2017-04-29 15:02:20 UTC
Ask all the bankers he jailed for fraud.
27/04/2017 05:47 SAST | Updated 27/04/2017 05:47 SAST
And this, is from the Huffington Post!!!!
"The rumors are true: Former President Barack Obama will receive $400,000 to
speak at a health care conference organized by the Wall Street firm Cantor
It should not be a surprise. This unseemly and unnecessary cash-in fits a
pattern of bad behavior involving the financial sector, one that spans Obama’s
entire presidency. That governing failure convinced millions of his onetime
supporters that the president and his party were not, in fact, playing for
their team, and helped pave the way for President Donald Trump. Obama’s Wall
Street payday will confirm for many what they have long suspected: that the
Democratic Party is managed by out-of-touch elites who do not understand or
care about the concerns of ordinary Americans. It’s hard to fault those who
come to this conclusion.
Obama refused to prosecute the rampant fraud behind the 2008 Wall Street
collapse, despite inking multibillion-dollar settlement after
multibillion-dollar settlement with major firms over misconduct ranging from
foreclosure fraud to rigging energy markets to tax evasion. In some cases,
big banks even pleaded guilty to felonies, but Obama’s Justice Department
allowed actual human bankers to ride into the sunset. Early in his
presidency, Obama vowed to spend up to $100 billion to help struggling
families avert foreclosure. Instead, the administration converted the relief
plan into a slush fund for big banks, as top traders at bailed-out firms
were allowed to collect six-figure bonuses on the taxpayers’ dime.
Nothing forced Obama to govern this way. Had he truly believed that
prosecuting bankers for obvious criminal fraud would cause an economic
collapse, Obama would, presumably, have tried to radically reshape the
financial sector. He did not. His administration’s finance-friendly policies
damaged the economic recovery and generated a new cohort of Trump voters. As
Nate Cohn of The New York Times has demonstrated, nearly one-fourth of Obama’s
white working-class supporters in 2012 flipped for Trump in 2016. Racism and
misogyny were surely part of Trump’s appeal, but not all two-time Obama
voters turned to Trump out of bigotry alone.
It’s easier for Democrats to denounce Trump supporters as morally unworthy
individuals than to consider whether governing failures in the Obama era
contributed to Trump’s popularity. In the final years of his presidency,
Obama made clear that he wanted to be remembered as a great Democratic
reformer — a leader who expanded access to health care and embodied the
humane, egalitarian side of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.
But the disconnect between this progressive vision and his Wall Street
record is not trivial. The Obama foreclosure plan hurt families. Refusing to
punish financial crime has encouraged more of it. Workers are still digging
out from the economic wreckage caused by too-big-to-fail banks in 2008, and
those banks are bigger today than they were during the meltdown. Wealth
accrues to a tiny population of bank executives and shareholders instead of
flowing to households. Society is more unequal, and the prospects for
progress depend on a financial sector fraught with unnecessary systemic
This risk is not confined to the Trump presidency. Obama once called
economic inequality “the defining challenge of our time,” but Democratic
leaders have been steadfastly aligning their own personal fortunes with the
very elites the system is rigged to favor. Throughout her 2016 presidential
campaign, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was dogged by the
millions of dollars in speaking fees she courted from major financial
institutions after leaving the State Department. Her primary opponent, Sen.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), mocked a Clinton speech to Goldman Sachs, saying it
must have been a “world-shattering” talk “probably written in Shakespearean
prose.” She never had a good answer to questions about these talks during
debates, and eventually she resorted to invoking the twisted logic of the
Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United decision in an effort to deflect
accusations of corruption.
Clinton and her husband were worth over $100 million at the time. But a few
million dollars between elites is not considered that big a deal in the
Washington social scene. The money is an instrument of influence, rather
than wealth ― a way of maintaining status, of exercising informal,
unofficial, but very real power. It is a relationship incompatible with
small-d democratic principles.
Sanders was not able to derail Clinton’s primary campaign with this
critique. And die-hard Democrats will doubtless find ways to excuse or
overlook Obama’s decision to follow in Clinton’s buckraking footsteps.
Professional Democrats have admired Obama for many reasons despite his
financial policy failures, and a few hundred grand will not make them
reconsider this judgment. But the Goldman Sachs issue was a serious problem
for Clinton during the general election, feeding right-wing narratives that
she and her husband were fundamentally corrupt (not to be confused with the
fairy tales about her killing Vince Foster and four Americans in Benghazi).
Obama isn’t running for office again, but his sellout sends even uglier
signals to the electorate. Clinton had very limited policy power over the
financial sector during her time at the State Department. Obama, on the
other hand, had plenty. Voters could be forgiven for seeing a president cash
out to Wall Street at the end of his term and concluding that maybe he wasn’t
immune to those considerations when he was making policy in office.
“Regardless of venue or sponsor, President Obama will be true to his values,
his vision, and his record,” Obama spokesman Eric Schultz told HuffPost in a
written statement. “He recently accepted an invitation to speak at a health
care conference in September, because, as a president who successfully
passed health insurance reform, it’s an issue of great importance to him.
With regard to this or any speech involving Wall Street sponsors, I’d just
point out that in 2008, Barack Obama raised more money from Wall Street than
any candidate in history ― and still went on to successfully pass and
implement the toughest reforms on Wall Street since FDR.”
It is impossible to know what the 2010 Wall Street reform law would have
looked like had Obama not received loads of campaign money from the
financial sector. Maybe he would have broken up the banks. Maybe he would
have reinstated Glass-Steagall. Campaign finance regulations -- which the
vast majority of Democratic voters support -- would be unnecessary if
political leaders were not influenced by campaign contributions.
What’s most baffling about Obama’s $400,000 payday is the fact that he doesn’t
need the money. He and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama,
reportedly received $65 million from Penguin Random House for their memoirs.
He is an excellent writer who has already written two best-selling books,
and he’ll receive a handsome $200,000 pension from the federal government
every year for the rest of his life. Several generations of Obamas will be
financially secure. His legacy is not nearly as safe.
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