth-promoting policies, including fiscal policy.”

Fiscal policy? No, Ben, not a chance. The GOP controls economic policy. And they will never give “growth-promoting fiscal policy” victories to President Obama and Hillary Clinton before the presidential election of 2016. Never. In spite of Bernanke’s obviously rational solution to the core problems of the American economy, one that would help the American people, the GOP will never, ever agree to fiscal stimulus programs that give the Democrats bragging rights and make Obama and Clinton look good before the elections.

I think it’s pointless to parse GOP/Obama/Clinton fiscal policy. Democrats had all the cards in 2009, and look what happened. Now it’s 2015, and Democrats are trying to fire up the Clinton engine again. Cue obligatory story on HRC money problem:

Almost a decade ago, as Hillary Clinton ran for re-election to the Senate on her way to seeking the presidency for the first time, the New York Times reported on her unusually close relationship with Corning, Inc., an upstate glass titan. Clinton advanced the company’s interests, racking up a big assist by getting China to ease a trade barrier. And the firm’s mostly Republican executives opened up their wallets for her campaign.

During Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, Corning lobbied the department on a variety of trade issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The company has donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to her family’s foundation. And, last July, when it was clear that Clinton would again seek the presidency in 2016, Corning coughed up a $225,500 honorarium for Clinton to speak.

In the laundry-whirl of stories about Clinton buck-raking, it might be easy for that last part to get lost in the wash. But it’s the part that matters most. The $225,500 speaking fee didn’t go to help disease-stricken kids in an impoverished village on some long-forgotten patch of the planet. Nor did it go to a campaign account. It went to Hillary Clinton. Personally.

Since the economy is going to more than likely blow up again in the next few years, maybe it would be preferable for a Republican take the White House. Crazy talk, I know.

Enjoy the real world, college graduates, you’re going to have one hell of a ride.

  1. Eric

    You, like a lot of people are still trying to figure out The Great Leaders economic policies.

    The Wall Street numbers are being used to hide a lot of weakness in our economy.

    Here are some of the symptoms of the Obama economy;

    A trillion dollars wasted, for so-called ‘stimulus’.

    The number of Americans receiving food stamps remains 45 percent higher than when the president first took office, and the rate of home ownership has dropped by 3.2 percentage points, to the lowest point in nearly 20 years.

    First, the Fed loaning money to the banks at about 0% interest, while they charge high rates on consumer borrowing.

    No wage growth since Jan 2009.

    Mostly part-time jobs created instead of traditional full-time jobs, and 100 million Americans not employed. Some call it a ‘jobless recovery’.

    And lastly, there is no other place to invest money OTHER than Wall Street. Who in their right minds would invest in CD’s when the interest rates are less than price increases.

    Obama told us numerous times that he wanted to fundamentally change America, and he has. His regime is in the process of lowering our standard of living.

    LASTLY – just to make it fair, I’m going to accuse you of being racist – attacking Obama’s Wall Street policies because of his skin color. After all, that’s the left’s first line of defense, even after 2 elections.

    • steve kelly

      If you remain focused on symptoms you’ll never need to fret about the root causes. AM radio is full of this same-sounding diversion. Got anything that hasn’t been happening since the Carter/Reagan years? Presidents are bought and paid for, and assassinated when they step out of line. Who’s really in charge, Craig?

  2. steve kelly

    ps. Who “saved capitalism” if it was not FDR?

  3. Remember when the Clinton’s were so broke they had to steal furniture from the White House.

    “Bill and Hillary Clinton have made $25 million from speeches alone since January 2014, according to financial disclosures they filed pursuant to federal law. During this period, they made a combined total of 104 speeches – 3.25 speeches a month each.

    …To me, though, the most interesting aspect of the disclosure is the extent to which Hillary Clinton’s speaker fees came from companies with large amounts of money riding on government decisions. In these instances, Hillary wasn’t speaking to college students at the expense of the university. She was speaking to corporations that had no reason to pay to hear her other than the desire to curry favor with a strong presidential contender.”-Powerline.

    • steve kelly


      In your zeal to dis the Clintons, you might examine more closely your “evidence.” Who’s case are you supporting anyway?

      Can you name a few companies that do not have large amounts of money riding on government decisions? Or, can you name some similar companies that have suffered greatly from government ignoring their lobbyist’s pleas to create tax loopholes, deregulate rules and other regulatory mechanisms, privatize public domain, and/or weaken government oversight and enforcement of existing laws?

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