Benny's World

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Financial Elite Are Bankrupting Our Gov't With Larry Summers' Help

BW Reader Cherbium posted this bit of news (from HuffPo) on another thread. I am republishing it on this thread, along with hers, my, and Glenn Greenwald's comments.

Summers Received Hundreds Of Thousands In Speaking Fees From TARP Recipients

(Larry Summers is not being investigated. He is being embraced. )

Barack Obama's chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees last year from firms that have direct financial interests before the government or are intimately involved in the White House's bank relief programs.

The White House released late Friday the personal financial disclosure forms of many high-ranking administration officials. The document provided for Summers, who serves as one of the president's closest confidants, underscores just how close some of these officials are to the industry over which they now have oversight.

Among the firms that paid Summers large amounts in speaking fees include J.P. Morgan Chase. That bank offered the former Harvard president and Treasury Secretary $67,500 for a February 1, 2008 engagement. It has received $25 billion in government bailout funds.

Citigroup, which has received $50 billion in taxpayer help, paid Summers $45,000 for a speech in March 2008 and another $54,000 for a speech that May.

Goldman Sachs, which has received $10 million in bailout funds, paid Summers $135,000 for a speech on April 16, 2008 and another $67,500 for a speech on June 18, 2008.

Summers also received about $5.2 million over the past year in salary from the major hedge fund D.E. Shaw. (note from Benny: many folks have worked for hedge fund companies, including JRE, but not for this much money)

The speech payments will undoubtedly raise questions as to the impartiality of the economic advice Summers is providing to the president. Already viewed as too favorably disposed to Wall Street interests, the lavish payments for speeches will provide further fodder for those who think the administration has been forgiving in their approach to the banking industry.

In a prepared statement, spokesman Ben LaBolt said that, "From the first days of the administration, we have bolstered accountability over banks and reformed the TARP process so that taxpayers can see how their money is being spent, the influence of lobbyists is curbed, executive compensation is reined in, and firms are required to show how they will preserve or expand lending using government funds. Dr. Summers has been at the forefront of this administration's work to shore up our nation's financial system and to put in place a regulatory framework that will strengthen the financial system and its oversight - all in an effort to help the families across America who have paid a very steep price for risky decisions made by Wall Street executives."

Below is a list of the notable speeches given by Summers last year, the amount he was paid, and the date of the address. Further down is a PDF of Summers' Personal Financial Disclosure form, released on late Friday afternoon. Tell us what you see.

Skagen Funds, $60,300, (1/9/2008)

Skagen Funds, $60,300, (1/10/2008)

Skagen Funds, $59,400, (1/11/2008)

JP Morgan, $67,500, (2/1/2008)

Itinera Institute, $62,876 (1/8/2008)

Citigroup, $45,000 (3/3/2008)

Goldman Sachs Co., $135,000, (4/16/2008) --and as Glenn Greenwald noted, that was for one day.

Associon de Bancos de Mexico, $90,000, (4/3/2008)

Lehman Brothers, $67,500, (4/17/2008)

State Street Corporation, $45,000, (4/18/2008)

Siguler Guff & Company, $67,500, (5/7/2008)

Hudson Institute, $10,000, (05/28/2008)

Citigroup, $54,000, (5/30/2008)

Investec Bank, $157,500, (6/13/2008)

Goldman Sachs, $67,500, (6/18/2008)

Lehman Brothers, $67,500, (7/30/2008)

Tata Consultance Services, $67,500, (9/21/2008)

State Street Corporation, $112,500, (10/2/2008)

McKinsey and Company, $135,000, (10/19/2008)

Charles River Ventures LLC, $67,500, (11/112008)

Pricewaterhouse Coopers, $67,500 (9/9/2008)

American Chamber of Commerce In Argentina, $135,000 (10/7/2008)

American Express, $67,500 (5/7/2008)

Greenwald also observed:

And the payment was made at a time -- in April, 2008 -- when everyone assumed that the next President would either be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and that Larry Summers would therefore become exactly what he now is: the most influential financial official in the U.S. Government (and the $45,000 Merrill Lynch payment came 8 days after Obama's election). Goldman would not be able to make a one-day $135,000 payment to Summers now that he is Obama's top economics adviser, but doing so a few months beforehand was obviously something about which neither parties felt any compunction. It's basically an advanced bribe. And it's paying off in spades. And none of it seemed to bother Obama in the slightest when he first strongly considered naming Summers as Treasury Secretary and then named him his top economics adviser instead (thereby avoiding the need for Senate confirmation), knowing that Summers would exert great influence in determining who benefited from the government's response to the financial crisis.

Yes, the Financial elite owns our government, and that is why it is taking all of our money. Might as well nationalize the damn banks, get rid of the idiots who made it crash, not just saving it from further ruin, and sell the good assets. Either that or let AIG go into bankruptcy. Either way, Larry Summers is behind this gig, and something is smelling pretty rotten with Geithner too.

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Tears in Heaven

For my mother who passed away on March 29, 2009...(h/t Bubbamonics at DK).

First a poem:

Now that I am gone,
remember me with smiles and laughter.
And if you need to cry,
cry with your brother or sister
who walks in grief beside you.
And when you need me,
put your arms around anyone
and give to them what you need to give to me.
There are so many who need so much.
I want to leave you something --
something much better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I've known
or helped in some special way.
Let me live in your heart
as well as in your mind.
You can love me most
by letting your love reach out to our loved ones,
by embracing them and living in their love.
Love does not die, people do.
So, when all that's left of me is love,
give me away as best you can.

And the song by Eric Clapton:

I like the video, even if it is about a parent lamenting about the loss of a child instead of the other way I feel. This song is also for John and Elizabeth Edwards as they lost their first son on this date in 1996. If anyone would like to remember my mother and Wade Edwards, please donate to the Wade Edwards Learning Lab. My mother was a teacher at heart, and she would want to see high schoolers advance their education by a more level playing field.

Diaries to come this weekend about my mother.

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