Some of us actually bought it.
"Hope," "Change," and "Yes we can." The spirited mottos of newly-elected President Obama.
These days it's sounding much more like "Yes, we can change hope," as Barack's zealous inexperience collides with one of the steepest learning curves ever faced by an American President.
But despite a handful of alarming early mistakes - like appointing several tax-dodgers to what will no doubt be the "spendiest" administration in U.S. history - surely Obama can bring some kind of change to the White House. It won't be politics as usual, right? And it especially won't be some deplorable Chicago brand of pay-for-play politics, right?
Despite the "truthiness" of Barack's promises...the cold, hard facts would suggest otherwise.
Ladies & Gentlemen of the Jury, I Give You Tim Geithner
You know, George W. Bush left a vacuum in the White House when he left. There wasn't anyone left who could kill the markets with a single speech. Well...we're happy to report that Tim Geithner stepped up to that challenge and met it head-on, tanking the Dow by about 400 points in his first speech.
Tim Geithner. You may recall that he was one of the few Federal Reserve representatives who could explain the Bear Stearns deal in layman's terms. He's a young and uneasy looking go-getter with a silver spoon lodged down his throat. He's not a big bank alumnus like Paulson. And he was picked by the demagogue of "change,"...so we all agreed to overlook his shady, tax-dodging ways.
But he's got other talents as well.
And no, we don't mean making funny faces and embarrassing poses for the camera (which we're convinced to be his true purpose).
No, he's a master of seeming like he's in two pockets at the same time. Incredible really. All at once, this "rich kid" has for his whole career seemed to be a champion of the people and a friend of the banks. Nevermind the fact that this perception is now falling apart on a daily basis.
But in the words of history's bestselling book, "No man can serve two masters." So we've got to ask ourselves...who's little Timmy really working for?
A quick scan of the Internet will give you the table listed at the right. These are the top contributors to Barack Obama's Presidential campaign. This isn't a "secret" or a "conspiracy," it's a matter of public record.
On a tangent, it's remarkable to see that all these banks could still muster campaign money...despite needing taxpayer relief to the tune of tens - and even hundreds - of billions of dollars. Then again, it's probably good business...campaign contributions will keep the gravy train from getting derailed.
But we circled these three names in particular for a reason.
You see, something strange happened on the way to the Treasury. After months of Obama railing against the wicked ways of corporate lobbyists, Geithner appointed the former chief lobbyist of Goldman Sachs to serve as his head of staff.
Just wait...it gets better.
Geithner's new deputy secretary is a former CEO of Citigroup. Another CFO from Citigroup is now assistant to the President...and one of his assistants also came from Citigroup. To finish out the roster, a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board...yeah, he used to work at UBS.
But wait; there's more.
Geithner's "Brain Trust" of unofficial advisors includes John Thain - who formerly worked with both Goldman and Merrill Lynch - Gerald Corrigan (another former Goldman exec) and Hank Paulson (yet another former Goldman Exec). The icing on the cake here is Alan Greenspan, who exploited his own disastrous mismanagement of the Federal Reserve in a brief stint with Pimco last year, who's also got Geithner's ear.
Which leads us to ask...
Is there Any Question as to WHO is Steering Our Ship of State?
To which the prompt answer is; no.
And to be honest; it would be hard to argue that this is anything other than a perfect example of "Blagojevich-style" pay-for-play Chicago politics. This isn't a conspiracy theory...it's perfectly spelled out in plain sight. "You help me get elected, I'll help you fleece my taxpayers," "Deal!"
But let's pull back and take our anger out of the situation.
Yes, banks are good for the economy. That much is obvious. And when the banks get their "just deserts" (as in the 1930s or the Panic of 1873) the people suffer for decades. Sounds pretty simple.
But this isn't the 1930s, my friend.
And we've got to remember that Paulson, Geithner, Thain and Greenspan...it was their leadership that got us here in the first place. Their institutions...their organizations that killed the golden goose and the financial system, bringing the economy down with it.
It's almost like getting into a cab with Evel Knievel behind the wheel. Thanks...but no thanks.