rounds on the internet. The headline read: "Goldman Sachs in Talks to
Acquire Treasury Department: Sister Entities to Share Employees,
This bit of satire quoted a Goldman
Sachs spokesperson who called the proposed merger "a good fit." He
explained, ""We already have so many employees and so much money
flowing back and forth, this would just streamline
The joke works because the reality is
that an extraordinary number of people with close ties to the Wall
Street giant now work for the Obama administration, and because the
amount of taxpayer supported funds pumped into Goldman and the other
Wall Street looters has reached almost unbelievable
The joke works because Wall Street and
the other corporate interests that already owned the U.S. Congress
have effectively hijacked the new administration, which other wits
have begun to call "The Wall Street White House."
And the joke is on the American
people. But don't expect to hear it in the mainstream
While the economy has crashed and
burned and a recession has deepened into a depression with devastating
impacts on tens of millions of Americans, the increasingly centralized
and corporate dominated U.S. media peddles half truths and feel-good
nostrums about green shoots no one can see and jobs no one can
But the reality has begun to set in.
Mr. Obama's support has begun to decline significantly in the polls.
And the only safe assumption is that the real decline is worse than
reported, just as actual unemployment is far worse than
On the one hand, I sympathize with the
president. The problems are great and the obstacle - a Congress bought
and paid for - was never going to be easy to get around. On the other
hand, Mr. Obama's rapid rise to power was paid for in large measure by
Wall Street - $27 million in campaign contributions in only the three
years he was a U.S. Senator.
He made his deal and is stuck with
Say what you will, Goldman Sachs knows
how to speculate. High interest loans to third world, basket case
economies that defaulted and the U.S. taxpayers picked up in the first
Wall Street bail out in the 1980's, then oil futures, derivatives,
sub-prime mortgages and politicians "" it's all the same to them: get
in, inflate the bubble, cash in and get out.
Time and again they have left the U.S.
taxpayer holding the bag. This time, it may be Mr. Obama's
At every turn, the banks and the other
corporate paymasters of the government are successfully blocking or
killing reforms that Mr. Obama says he wants and that most Americans
The financial "reform" written by the
administration's Wall Street "alumnae" has been described in the New
York Times as "a big punt" leaving the status quo intact." The credit
rating agencies that worked hand-in-glove with Wall Street to cover up
the reality of the coming crash were excluded from new regulations to
establish increased transparency and accountability in the financial
markets. Home foreclosure relief was gutted in the Senate and stricter
bank accounting standards derailed in the House.
Most recently, the administration's
"planet saving" energy bill with its provision to "cap and trade"
carbon emissions grew from 648 pages to more than 1400 pages, as House
members loaded it down with concessions and giveaways to the big oil,
gas, utility and agribusiness polluters.
What did survive? Carbon credits,
which will be the next commodity market that Goldman Sachs and Wall
Street will inflate and manipulate.
Health care is faring no better. In a
war of attrition, the health care lobby is spending a fortune in
lobbying and campaign contributions to strip from the legislation
every measure that might effect their profits and contain costs, so
that the legislation emerging is losing critical public support and,
if passed, will be a hollow victory indeed for the president.