7 Reasons to Fight Obama on Picking Out-of-Touch Crony Capitalist Larry Summers as Fed Chair
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The Fed chairman is the most powerful official Obama will pick— directly affecting each and every wallet in America. As much as anything, this appointment will shape our country’s future.
Obama appears to want Summers, and so do the most powerful people on Wall Street. But he is not the people's choice. Democrats who care about ordinary Americans, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, do not want to see him controlling of one of the two most significant economic levers in the country.
In leaning toward Summers, Obama, still a relatively young man with many years ahead, seems to be more interested in his own future than our future. The big banks will reward him for backing Summers. But the American people will not forget such a betrayal.
The legacy of the next Fed chair will last long after the President leaves office. Remember Alan Greenspan? He acted as Fed chief for nearly two decades. The next chair could potentially guide America’s economy for a generation.
We can look back on Greenspan's tenure and see the origins of many of the ills we now face, from inequality to high unemployment. If, down the road, we turn into an unstable, third-rate nation where regular people have lost faith in financial and justice systems and the rich retreat behind barbed wire, we may well look back and see in Larry Summers the genesis of that picture.
With so much at stake, let’s take a look at why all signs say that Larry Summers would be a destructive Fed chair unable to serve the people — one whose image as a serial looter of the American public no amount of whitewashing can clean.
1. Summers serves Wall Street over Main Street.
The Fed is responsible for the oversight and regulation of the US banking system. Larry Summers has a terrible record on both.
Alan Greenspan’s dangerous philosophy, vigorously supported by Summers during the Clinton administration, called for taking regulatory cops off the Wall Street beat and letting banks regulate themselves, which led to a culture of wild speculation and criminal activity that helped bring on the financial meltdown of 2007-08. As a result, millions of our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens were left without jobs, homes, and pensions. In the wake of this devastation, Summers acted quickly to force American taxpayers to bail out the very banks which had triggered the devastation. Some deal!
Today, big banks are even more powerful and dangerous than before the crisis — they’re more concentrated, they’ve made record-breaking profits, and the news is a constant stream of scams and harmful activity ranging from money laundering to billion-dollar gambling losses to rigging international interest rates. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder even admitted to the American people that the banks have become too big to be prosecuted without endangering the entire economy, a situation which not only makes a mockery of our justice system, but encourages banks to continue ripping off the public.
What has Larry Summers been doing since vacating his position as Obama’s top economic advisor? He’s been on what the New York Times called a “ money-making spree” of consulting jobs, six-figure speaking gigs, and corporate board positions, collecting large sums from too-big-to-fail banks like Citigroup, giant hedge funds, and Silicon Valley financial firms. (He was already rich off Wall Street money before joining Team Obama: between his tenure at the Treasury Department in the 1990s and his 2009 return to Washington, the Times reports that his personal wealth rocketed from $400,000 to $31 million).