Saturday, April 4, 2009

Barack Obama, Larry Summers, Rich, Powerful People

Right up front, I have nothing against rich people, so this isn't about that. What this is about is one of the funniest quotes I've heard in a long time...well, the funniest quote, seriously said. Bloomberg is talking today about Larry Summers, who is one of those rich, powerful people. Summers, and people like him, (like the many around the Obama White House) propose a quandary for Obama.

Larry Summers
Lawrence Summers has a long history as a government official, an academic and an adviser of some of the world's largest private companies. He was the Secretary of the Treasury for the last years of the Clinton administration. He served as the 27 president of Harvard University. He is the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. Currently, Summers is the director of President Obama's National Economic Council. Reports this week show that Summers received $5 million from hedge fund, D.E. Shaw & Company, over the past 16 months, where he served as a managing director. His public speaking fees are handsome also, reported to be $2.7 million; Citigroup among those offering him a stage and speaker's podium. So we have a member of the Obama administration who speaks to many big banks and corporations, and does what? Motivate them, teach them, advise them...on what? Must be the economy because he is said to be an "American Economist." You can see his impressive resume above. As the Director of Obama's National Economic Council, Ben LaBolt, a White House spokesman says that Summers' job is to "put in place a regulatory framework that will strengthen the financial system." This begs the question, did Summers ever chastise, sound the siren, or blow the whistle on the regulatory framework that allowed our financial institutions to "frame" the American people, and take our retirement funds down the bowels of financial sewers with them? Or did he make his money advising CEO's how to convince shareholders to turn-over the matter of salary and bonus to the Chief Executive's office? What exactly was he getting paid for? Now for the funny-serious quote: A Political Science Professor at Iowa State University, ponders rich and powerful people in the White House and concludes:
[Obama’s] “choice going forward is to choose unknowns of modest means who may be less controversial in terms of their connections,” Schmidt said. “Except those people would be far less knowledgeable and thus less of an asset to fix these very same urgent problems.”
He's right, of course. Nobodies aren't going to get nowhere until they become somebodies. That's as it should be in matters of real import. The problem is, we have no one in the financial realm we can trust. It is a quandary for those of us not rich and powerful. It is not a quandary for Barack Obama. He has to be taught, because he knows less than you and I, of what makes America great, and what constitutes the moral rich and powerful among us. His personnel pool is limited because he has limited himself to an advisory board of others, rich and powerful, each being paid to assist him in redistributing what you and I have, as seen in Obama's stimulus package. I do have one clue about some of Summers' teachings, while speaking. He postulated that statistically, women may not be as equal as men (meaning we have a "lesser aptitude") in math and science. He resigned as president of Harvard University shortly after this revelation. These talented rich and powerfuls who receive enormous speaking fees might want to actually teach something that demands their salary. Having said that, I'm all for anyone paying any amount for a service that is deemed by them to be okay. That decision should not be up to anyone else. I do object, however, to the White House placing that same person over masterminding "regulatory framework" to fix the economy, that he probably had a part in bringing down - feathering his nest, and cohabiting with the rich and powerful, to take what you can get, and get now. Maybe I'm wrong. It's just a speculation - like that one about women and their aptitudes.

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