Doin' The Wall Street Shuffle

Last week President Obama nominated 1% bail out recipient Jack Lew as tax cheat Tim Geithner's replacement as Secretary of the Treasury.  Tthe Washington Post put together a nice compendium of the highlights to Lew's tenure at CitiBank (for both the left and right).

Treasury secretary nominee Jack Lew has spent most of his career in government, but during the financial crisis, he was embedded inside one of the country’s biggest banks as it nearly imploded.
From 2006 to 2008, he worked at Citigroup in two major roles, a notable line in his résumé given that as Treasury secretary, he would be charged with implementing new rules regulating Wall Street.

But Lew did not have just any position at the bank.

In early 2008, he became a top executive in the Citigroup unit that housed many of the bank’s riskiest operations, including its hedge funds and private equity investments. Massive losses in that unit helped drive Citigroup into the arms of the federal government, which bailed out the bank with $45 billion in taxpayer money that year.

Emphasis mine.  So putting a career bureaucrat/Wall Street insider in charge of regulating Wall Street?  I thought that kind of fox guarding the hen-house politics was only something evvviiiilllll capitalists in the GOP did?

Lew’s first job at the bank was chief operating officer of Citigroup’s wealth management unit, which flourished under his watch.

By the fall of 2007, the wealth management group handled $1.8 billion in client assets, up 34 percent from the year before, according to financial statements. More than 15,000 financial advisers and bankers worked under Lew.

So Lew was in charge of "making the rich, richer" in Democrat terms....

In January 2008, he switched to Citigroup’s alternative investments unit. A press release announcing his new position as chief operating officer of the group said he would “oversee coordination between the operations, technology, human resources, legal, financial and regional departments.”

The memo stated that Lew also would be a member of Citigroup’s management committee, a group of senior executives who met regularly to discuss different parts of the bank’s business.

And managing the riskier investments that almost bankrupted Citigroup.....

It was then that Lew turned his time inside Wall Street into another lucrative government gig in the Obama Administration, first as a deputy to now outgoing Secretary of State Clinton, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and now to Secretary of Treasury nominee.

But least you think that the objection to his nomination is all one sided.....

(Sen. Bernard) Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement Wednesday that although he applauds Lew’s public service, he worries about the number of economic advisers in the White House who have spent time on Wall Street. Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, also came from Citigroup’s hedge fund and private equity shop, known as the alternative investments unit.

“In my view, we need a treasury secretary who is prepared to stand up to corporate America and their powerful lobbyists and fight for policies that protect the working families in our country,” Sanders said. “I do not believe Mr. Lew is that person.”

President Obama ran (in 2008) a race that demonized Wall Street and people who made money - all the while raking in millions of dollars in campaign cash from the same Wall Street billionaires he demonized.  Later he sided with the Occupy Wall Street movement which sought to bring down Wall Street entirely.  Now he nominates a yet another former Wall Streeter into his Cabinet.

So which President Obama do we believe?  The one that stands in front of the camera mouthing the same platitudes about the ills of out of control corporate greed or the one that has a phalanx of out of control corporate greed beneficiaries whispering in his ear on a daily basis?  Given his actions, I would say we need to prepare for less Wall Street Regulation...not more.

In other words, it's the status quo for the "Do as I say, not as I do" President.

Written by LL.