There has been a feeling in some quarters (not mine, of course) that President Obama has been holding back. If that was true, it is true no longer, I'd say. In the last couple of days we've seen two pretty bold moves on his part, not that he expected anybody to notice.
First, the idea that he was holding back on handing the last remnants of our economy over to the banksters. This idea apparently arose because for a short time, according to Matt Taibbi (via Mark G), Wall Street Timmy and Larry the Lump were superceded by Main Street champion Christine Romer, Chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, and Paul Volcker, the Anti-Bernanke. The difference between the principals is stark.
"Everyone agrees that the recession is over." - Larry Summers, director of the National Economic Council
"Of course not." - Outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer, when asked if the recession was over.
The two senior White House economic advisers made their comments on the same day.
The reason for Romer-Volcker's temporary ascendancy was, according to Matt's informants, of all things, Scott Brown.
[W]hile the Geithner/Summers/Rubin clan briefly fell out of sight after Scott Brown's big win last winter, and relative liberals like Paul Volcker and Romer briefly got more room to push their views with Obama, that situation had reversed itself by late spring and Geithner/Summers once again had the presidential ear on economic matters more or less exclusively.
I personally don't remember any such switcheroo, at least with regard to Wall Street Timmy. And Larry the Lump has been keeping a fairly low profile anyway what with his anti-female and anti-education record at Harvard that he doesn't want people digging up and throwing in his face again. But maybe.
Romer, an economics professor at the University of California (Berkeley) before taking the key admin post, did not respond to repeated calls to her office.
"She has been frustrated," a source with insight into the WH economics team said. "She doesn't feel that she has a direct line to the president. She would be giving different advice than Larry Summers [director of the National Economic Council], who does have a direct line to the president."
"She is ostensibly the chief economic adviser, but she doesn't seem to be playing that role," the source said. The WH has been pounded for its faulty forecast that unemployment would not top 8% after its economic stimulus proposal passed.
I think that's unfair. After all, Wall Street is hiring again and that's who the stimulus was for, so I think you have to count that a SUCCESS!
The second little tidbit was a report that Obama is planning to make the world safe for arms dealers - safe from annoying regulations, that is - in an attempt to grab a bigger piece of the worldwide war profiteer market.
The United States is currently the world biggest weapons supplier - holding 30 per cent of the market - but the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.
President Barack Obama already has taken the first steps by tucking new language into the Iran sanctions bill signed in early July. His aides are now compiling the "munitions list," which regulates the sale of military items.
The administration's stated reason for the changes is to simplify the sale of weapons to U.S. allies, but potential spinoffs include generating business for the U.S. defense industry, creating jobs and contributing to Obama's drive to double U.S. exports by 2015.
Obama's plan, according to top officials, is to ask Congress to streamline the bureaucratic process for approving arms sales by setting up a single new agency to oversee one list of exportable weapons, "tiered" according to the sensitivity of the technology. Currently the State and Commerce Departments maintain separate lists, and the State Department list contains many restrictions.
"Our aim is to make the system more transparent, efficient, and effective," said Ben Chang, a White House spokesman. "This means we are improving our ability to administer our controls, which improves our ability to enforce them, and equally important, improves the ability of companies to comply."
I can't wait to see what kind of pretzels Democrat Obama supporters will twist themselves into trying to spin this one. I'm guessing they'll concentrate on the last two, especially JOBS!!!! You know, like the Pubs used to do when they were jamming stuff like the B1 Bomber down our throats when the AF didn't even want it (but the MIC contractors did).
Yup, Making us the #1 Arms Dealers of the Universe is a worthy goal. Just think of all the bankers it will keep off the street! Sure beats making sure all those people who lost jobs (130,000 disappeared in July alone) have something to eat -
To me the interesting thing about Christina Romer's story is that she decided to leave at exactly the same time a horrific piece of news about jobless claims came out. The country lost 131,000 jobs in July, a much bigger number than anyone expected, and the key reason seems to be that the Obama administration made faulty calculations in its effort to boost unemployment via the government till - the end of Census jobs was apparently a major killer in the recent job stats. "The private sector is still hobbled," said Robert A. Dye, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, "and certainly is not nearly strong enough to overcome the drain on the government side."
- or helping all those people still facing foreclosure because the banksters aren't interested in helping if it's going to cost them even a single penny of the $1000's they think they've got coming to them.
In the first half of 2010, more than 1.6 million U.S. properties were hit with foreclosure filings, which include bank repossessions, default notices and auction sale notices. That's up 8 percent from the first six months of 2009 and puts the U.S. on pace to top 3 million filings this year. That includes more than a million bank repossessions, and while sub-prime borrowers and bad loans led the surge in foreclosures in 2008 and 2009, this year's wave comes from homeowners who've lost their jobs.
The numbers reflect the widespread and continued fragility of local housing markets amid what's largely a jobless recovery. They also raise questions about the effectiveness of programs designed to fight foreclosures, such as the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program.
I would suggest they don't raise questions so much as they answer the ones we've already asked.
But hey, it's a lot sexier to blow shit up for piles of $$$ than it is to work hard and fight banksters so some lazy turd can keep his house. You don't get profiled on Fox for that. And isn't that what this is all about?
'Cause otherwise it makes no rational sense a'tall.
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