Ron Suskind and those wacky liberals at the Obama administration
Aaron Task and Henry Blodget again, via Yahoo Finance:
above: "No Change: 'Fat Cats' Still Winning Despite Obama's Tough Talk"
Does Blodget really believe that Obama offended Wall Street by calling them fatcats? Me kinda skeptical, but I suppose he may. The last time I speculated about the inner broilings of somebody out there in the big world, a certain commenter scolded me, so maybe I better not.
However I remember in May of 2010, Obama said he was going to "put his boot on the throat" of BP during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and some other pol denounced him for it, but the Justice Department or the EPA or whoever behaved as if their hands where tied when the administration discouraged BP from using Corexit as a dispersant. (Incidentally use of Corexit is banned altogether in the British Isles.)
According to Wikipedia:
On May 19, the Environmental Protection Agency gave BP 24 hours to choose less toxic alternatives to Corexit from the list of dispersants on the National Contingency Plan Product Schedule, begin applying the new dispersant(s) within 72 hours of Environmental Protection Agency approval or provide a detailed reasoning why the approved products did not meet the required standards. On May 20, US Polychemical Corporation reportedly received an order from BP for its Dispersit SPC 1000 dispersant. US Polychemical said that it could produce 20,000 US gallons (76 m3) a day in the first few days, increasing up to 60,000 US gallons (230 m3) a day thereafter.
Also on May 20, BP determined that none of the alternative products met all three criteria of availability, toxicity, and effectiveness. On 24 May, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Jackson ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct its own evaluation of alternatives and ordered BP to scale back dispersant use. According to analysis of daily dispersant reports provided by the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, before May 26, BP used 25,689 US gallons (97.24 m3) a day of Corexit. After the EPA directive, the daily average of dispersant use dropped to 23,250 US gallons (88.0 m3) a day, a 9% decline. By July 30, more than 1,800,000 US gallons (6,800 m3) of dispersant had been used, mostly Corexit 9500.
So maybe an Obama boot on the throat means, "I want you to fear my wrath up to nine percent of the time."
Likewise, Obama sounds a bit silly when he calls people fatcats. Frankly it's embarrassing. It's reminiscent of a drunk who threatens a much bigger guy when he knows his sober buddies are holding him back and the other guy isn't particularly interested.
In the 1st video clip, above, Aaron Task suggests that BHO wanted to be much tougher with the bank in early 2009, but Tim Geithner and Lawrence Summers talked him out of it, so I guess they qualify as the two sober friends who prevented the fight in question. Blodget starts things off by suggesting that fight would have involved "coming down hard" on Wall Street, and Task chimes in by suggesting that could've meant nationalizing the banks, although he stumbles and says privatizes for a moment. And yes, I'm tempted to read into that, that it was one of them Freudian slips, but what do I know about what people may really be thinking?
Incidentally, Jonathan Schwarz of Tiny Revolution recently mentioned the same book that Task refers to, Confidence Men by Ron Suskind. His discussion suggests a different conclusion, and it didn't go along with the Obama as impressionable naif theme at all. I haven't read it, although it sounds interesting.
Here's a quote from Suskind, via Schwarz:
According to one of the participants, he then said, "I'm not out there to go after you. I'm protecting you. But if I'm going to shield you from public and congressional anger, you have to give me something to work with on these issues of compensation."
No suggestions were forthcoming from the bankers on what they might offer, and the president didn't seem to be championing any specific proposals. He had none; neither Geithner nor Summers believed compensation controls had any merit.
After a moment, the tension in the room seemed to lift: the bankers realized he was talking about voluntary limits on compensation until the storm of public anger passed. It would be for show.
Is this what happened? Even if it isn't, and is just what Suskind's source said, it certainly doesn't square with Aaron Task's interpretation of the book. Maybe Task is a slower reader than Jon Schwarz, and hasn't gotten that far.
Below, Blodget says some sensible things here about infrastracture spending, then he sneaks in the usual bit about unsustainable entitlements needing to be cut, and says nothing about taxes. It reminds me of how Alan Simpson said some sensible sounding things to the lady from Reuters in the interview clip I posted the other day, but also snuck in a similarly themed swipe regarding those supposedly unsustainable entitlements.
HERE’S WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE ECONOMY… (And How To Fix It)
Henry Blodget | Daily Ticker – Mon, Oct 3, 2011 2:13 PM EDT
see also The Promiscuous Reader, "The Protection Racket"