Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama Needs Better Advisers

The Obama Presidency suffers from a shortage of progressive advisers, especially in the area of finance.  As a result he cannot hear the voice of the people who worked tirelessly to realize his dream of change.  Instead, he gets the views of people like this.
gene-sperling The revolving door spins both ways in Washington. Some politicians collect their reward after they leave office, like former Representative Dick Gephardt, who is now raking in the big bucks as a corporate lobbyist. Others reverse the transaction and get their money upfront--before they become "public servants." Gene Sperling got his cash in advance.
This year Sperling is among the small circle of intimate staffers advising Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on financial bailouts and other matters. Last year in private life, Sperling was paid $887,727 by Goldman Sachs as a consultant. That is peanuts compared to the big hitters at Goldman Sachs. But it's pretty pricey for a Washington policy wonk. Put it with the $158,000 Sperling earned making speeches to financial companies and some other lucrative chores and Gene looks like a million-dollar thinker.
Sperling was a White House acolyte of Robert Rubin during the Clinton years and among the many Clintonistas-in-waiting who have found a place in the Obama administration. Let us stipulate that he is earnest and intelligent, sincerely devoted to good government. But his money connections reflect the velvet sleaze that lubricates the Washington system. His résumé more or less assures that Citizen Sperling will not look at the outrageous fortunes of Wall Street players quite the same way lowercase citizens might. His experience and training allow him to appreciate the complexities of policy-making, while ordinary Americans may focus on the cruder questions of right and wrong.
The particulars of Sperling's good fortune were highlighted by Bloomberg News in an article titled, "Geithner Aides Reaped Millions Working for Banks, Hedge Funds." Kudos to reporter Robert Schmidt for assembling the facts. Sperling, we learn, actually earned $2.2 million in the thirteen months before he re-entered government. That includes $480,051 he was paid as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, plus $250,000 for his quarterly briefings to two hedge funds, plus the speaking gigs (including an appearance before the Stanford Group in Houston subsequently charged with running a Ponzi scheme). Meantime, his day job at the Council on Foreign Relations paid $116,653. A busy, busy wonk... [emphasis added]
Inserted from <The Nation>
Now, I’m not passing judgment on Sperling’s character.  For all I know he’s an honest, hard-working man,  The problem, as I see it, is that he’s one of too many business as usual men and women advising the President.  We didn’t work or vote for business as usual.  We worked and voted for change we can believe in.


the walking man said...

Business is business as usual. Did you really expect it to be any different with an administration change? Had McVain won it would simply be a different set of insiders.

I am still waiting for the president to show he has a pair and that he has the will within himself to quit coddling to the same old same old.

Yes I understand diplomacy and the velvet glove but I want to see an iron fist on health care and financial regulation not the same bubble creating mess that has whipsawed the people he is supposedly the leader of.

Complaint Department Manager said...

Advisors should be treated like oil changes, change them every so often. Sometimes it's best to get a fresh set of eyes and ideas.

TomCat said...

Mark, I agree. I have been calling for both since my return.

C, that's an excellent suggestion. I hope he takes it.

Jo said...

This is a direct quote from the New Yorker Magazine, who were huge supporters of Obama during his campaign and just after he was elected:

"Obama came into office on a tide of euphoria. Lately, though, his supporters have been experiencing a vague sense of disappointment. He may have saved the world from a second Great Depression and all that, but the jobless rate keeps on climing, the planet keeps on heating up, Guantanamo keeps on not getting closed, and roadside bombs keep on exploding. He's had eight whole months, and he still hasn't signed a comprehensive health-care bill. Given that his perceived political problem is exaggerated expectations, does he really need a Nobel Peace Prize before he has actually made any peace?"

I want to like Obama -- I really do. He is the anti-Republican. But I think you folks need to stop making excuses for him, and start holding his feet to the fire. Americans are such lovely people. They are always so full of hope and expectations, and especially here in Canada, we love Americans. We feel bad that you are continuing to get such a raw deal.

Oh, heck, y'all should move to Canada. We have universal health care, legalized same-sex marriage, and we haven't started a war anywhere in, oh, decades -- if ever. :-)

TomCat said...

Josie, read mt top article today. Is that holding his feet to the fire?