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The Five People Most Responsible for the Economic Crises We Are In

Posted by libhom Thursday, January 15, 2009

These are listed in alphabetical order, since it just isn't worth trying to decide which one is the worst. Nutty rightist policies are just as nutty regardless of the political affiliations of the people who shove them down our throats.

Micheal Bloomberg isn't just the most execrable mayor in NYC history, he has been one of the biggest driving forces in bringing our economy to its knees. His Bloomberg media empire constantly pushed short term profits over long term security to bankers, brokers, and to CEOs in companies that actually produce value in the economy. If his media assets had acted rationally and responsibly, we would be in a much smaller economic whole.

The Iraq War has been a huge drag on our economy during its long, disgusting time. It also has massively increased our foreign debt, a major problem during a liquidity crisis. Bush's tax cuts for the rich financed massive speculation which expanded and burst several bubbles when the money should have gone to a better social safety net for middle class and poor Americans. This corrupt and unelected regime also refused to enforce the limited financial market regulations that hadn't been wiped out by the previous administration and its collaborators.

This alleged "Democrat" pushed hard for financial deregulation which enabled the wave of irresponsible behavior on Wall St. The Internet bubble happened on his watch, and the economic conditions Clinton pushed created a climate for bubble hopping (dot coms to gold to real estate etc.,) which continued after his miserable presidency was cut off due to term limits. Clinton also made his top policy priority pushing corporate controlled trade initiatives such as NAFTA and the WTO which dramatically increased our trade deficits (causing massive borrowing from foreign interests). These corrupt trade arrangements shipped a lot of decent making jobs overseas, making it harder for Americans to afford mortgages. Bill Clinton's "welfare reform" created a climate of scapegoating for women of color which made it more socially acceptable for them to be targeted for predatory and downright fraudulent subprime mortgages.

This schmuck refused to take the regulatory responsibilities of Treasury Secretary even remotely seriously. Even worse were his actions as Goldman Sachs' CEO. In a previous posting, I quoted Naomi Klein on Democracy Now! Her quote is equally valid today.

NAOMI KLEIN: You know, Amy, I don’t think we can stress this enough. Henry Paulson is one of the key people, the top people, responsible for creating the crisis that he is now claiming he will solve, you know, and this is—if we think about the 9/11 analogy and, you know, the state of shock that Americans were in after 9/11 and the emergence of Rudy Giuliani as the savior—and, you know, people have so much regret about that. And in the book, I write about this as the state of regression that we go into when we’re frightened. And I think Henry Paulson has really been cast in this role as an economic Rudy Giuliani, saving the day, impartial, bipartisan, a strong leader.

I found this article in BusinessWeek that ran when Paulson was appointed to the Treasury, and I just want to read you one sentence, because I think it’s all we need to know about Henry Paulson. This is from BusinessWeek, when he got the appointment as Treasury Secretary in 2006. The headline of the article is “Mr. Risk Goes to Washington.” It says, “Think of Paulson as Mr. Risk. He’s one of the key architects of a more daring Wall Street, where securities firms are taking greater and greater chances in [their] pursuit of profits. By some key measures, the securities industry is more leveraged now than it was at the height of the 1990s boom.”

Then it goes on to say that when Paulson took over Goldman Sachs in 1999, they had $20 billion in debts. When he—in these high-risk gambles. When he left, they had $100 billion, which means he took their risk level from $20 billion to $100 billion. So it is absolutely no exaggeration to say that Henry Paulson, far from speaking for Main Street, is actually bailing out his colleagues for some of the very debts that he himself accumulated. This is an extraordinary conflict of interest.

I would say that a fox was watching the chicken coop, but foxes are too clever for this metaphor to really work.

I still can't believe this sick joke is Obama's chief economic adviser. Summers was the architect of the economic equivalent of the Minnesota bridge collapse: Bill Clinton's trade and deregulation policies. Anyone who took the trouble of reading an American History book that covers the 20th Century would have known that unregulated financial markets were the main cause of the Crash of 1929, which was a major cause of the Great Depression. No responsible economist would have supported the lunatic economics of Bill Clinton's misadministration.



  1. I'm pretty much a fan of Bill.... But I have to agree your assessment and criticism is fair...

  2. Lew Scannon Says:
  3. This is what politics has become all about, the transfer of wealth into the hands of the few at the expense and enslavement to debt of the many.



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