Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Geithner: Rats in the White House

It is now apparent. Apart from all the nauseating displays of indignity and the naked hypocrisy of inept Republicans, apart from the low brow hysteria of the Glenn Beck tea-baggers, apart even from the perpetual, plaintive mewling about ideological betrayal of the political Left, there really is something pernicious and rotten in the Obama administration.  And its name appears to be Timothy Geithner.

Right-wing losers have accused the Obama administration of engaging in "class warfare."  Well, in spite of their juvenile misinterpretations of history, it is starting to look like they might be right.  At least, to an extent.  But this is where they miss the boat:  there is no White House effort to redistribute wealth downward. This is a case of the Very Rich protecting the Very Rich.   

Check this story from Bloomberg Press.  It tells an appalling tale of greed and the use of public treasure to benefit a very select group of people at the expense of everyone else. 

The story is a challenging read for anyone who does not have an LLP attached to his or her appellation, but as I understand it, Timothy Geithner's Federal Reserve Bank of New York instructed AIG (American International Group, Incorporated) not to disclose the details of the "credit swaps" conducted early last year as part of the emergency measures taken to prevent a collapse of world financial markets.  And, now that some light is being shed on what actually went down, it appears that there is good reason to want to hide those swaps.  Lo and behold, Goldman Sachs Group, Incorporated, and other huge corporate banks were repaid 100 cents on the dollar for all of those fake loans and securities that were starting to crumble underneath them.  The money came straight out of the Federal Treasury.  The same Federal Treasury of which Timothy Geithner is now Secretary.

This is big.

If the worst implications of these revelations are true, there had better be some people getting fitted with handcuffs before it's all over.  This is corruption of Bush-Cheney proportions.

Over the last two decades (or maybe even longer, who knows?), rats have infested the White House.  Rats in the form of corporate bankers and fast-talking Wall Street whiz kids.  Now that we've hit the skids, the very rats who brought about our national financial calamity are making sure that everyone else pay for it.  We get left holding the bag, while they stow away their misbegotten fortunes and go on leading us into the next disaster.

This is the last thing President Obama needs, to be sure.  But it stinks too much to ignore. At this point, I'm willing to believe that the President is not culpable in all this.  He came into office with the house on fire and he had to make a lot of decisions very quickly.  He is not connected with the Wall Street crowd and may well have been convinced by people whom he trusted that Timothy Geithner was the Man of the Hour.  After all, there are no more convincing liars anywhere in the world than the shysters on Wall Street.

But now we're starting to get a look under the White House floorboards, and the rat's nest is pretty god-damned appalling. 

The manner in which President Obama responds to this will reveal much.  And if he doesn't do the right thing, I may, at long last, resign myself to the reality that in our society, money is all that matters.  Maybe this is the way the Roman middle class felt when Marius and Sulla started the little spat that finally killed off their republic.

In that case:  Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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