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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Obama's biggest failure

Don't get us wrong, we're still holding our nose and voting for him, but the Prez is a major sellout.

Obama blew a once-in-a-generation chance at strengthening the financial system.

With the pain of a stock-market plunge, double-digit unemployment and lost wealth still fresh in the American consciousness, Obama pursued his social and political agenda -- health care, Iraq, an economic stimulus bill -- and left finance to the finance guys.

The White House pillow talk with Jamie Dimon has been nothing short of disgusting.

Comments (9)

Rethinking Robert Rubin
By William D. Cohan on September 20, 2012

Notable excerpt:

But not enough to shake questions about just how wise and thoughtful Robert Rubin really is, especially on the fourth anniversary of a financial crisis in which he played a pivotal, under-examined role. Rubinomics—his signature economic philosophy, in which the government balances the budget with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts, driving borrowing rates down—was the blueprint for an economy that scraped the sky. When it collapsed, due in part to bank-friendly policies that Rubin advocated, he made more than $100 million while others lost everything. “You have to view people in a fair light,” says Phil Angelides, co-chair of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, who credits Rubin for much of the Clinton-era prosperity. “But on the other side of the ledger are key acts, such as the deregulation of derivatives, or stopping the Commodities Futures Trading Commission from regulating derivatives, that in the end weakened our financial system and exposed us to the risk of financial disaster.”

After he stepped away from Treasury in 1999, Rubin moved to Citigroup (C), and until 2009 he served as chairman of the executive committee and, briefly, chairman of the board of directors. On his watch, the federal government was forced to inject $45 billion of taxpayer money into the company and guarantee some $300 billion of illiquid assets. Taxpayers ended up with a 27 percent stake in Citigroup, which was sold in 2010 at a cumulative profit of $12 billion. Rubin gave up a portion of his contracted compensation—and was still paid around $126 million in cash and stock during a tenure in which his serenity has come to look a lot more like paralysis. “Nobody on this planet represents more vividly the scam of the banking industry,” says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan. “He made $120 million from Citibank, which was technically insolvent. And now we, the taxpayers, are paying for it.”


During his 26 years at Goldman Sachs (GS), Rubin rose from trader to the corner office, and along with his partner, Stephen Friedman, helped transform Goldman from an investment bank into shorthand for financial dominance. Goldman has made thousands of people, including Rubin, very rich. But the firm’s reputation for avarice has also created a cloud that follows its all-star alumni into civic life. The case against Rubin’s performance as a public servant is mainly about that cloud. As Treasury Secretary, was he motivated by a desire to serve the people, or an opportunity to serve himself and his friends?

All true, but even if Obama had tried to reform Wall Street the Republicans would not have let him do it.

You guys are soooooo gullible. Why do you think Obama hired those Goldman-Sachs guys?

The Reyes case suggests that the state is in the habit of regularly mailing out millions to certain individuals and simply failed to confirm the identity of this one. If the usual recipients are powerful people I would expect lots of finger pointing and perhaps a scapegoat, but no reform.

All true, but even if Obama had tried to reform Wall Street the Republicans would not have let him do it.

Except that the Dems had the House, Senate, and White House for his first two years, and could have gotten the two Republican votes in the Senate necessary for cloture, as they were able to get those two votes on Dodd-Frank, which the GOP rails against constantly.

They tried not to let "him" do it, and they passed that bill which attempted to reform banking anyway. I don't buy the "poor Democrats couldn't move anything through Congress" excuse, because the 111th Congress moved plenty of legislation through that the GOP doesn't like.

Still voting for the Republican- Obama blew the last 4 years. I'm giving the other guy a chance.

I'm with you K.W. in part. I just wish they would have run a guy I could believe in. I don't like Romney or his policy promises, vague as they've been.

So I'm voting for whatever 3rd party candidate strikes my fancy on the day I vote. A protest vote.

Were Oregon a swing state I might make a different choice, but it's not. So I am free to protest.

I'm tempted to write in Kaiser Soze.

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