Ezra Klein has a pretty good summary of the “Wall Street is back, beyotches” stuff that’s hitting the presses this week (for an extensive list of what I’m talking about, see this). The common theme here is that bankers hate Obama despite the fact that he’s propped up their industry on more or less the bankers’ terms. Justin Fox recounts a story of:
a dinner party a couple of weeks ago with a Wall Street friend who complained that Barack Obama was out to get him and his kind. “What?!?!” I said. “He’s doing what he can to protect you from the baying wolves.”
Eric Rauchway recounts how things weren’t so different for FDR:
He was surprised and wounded at the way the upper classes turned on him…. Consider the situation in which he came to office. The economic machinery of the nation had broken down…. People who had anything to lose were frightened; they were willing to accept any way out that would leave them still in possession…. Although he had adopted many novel, perhaps risky expedients, he had avoided vital disturbances to the interests. For example, he had passed by an easy chance to solve the bank crisis by nationalization…. His basic policies for industry and agriculture had been designed after models supplied by great vested-interest groups. Of course, he had adopted several measures of relief and reform, but mainly of the sort that any wise and humane conservative would admit to be necessary….
Nothing that [he] had done warranted the vituperation he soon got in the conservative press or the obscenities that the … maniacs were bruiting about in their clubs and dining-rooms. Quite understandably he began to feel that the people who were castigating him were muddle-headed ingrates.
One should remember that wealthy interests have never stopped re-fighting the war against the New Deal. Anything short of a tax holiday and another round of deregulation is communism. It’s the Rick Santelli rule.
The Moar You Know
FDR was called a "traitor to his class" and was the target of an attempted coup. Fortunately for FDR and us all, Smedley Butler decided he would rather be an American than a hitman for Prescott Bush.
Neither have the peons who they con into fighting their war against social equality. 47% of the country, at the last count.
Yep, we’re seeing the same thing now as we did with FDR.
The New Deal didn’t destroy capitalism, it saved it from being discredited and destroyed. And its reforms set the stage for the postwar economic boom — the longest and strongest period of prosperity in the country’s history.
And for his troubles, he receives armpit noises from Jonah Goldberg.
What we need is a "GOP Holiday"…about 40 years’ worth.
Anything short of fatcats dancing on a rope is disappointing.
The Rich: It’s what’s for dinner!
Re-fighting the New Deal my ass (although you are quite right about that), a lot of the modern GOP wants to re-fight the Civil War!
See: Presidential election results state by state.
I’m willing to accept that we need to have some wealthy people, but really, they do cause an inordinate amount of bother. Sorry if that’s offensive.
you know that resignation letter from an aig manager who quit because he felt he was being wrongly targeted? i wonder if it’s legit.. or if it’s a PR attempt. remember, aig hired burston-marsteller for damage control. their PR speciality to put out things that look grassroots or not obviously co-ordinated.
The Moar You Know
@TenguPhule: I’ve noticed, shall we say, a certain…theme to your posts. You just need to go kill a rich person and get it out of your system.
hey, did this get discussed already? roubini backs geithner’s plan!
I think there’s an FDR quote wherein after helping the banks get back on their feet, the bankers ‘threw their crutches’ at him.
This is why I loved the Three Stooges. They held the upper class up for the ridicule and endless mockery they so richly deserve.
FDR’s New Deal was strongly backed by numbers of rational members of the Upper Class. Most of the New Deal and even preceding late Hoover-era reforms were shepherded out of upper-class funded scholarship and policy planning groups.
You saw a split in the upper classes, often by industry type, or by type of income. For example, the Rockefellers were very much pro-New Deal, yet the National Association of Manufacturing was as reactionary as imaginable.
I think this goes well beyond "upper class", as many people have been calling it. Most of these crooks got rich in the last 15 years. That’s not upper class, that’s just money.
Enter Mark Penn. You’re right, the AIG PR push smells. I imagine McCain/Gramm running the show, but imagine if HRC were running the show. Peak wingnut apocalypse right there.
Billy K (D-TX)
…the glib replies, the same defeats.
By the way, can anyone recommend a book about the Business Plot?
It’s “same defeats” (but good catch).
You know, old conservatives at least have a viable argument for old money. They conserved it to give to their brat children. These new richies with their useless second generation hummers… F them. Break your weak ass axles somewhere else.
hey, did this get discussed already? roubini backs geithner’s plan!
Roubini is very clear in his comments at RGE Monitor: He backs Geithner’s plan for solvent banks. For banks proven to be insolvent by this ‘stress test’, Roubini backed and still backs nationalization for insolvent institutions.
The quotes from him in the press do not clarify this. Here is Roubini himself.
OT: Talk about gall. A board member of AIGFP, Martin Feldstein, is complaining the reduction in the charitable tax deduction will reduce charitable giving.
is anybody surprised? clinton shrunk the government and conservatives impeached him for it.
I just saw this recommended by another commenter.
My question for Wall Street is, why can’t they compete?
They’ve been trumpeting their own brilliance for twenty years, while designating just about every other non-finance profession or trade as dead-beats.
They held up under scrutiny, what? Two weeks? Now they’re whining Obama has to restore their credibility?
He can’t, even if it was his role, and it isn’t. He didn’t discredit them. They did it to themselves. People want to know why they get paid so much. We found out they’re not all that bright, or, actually, productive.
Billy K (D-TX)
That’s what I get for going by memory instead of trusting in teh Google.
Not bad for from memory, my friend.
The Moar You Know
@El Cid: I think that Geither/Obama know this is true; they are working to get the legislation passed that would enable them to do exactly that.
They’re keeping it very low-pro, which is wise – to come right out and say "we’re gonna nationalize the insolvent banks" will panic the Congresscritters they need to get this passed.
And boy do we need this passed. If there is one absolutely crucial vote that will make or break America, this one’s it.
True. They tried to put a warm and fuzzy glow on Three Mile Island, the Argentine military dictatorship and Bhopal, just to mention a few oldies but goodies. Don’t believe anything that comes out of AIG, spin-wise.
I assume they mean the charity that they’re receiving?
I don’t dare. It’s like potato chips. You can’t stop after just one.
I saw it discussed elsewhere, but basically if you parse what he said my understanding is he could be read to be on the same page as Krugman, et al.
Same here. Wall Street friend, forever Irish-NY-Democrat, probably never voted for a Repub in his life, HATES Obama and is thinking of switching his registration.
He’s also pissed that he had to get used ski equipment for his kids when they went to Vail this winter. Or was it Aspen? I can’t keep up.
@Svensker: Sorry your friend is such a prick.
Sir Fred Goodwin’s house in Edinburgh was attacked by vandals yesterday. Several windows were broken and his car was damaged. A group which says it is opposed to large payouts to bank executives has claimed they carried out the attack.
Sir Fred was in charge of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) when it made a 24 billion pound loss last year. He is taking a contracted retirement package worth around a million bucks a year which has angered a lot of people here in the UK who say that he is being rewarded for failure.
Many of the top people in these failing financial institutions don’t realise that there are a lot of taxpayers out there who would be happy to see their heads on pikes and their houses burning, for real. There’s a lot of anger which the press and other communications media (including blogs) have been entirely too willing to whip up and encourage with rhetoric and bloody-shirt waving.
Claims that Congress and President Obama should do this or not do that with regards to the US economy and the financial industry fail to look beyond the dollars and cents to the very real possibility of riots and violence if confidence in the government’s ability to govern is lost. There’s a tipping point when too many banks fail, when too many companies put up the shutters, when too many communities suddenly wake up to collapsed tax bases unable to pay for police and other services. The financial stuff is just money after all but it makes great insider baseball to argue about, I suppose.
there is already a remedy for banks. does roubini mean non-bank entities?
Me, too. He’s my hub’s oldest and dearest friend, but Friday night drinks are getting very contentious. Feel bad for my guy.
I saw it. He called it "partial support" and emphasized it still needed to be accompanied by nationalization, but it did make me feel a little better.
@The Moar You Know: It’s possible. It would be a speculation strengthened by the move of legislation to Congress to resolve large and often non-bank financial institutions.
All I can say is that it’s the most optimistic believable assessment I’ve seen so far. I simply cannot deal with ‘this will probably work out’ and ‘they know what they’re doing’ arguments.
That is true, but only if you emphasize that solvent / insolvent distinction. The other media ("Nouriel Roubini Backs Geithner Plan") are not making that clear.
To me, Krugman has been highlighting the lack of addressing of the problem of what he (and others) feel to be pervasive insolvency in many of these giant banks and financial institutions. Yet the Geithner plan has been discussed as though it applies equally to those insolvent firms. Roubini has thus clearly stated that nationalization is simply required for all the insolvent firms, and Krugman is not as willing to assume that because it may be necessary that it will be done.
One could argue that Obama et al really are setting the stage for nationalizing the insolvent institutions (pace the legislation submitted), but it is also true, at least I think, or from what I’ve seen, that they are not highlighting how they will address these insolvent institutions. Those are what frighten me, not undercapitalized banks, and I’m not too happy being expected to *trust* that this will happen without an open commitment to doing so.
It is also possible that they haven’t really thought about it, or are just going through the motions with the legislation. I just prefer an open and comprehensive plan which addresses how both sorts of institutions are going to be addressed. Others will say that this sort of openness is impossible.
I think this is a useful distinction.
The old capitalists who started companies and had a personal stake in their well-being and actually behaved (mostly) as the rational actors thinking about things like long-term ramifications to the company for short term gambles vs. the jackholes who whacked off watching Wall St growing up and only care about making bank regardless of whether or not they destroy a company.
Most of the old capitalists, while still probably looking down at the middle and lower classes, realized that if they were going to succeed they needed workers with some education and enough hope for upward mobility and overall stability that they weren’t spending all of their time fantasizing about storming the mansion with torches and pitchforks.
The guy’s talking out his ass.
Sure, giving will go down—but IT ALWAYS GOES DOWN WITH TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES.
For major donors, and the majority of annual donors, fundraisers know that changes in the tax code DOES NOT IMPACT CHARITABLE GIVING.
Feldstein’s an amateur in a field he knows nothing about.
@Rick Taylor: I noticed too late for an edit, but
was supposed to be marked as a quote from guest omen.
It’s a matter of perspective. Roubini looks at the situation and the Geitner plan and says, "the glass is half full." Krugman looks at the same situation and says, "We’re all gonna die!"
@gwangung: Little known fact? The only reason anyone makes a charitable contribution is for the tax credit.
What, do they want the torches and pitchforks solution to these problems?
i’d settle for a barrage of rotten tomatoes.
@Svensker: What a load of bullshit your friend delivered to you. He didn’t have money for *new ski equipment*? There’s no way in hell not making your bonus or being subjected to slightly more progressive taxes can possibly do this to someone making Wall Street money.
That is at is surface an obvious lie. What a pathetic whiny loser. The phrase WATB was invented just for him. You should have punched him right then and there.
I am filled with dispair. waaaaaaah.
I watched the Mentalist last night. The suspect in the killing of a rich private equity firm partner is a poor guy who had been screwed over and fired by him and his partners. Asked if he hadn’t didn’t want to kill the owners and get even, he replied that of course he would, if he could get away with it.
"But you can’t get away with killing rich people. Everybody knows that."
Well, you can if you’re another rich person.
and then there’s edmond safra, who died hiding in a bathroom in a suspicious fire. there’s also a candy heiress whose missing.
ever notice when you play sports that the guy that plays the dirtiest is inevitably the whiniest guy on the field when he gets hit?
these guys are that guy, writ large.
It’s more accurate to say that Roubini sees that no one is specifically saying what they’ll do about insolvent institutions and perhaps (simply from the absence of a complaint) assumes the administration will likely do what’s necessary and nationalize them as must be done.
Krugman, on the other hand, sees the avoidance of discussion of what is to be done about insolvent institutions and publicly assumes the administration will likely not do what’s necessary and nationalize them as must be done.
I’d like to be able to assume that insolvent institutions would be nationalized; I cannot. I have to give Krugman the tip for realism, though I would really rather see a bit more plausible sign from both the administration and Congress that that step will be taken when proven necessary.
There’s a reason it’s not often sensible to assume political leaders will do the right but difficult thing when those same leaders seem intent on avoiding saying that they will do so.
The Indianapolis Public Library has a collection of WWI-era propaganda posters, among them about 20 produced by the "National Industrial Conservation Movement" which aren’t really about the war (beyond "Industry is patriotic") but rather exhort the working man to stick to his job and reject "agitators" and urge the public to tell the legislature to stop burdening industry with so many regulations and taxes.
Some of the messages sound familiar:
"STOP AND THINK! Would You — by Oppressive Laws — Make Success in Business a Crime?"
"When You Attack Men Who Maintain Pay Rolls You Hit the Wage Earner, Kick His Wife and Cuff His Children. — Elbert Hubbard."
In the midst of an unprecedented national and international crisis, Industry’s message was (1) taxes are too high, (2) regulation is too burdensome (in the 1910s!), and (3) people shouldn’t say mean things about business.
Can somebody Photoshop this with a photo of Bernie Madoff, his lovely book-keeping wife and their clean-cut socialite offspring?
OT but this little piece by one Barttle Bull (I sort of know him, he was always prospecting very conservative articles about latin ametica for the mag) is just too many types of amped up crazy. So so apt that his name is Bull because that is what this article is. Not one bit of it is based on reality (plummeting numbers? Trojan horse revolution?) I dare you guys to read it and not have your head explode.
Not my worry. Should I reach that point, I won’t care because I won’t have anything left to lose.
My fear is that I will enjoy it so much that I won’t be able to stop.
Unbefuckinglievable. Whining about not having spiffy new gear for a fucking ski trip to Aspen. Jesus. This fucker spent more even for used ski equipment than most people spend on their mortgages.
Punch, hell, just kick him in the nuts and tell him that’s from the rest of America. You know, the people he thinks of as the hired help.
May this arrogant asshole lose his job and his house this year. Then he can have something legit to bitch about.
I think wallstreet assholes like this prick just won’t get it until they get the Sir Goodwin treatment. Its the fucking arrogance and entitlement these shitheads exude that will make me cheer when that happens.
Sniff. How I miss those wonder years of a century ago! If only we could go back to those good times…
fascinating. thanks for posting.
the "obama is carter" meme has been making the rounds. i liked david corn’s response to it:
It’s not my job to do White House press secretary Robert Gibbs’ job. But, jeez, in less than two months, Obama has passed one of the biggest spending packages in history (yeah, it has pork in it, as well as billions for progressive programs) and has crafted a budget loaded with various innovations (and hundreds of billions of dollars for expanding health care). He’s signed a bunch of executive orders implementing fundamental change on assorted matters of significance,: Gitmo, torture, FOIA, ethics, family planning funds, stem cells research and more. He’s signed into law an equal pay bill and a measure expanding the state children’s health insurance program. He’s brought science back into federal agency decision-making. He’s begun a withdrawal in Iraq. He’s ordered a review of policy in Afghanistan. He’s seeking fresh starts in US relations with Russia and Iran. He’s rolled out plans–detailed or not–for dealing with the banking crisis, the mortgage crisis, toxic assets, and excessive corporate compensation. In the works is an additional plan for financial reregulation. And he’s done all of this while staffing up the federal government and initiating the process of appointing federal judges.
In the long run, there’s no telling whether Obama’s policies will work. But if this is what a flailing president can get done, I wonder what a successful one would have accomplished in the last eight weeks.
a nice reminder for some of us who’ve been missing the forest for the trees.
thanks for that. The kicker of that article is the Hilary Will Save Us in 2012 bit at the end. Too good for words. Who knew there were PUMAS in London?
Deep down in side, me too. Nevertheless I would dearly love to see these guys get their just desserts. If they could be made to live the life of the homeless for10 years, that’d be perfect.
But those guys aren’t going to get any sort of backlash, tomatoes, pitchforks or dumpster-diving. Those worthies are already out of the country, well out of tomato range. And not coincidentally, either.
LOLZ! A fool’s errand, buying sporting goods (especially expensive gear) new for growing kids. And this guy is supposed to be smart?
Costello’s lyrics are making more and more sense as the right continues to implode. The very title, "Beyond Belief", just about says it all. And the lyric immediately following "the glib replies, the same defeats" seems apt as well: "Keep your finger on important issues/with crocodile tears and a pocket full of tissue".
That’s one of my most favorite songs :-)
FDR or Obama dare tell them that they actually are NOT the masters of the universe – of course they hate him.
Me too. The whole album is terrific, one of his best and the best.
@guest omen: I keep trying to remind myself of the "only two months", but it just seems like the entire period of open economic collapse has blurred together from September to now, and each day seems a battle to see evidence that something will start to work.
Only if they don’t take them out of the cans first.
@Ash Can: Precisely! If this family regularly goes skiing, then they should have skis already unless they buy new every year. It’s that or they just now started taking fancy skiing trips, at which point it makes no sense to complain about not being able to afford skis when the entire trip is a new expense.
Either way, if this guy can’t afford new skis on his several hundred thousand dollars a year salary, he should be in no way responsible for anyone else’s money.
Two words: "Ski rental".