Obama Gets Snubbed by Wall Street

June 17th, 2011 at 12:20 am David Frum | 53 Comments |

| Print

In the Clinton and Bush years, it often seemed that Wall Street and the super-rich were aligning themselves with the Democratic Party.

Not any more.

Obama and his top lieutenants are working hard to win back Wall Streeters to their side after a couple of years of tension in the wake of Dodd-Frank.

Apparently financiers are still bitter about the banker-bashing then went on during the Fin-Reg debate.

Another less obvious reason why there’s tension, according to what one Wall Streeter told Ben White, is that “Obama is nothing like former President Bill Clinton and simply doesn’t like rich people, who in turn don’t like him very much.” That source said “the money would ultimately be there but would flow much more evenly to the GOP nominee (assuming it’s not a tea party candidate) than it did in ’08.”

By the numbers, you may wonder what the rich have to complain about. Corporate profits are up, and the S&P 500 has surpassed 2008 levels. President Obama has signed a renewal of the Bush tax cuts.

You might also wonder: Are the rich – and especially the Wall Street rich – truly so thin-skinned? Millions of Americans have lost jobs, homes, and savings in a financial crisis and recession caused by the recklessness and incompetence of some of this country’s most eminent and best-compensated financiers. Isn’t the president elected by those Americans entitled to grumble a little about the disaster?

Yet the theme is powerful. Mitt Romney includes in his stump speech a question: “Any business folks here? Well, this president doesn’t like you very much.”

I’m not positioned to assess the president’s likes and dislikes, but off-hand I’d guess that he likes rich people who support him and dislikes rich people who don’t. Politicians tend to be self-centered that way.

Meanwhile, business leaders need to be a little more hard-headed – and a lot less thin-skinned. The flow of negative regulations from a re-elected Obama administration is reason enough for business leaders to invest their political contributions against the Democrats, regardless of the president’s real or imagined feelings.

Recent Posts by David Frum



53 Comments so far ↓

  • hisgirlfriday

    [quote]you may wonder what the rich have to complain about.[/quote]

    I don’t have to wonder. I know. These deluded selfish fools really think they are masters of the universe and that their wealth is a sign that they are blessed and right. They’re all Calvinists whether they are Christian or not.

    It makes me sick that my president and his team sucks up to these leeches on our economy at all rather than call them out for the vampires and wastes they really are the way that another Democratic president in a similar situation did 75 years ago:

    “For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

    We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace–business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

    They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

    Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred.”

    • valkayec

      Wow, FDR was really a more powerful speaker than I recognized previously. It’s no wonder he won the hearts and minds of the American people over a prevailing opposition. I wish Obama could summon the same force of presence and rhetoric.

      • zephae

        Now that the right is characterized by foolish certainty and the left by timid doubt, it’s almost impossible to find those really ballsy, strong and pragmatic speakers. To me, that was what drove the Obama magic during his campaign and it never ceases to amaze me at how thoroughly that point has been forgotten.

  • valkayec

    Well, Mr. Frum, you had all the way to the last statement. I realize Wall St. doesn’t like Obama and the Dems because of FinReg. They want the freedom to go back to doing business just as they did prior to the melt-down. Jamie Dimon made that quite clear when he confronted Bernanke last week. But mostly, their feelings are hurt because the President dared to declare what most American’s were thinking: that they behaved badly; that they were greedy and destroyed the American economy and many thousands of family’s lives. They need to get over their self-indulgent egos, accept their mistakes, apologize and make restitution to win back the trust of Americans. Of course, they won’t ’cause to them most of us are just peons who only count when we can put money in their pockets. And, yes, I am bitter. The company I worked for went out of business as a result of Wall St.’s shenanigans. About 50 people lost their jobs. That’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but I knew each and every one of those people and how hard it was for them to find another job in this economic climate, especially the young people who didn’t have much experience or savings to fall back on.

    As for other business’ concern about regulations, I have two thoughts:

    1- That concern as postulated by the GOP is over-blown. Most business people with whom I’ve talked are more concerned about lack of customers and sales.

    2- The federal government is just returning to the regulations that had been overturned during the last 8 Bush years. Consequently, I love this quote from The Fiscal Times: “Just as there are limits to everything, so should there be limits (regulations) on corporations and the wealthy.”
    wafranklin

  • medinnus

    Just because he’s rolling back the de-regulation which led to the worldwide fiscal disaster doesn’t mean he’s anti-business; it means that they want to use the GOP talking point as leverage. They don’t care which party is in power, as they own them both at the end of the day.

  • Kane

    The Wall Steet financial crisis of 2008 didn’t unfold because of too much government regulation, rather it happened because there wasn’t enough regulation to keep the reckless behavior in check. As much as the Wall Street types knee-jerk response is to oppose any and all regulation, history shows that the market thrives best when there is regulation and oversight in place.

    The DJIA on January 20, 2009 was 7949.09. Today, the market closed at 11,961.52. By any measure, that is a trend of success. And when one considers the many dire predictions of the U.S. economy heading into a Second Great Depression, it is an historic accomplishment. This accomplishment could not have been reached without the sensible regulations that were put into place which provided a new confidence in the market. And yet, there are those who continue to fight to remove these very measures of regulation. It’s this shortsighted thinking that helped to drive the economy into the ditch in the first place.

  • Bunker555

    Free market fundamentalism only works for Wall Street.

  • TJ Parker

    Hey, Mister Wall Street! Is that a Boehner in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?

  • balconesfault

    Remember when the Obama Administration pushed for limits to compensation and bonuses until TARP loans were repaid?

    Remember how suddenly big financial houses were tripping all over themselves to pay back the Federal Government as fast as they could, rather than stretching out the loans while trying to make all the money disappear down a rathole?

    Do you think Wall Street appreciates having as dogged a consumer advocate like Elizabeth Warren being empowered to help protect middle class Americans at the time their spending power is at a decades-long low?

    This isn’t about whether or not Obama likes rich people.

    This is about Obama thinking that to get America out of our current financial hole, and back on a pathway we were on pre-Bush that was generating prosperity for all, and not just the wealthy – there is a certain amount of shared sacrifice needed. And that those who are best able to make some sacrifices without affecting their standards of living should be willing to do so in order to make for a better economy in the future.

    Meanwhile, for Wall Street, the short-term profit mentality that has driven trading for a few decades (and forced American companies to focus on next quarters profits, instead of long term growth) has now firmly entrenched itself in management. All Wall Street brokerages now care about is how Government will generate the greatest profits for their firms, and claim the lowest taxes on their wealth, in the very short-term horizon.

    “Sacrifice” has absolutely no place for them in this equation.

  • Raskolnik

    Just because he’s rolling back the de-regulation which led to the worldwide fiscal disaster doesn’t mean he’s anti-business; it means that they want to use the GOP talking point as leverage. They don’t care which party is in power, as they own them both at the end of the day.”

    medinnus +1

    There is a difference between regulation and over-regulation, which is similar to the difference between regulation and under-regulation. Advocating the abolition of any kind of regulation at all is sheer nonsense, and ahistorical with regard to the traditional perspective of the Republican party.

  • ottovbvs

    Go find someone in some constituency to say something negative about the president and…voila…you have a none story. Which is what this is. Is Obama currently fund raising on Wall Street? Of course. Does he have some enemies on Wall Street? Sure. Will he raise lots of money on Wall Street if for no other reason than that the street wants continued access? Of course. This is another one of these man bit dog inventions.

  • armstp

    This seems like a very thin article. First of all most on Wall Street are Republican and always have been. Second, so the author talks to a few on Wall Street and that is his evidence that Wall Street will not contribute to the Democratic Party. “…according to what one Wall Streeter told Ben White,…” One Wall Streeter is the evidence? Wall Street is very big and encompasses a lot of people and organizations. They tend to spread their money around to gain favors from both sides. They also always tend to lean toward whatever side they think will win. I suspect contributions will be down by Wall Streeters to the Democratic Party because of hard feelings, but the Democratic Party will still get their fair share.

  • Houndentenor

    So white collar criminals don’t like the president who called them on their wrongoing but never did anything to hinder their activities? What a bunch of crybabies. It’s been about 8 years since I worked for a CEO. It seems nothing has changed.

  • Smargalicious

    “Obama is nothing like former President Bill Clinton and simply doesn’t like rich people, who in turn don’t like him very much.”

    “Rich people” is codeword for White people. The man and his wife clapped and amen-ed for over 15 years listening to his preacher scream “God DAMN White America!”

    And indeed, since BHO is a reparationist and a Marxist, the feeling is returned.

  • nhthinker

    PBS Frontline blames it all on the Clinton years

    Bob Rubin
    Alan Greenspan
    Larry Summers

    and refer to their underlings like Tim Geithner

    —-

    NEWSCASTER: If AIG can’t raise $20 billion, they’ll have to announce bankruptcy tonight.

    BROOKSLEY BORN: It was my worst nightmare coming true. Nobody really knew what was going on in the market. The toxic assets of many of our biggest banks are over-the-counter derivatives and caused the economic downturn that made us lose our savings, lose our jobs, lose our homes. It was very frightening.

    JOSEPH STIGLITZ: I think to understand the crisis, you have to understand that it had many, many factors that contributed to it. But it’s absolutely clear to me that if we had restricted the derivatives, some of the major problems would have been avoided.

    TIMOTHY O’BRIEN: Had Brooksley Born been enfranchised, had Brooksley Born been listened to, had Brooksley Born been made part of the process, would that have had a different ending for what subsequently happened in the derivatives market? Certainly.

    NARRATOR: In the aftermath, one former member of the working group has had a change of heart about Brooksley Born.

    ARTHUR LEVITT: I’ve come to know her as one of the most capable, dedicated, intelligent and committed public servants that I have ever come to know. I wish I knew her better in Washington. I could have done much better. I could have made a difference.

    NARRATOR: And the others? Robert Rubin left government to join top management at CitiBank. The taxpayers have pledged more than $100 billion to keep Citi afloat. Rubin’s former deputies, Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner, have become President Barack Obama’s chief financial advisers.

    Neither Rubin nor his former deputy, Larry Summers, would speak with FRONTLINE about what happened to Brooksley Born. And Rubin’s other top deputy, Gary Gensler, now holds Brooksley Born’s former post at the CFTC. It still lacks authority to regulate OTC derivatives.

    Alan Greenspan retired from the Federal Reserve just before the crisis hit in 2006. Last year, he once again appeared before the Congress.

    RON SUSKIND: You see Greenspan at the hearing table after the collapse, and you see a crushed man, really.

    ROGER LOWENSTEIN: He said that the premise that you could trust the markets to regulate themselves was misplaced.

    Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D), California: [October 23, 2008] You have been a staunch advocate for letting markets regulate themselves. And my question for you is simple. Were you wrong?

    ALAN GREENSPAN: Yes. I found a flaw, but I’ve been very distressed by that fact.

    Rep. HENRY WAXMAN: You found a flaw in the reality.

    ALAN GREENSPAN: Flaw flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak.

    Rep. HENRY WAXMAN: In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right.

    ALAN GREENSPAN: Precisely. No, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked because I’ve been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.

    Read more: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/etc/script.html#ixzz1PWztadY9

    • ottovbvs

      Spamming again nh “thinker.” I know you’re not very bright but actually Frontline is blaming de-regulated markets… bozo. This entire piece is about that subject. And currently Republicans are trying to block the regulation of derivatives and the appointment of Warren to the consumer protection bureau. Viz.

      “Rep. HENRY WAXMAN (D), California: [October 23, 2008] You have been a staunch advocate for letting markets regulate themselves. And my question for you is simple. Were you wrong?

      ALAN GREENSPAN: Yes. I found a flaw, but I’ve been very distressed by that fact.”

      The good news here is that nh “thinker’ demonstrates his mendacity and/or stupidity yet again. The bad news is he’s learned how to import images onto this site….Agghhhhhhhhhh

      • Smargalicious

        otto, stop insulting people who you disagree with or I’ll send you to your room in the basement with no supper.

        • ottovbvs

          At ten cents a line that means you’ve just earned about 13 cents Smarg. Keep it up you’ll soon have the price of a coffee.

        • Smargalicious

          Yes, and I’m tired from all the work.

          I’m quitting to collect endless unemployment that you Democrats give out, and will buy some Starbucks foo-foo coffee with the free checks.

      • nhthinker

        Listen, BOZO-

        If you actually comprehended anything I’ve written, I’ve never once supported Wall Street’s position. Not once. In fact, I’ve pilloried Wall Street many times. It was Obama that hired nearly all the guys that Frontline said were the problem.

        Crawl back under your rock and get ready to shout “Evil Republican” without any aim.

        Piffle.

        • TerryF98

          Wow, so Wednesday you learned how to cut and paste, Thursday you learned something about formatting and today you managed to work out how to post pictures. Did you buy a copy of Internet for dummies?

          Next you need to learn how to search for things that actually have value or humor.

      • JimBob

        The King of Buffoonery has spoken

        The Myth of Financial Deregulation

        http://reason.com/archives/2009/06/19/the-myth-of-financial-deregula

        • balconesfault

          From the “Reason” article

          Ironically, it was government action that created incentives for financial firms to be less risk adverse, not a lack of regulation.

          Right. So it was government creating “incentives” for financial firms to leverage credit default swaps to ratios of 60-1 on the underlying assets … and not government failing to take heed while that massive bubble was growing and doing something to protect the economy from it … that caused the crash.

          Thanks for sharing.

        • JimBob

          Democrats created the crisis in housing when they discovered Asians had the highest rate of home ownership and whites were second. To liberals this is a sure sign bankers are racist against Blacks and Latinos. It used to take 20 percent down in order to qualify for a home loan. During the bubble years ZERO down was being pushed all across the country.. Bush even pushed it . In 2009 Republicans proposed 5 percent down and Democrats do what they always do. Scream racism. It’s like having to show a photo ID to vote. Racism Racism. People of color.

          Greenspan flooded the world with cheap money after the Dot Com bubble and 9/11. Housing boomed and financial firms bundled and sold the debt around the world.

          Refusal to enforce immigration laws created a willing cheap pool of labor and we were off to the races.

          It was all a perfect recipe for a disaster.

  • Raskolnik

    Look on the bright side, Smarg, at least you won’t have to worry about why no one wanted to work at your crappy small business any more!

  • indy

    This entire piece is about that subject.

    It’s been awhile since I’ve seen it, but I think this episode focused on Brooksley Born, who was heading the CFTC (appointed by Bill Clintion). In the late 90s, she was trying to warn anybody who would listen about the problems with derivatives. She attempted to get oversight of them into the CFTC so she could begin regulating them but Greenspan opposed her of course and the effort was doomed from the beginning.

    In all the left’s fuming about Reagan and his policies, they generally forget to mention that he appointed Greenspan, who damaged this county much more profoundly than Bush.

    • indy

      One of a series of very good articles the Times did on the financial crisis and Greenspan’s enabling of the whole thing: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/09/business/economy/09greenspan.html

      What did Greenspan learn? People are greedy. Really, you can’t make this shit up.

      • ottovbvs

        Greenspan was ultimately a disaster and yet for years he was lauded as the maestro. A bit like Bernie Madoff really. To be fair I’d say some of his earlier reputation was merited. The point at which he really started to go off the rails was when he endorsed the Bush tax cuts. Thereafter it was Easy Al all the way who didn’t see it as the job of the Fed to regulate the financial industry or prick asset bubbles and actually said so. Fundamentally he was an able man who for political reasons, or maybe fading powers, made some disastrous decisions at the end of his career. The right and the left bloviate endlessly about the culpability of Rubin and Summers in repealing Glass Steagall when in fact it was time to repeal Glass Steagall which was impairing the competitiveness of the US banks against foreign competitors. No one seriously proposes to reinstate it which is ample evidence that it was time it went. The problems arose from the fact that after repeal the Bush SEC and the Fed just abdicated oversight of the financial industry as Greenspan essentially admitted above. And he’s also done a mea culpa on the tax cuts. At least he’s been semi honest about his role which is more than you can say for right wing fanatics who are still espousing policies that their authors like Greenspan now disavow. They are still for example lying about ability of tax cuts to increase revenue, in many cases blatantly so as Bruce Bartlett shows in this piece about Pawlenty’s speech the other day. He was lying through his teeth about Reagan and the entire tax cut mantra.

        http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2011/06/17/No-Gov-Pawlenty-Tax-Cuts-Dont-Pay-for-Themselves.aspx

        • balconesfault

          The point at which he really started to go off the rails was when he endorsed the Bush tax cuts.

          The worst is the reasons WHY he endorsed the Bush tax cuts.

          He never believed the hocus pocus about trickle down, or growing the economy.

          He just showed his true colors – which was a fundamental belief in shrinking government, and feared that government actually paying down the Federal Debt would remove some of the conservative arguments against Federal Programs. Thus – debt was good.

          Idiot.

  • ottovbvs

    Crawl back under your rock and get ready to shout “Evil Republican” without any aim.

    No one can say I didn’t warn them of the dangers of nh “thinker” learning how to import pics. Was there ever a better example of the yah boo mentality of these fanatics?

    • nhthinker

      Piffle…
      Otto goes totally ad hominem because he has no rational response to any of my substantive points:
      care to try again?

      If you actually comprehended anything I’ve written, I’ve never once supported Wall Street’s position. Not once. In fact, I’ve pilloried Wall Street many times. It was Obama that hired nearly all the guys that Frontline said were the problem.

      “The right and the left bloviate endlessly about the culpability of Rubin and Summers in repealing Glass Steagall when in fact it was time to repeal Glass Steagall which was impairing the competitiveness of the US banks against foreign competitors.”

      So if a foreign bank wants to drive off a cliff, we should use the government as a backstop to let American banks drive off a cliff?

      Rubin and Summers helped greenlight the selling of financial snake oil by entities that had US Government insured assets. Thus assuring the taxpayer would become liable for cleaning up after the Ponzi schemes collapsed under the weight of the misrepresentation,(or no representation), of the snake oil.
      And for this, Obama rewarded them with more key financial power.

  • hisgirlfriday

    Greenspan is a prime example of why you should never allow Ayn Rand fanboys to determine economic policy for this country. It’s too bad the GOP hasn’t learned that lesson and is still following the economic prescriptions of the next biggest Ayn Rand fanboy in Paul Ryan.

  • rubbernecker

    Apparently financiers are still bitter about the banker-bashing then went on during the Fin-Reg debate.

    Aww, let me get out my tiniest violin.

  • bdtex

    Thin-skinned? Spoiled,egotistical brats is what they are. When you look at what the progressive wing of the Dem party wanted him to do and what Pres. Obama has done,it’s hard to say that Pres. Obama is not friendly to business and Wall Stret. I’d say he’s balanced the interests of Main Street and Wall Street fairly well. I suspect that when all is said and done,he’ll have signed legislation that forces Main Street to sacrifice more than Wall Street too. Wall Street’s attitude towards Pres. Obama is an example of their disconnect from Main Street and their elitism.

  • NRA Liberal

    You might indeed wonder what the rich have to complain about and why they seem to be so thin skinned.

    “Working the ref” is the answer. IMHO.

  • more5600

    “Capitalism has defeated communism. It is now well on its way to defeating democracy.”
    – David Korten

  • Nanotek

    Obama should take a cue from FDR.

    FDR 1936: I welcome their hatred
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9yoZHs6PsU

    • ottovbvs

      This is a knock out speech by FDR. I love the moment where he adjusts his pinz nez in anticipation of the knock out blow…..Of course ….we will do all of them…..we will do more of them….and the doing of them won’t cost anyone anything at all!

      • Smargalicious

        ^Two fools cheering on the beginning of the decline to socialism. Look where we are now beacuse of it: massive, massive debt. We are at the begininning of collapse.

        Fools.

  • nickthap

    Weird, though, how many conservatives all want to live in a permanent 1957, when the socialist state was in full-swing and we had a top tax rate of 90%. Or Maybe they all want to go back to 1927, or maybe 1860…

    • JimBob

      Do you honestly believe anyone paid a 90 percent tax rate. The code was so full of holes you could drive an 18 wheeler through it. The only thing high tax rates do is cause people to shelter their money in non productive sectors of the economy.

      • ottovbvs

        Jimbo he didn’t say anyone paid 90%, he just said the top rate was 90%. It was however not unusual for highly paid people to pay 60%. Would you like to explain how you shelter your income in non productive sectors of the economy? Or is this a secret known only to you?

  • Diomedes

    Well, I guess what these executives are saying is they dislike government intervention.

    Fair enough. Then when the sh*t hits the fan again, these Wall Street investment banks should be allowed to go under. And once that occurs, the CEOs should all be arrested and charged with criminal negligence for allowing it to happen. Every other profession (medicine, engineering) has some form of personal accountability. But not finance. Oh no. When things are good, its because they are so smart. When things are bad, its because the market ‘fluctuates’ and the government is pushing too much regulation. And when things go REALLY bad: “help! we need a bailout!”

    Pathetic.

  • think4yourself

    Meanwhile, for Wall Street, the short-term profit mentality that has driven trading for a few decades (and forced American companies to focus on next quarters profits, instead of long term growth) has now firmly entrenched itself in management. All Wall Street brokerages now care about is how Government will generate the greatest profits for their firms, and claim the lowest taxes on their wealth, in the very short-term horizon

    I don’t always agree with Balcone – but that was well said.

    I think one of hte biggest challenges in our financial situation is that publicly traded companies work on quarterly results to the detriment of both their long term financial health as well as the country. Their managers get paid on that basis and hired and fired on that basis. That means companies with millions in the bank fire good people to create short term stock appreciation rather than retraining those people for new jobs.

    One of the reasons TARP was relatively successful was that executive compensation was tied to paying it back – amazing how quickly the banks got themselves in order. Perhaps Hank Paulson should have made the payback higher, but it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback after the fact.

    I also think the unions have had the same short-term vision and when they see the corporate masters raking in millions, they use that to cut deals so that both parties hurt their respective companies and the country at large.

    BTW, I don’t think that all corporations are that way. For example Costco has worked hard to provide excellent quality at low prices, fights it’s shareholders because they pay their employees a little more than their competition (feels like they save money due to low turnover) and their founder makes $750K per year, and has a one page employment contract that says he can be fired (don’t know too many other CEO’s of 80 billion dollar companies like that).

  • ottovbvs

    I think one of hte biggest challenges in our financial situation is that publicly traded companies work on quarterly results to the detriment of both their long term financial health as well as the country.

    It was ever thus. At least in my experience of the last 45 years. Making the nut is and always has been what it is about in public companies.

  • pnumi2

    Smarg

    “We are at the beginning of collapse.”

    Smarg, always a bridesmaid and never a bride. Always the beginning of a collapse never a collapse.

    “You have been calling the begining of a collapse since I’ve been coming here. Probably for 2 1/2 years. You’re in denial about what’s going to happen to America and our economy, aren’t you?

    And the hope that you’ll be able to go back to Disneyland at least one more time is the only thing keeping you from a bad case of the shakes.

    • nhthinker

      pnumi2,

      Are you taking issue with Smarg’s pessimistic view because you feel you already patented the defeatist POV?

      http://www.frumforum.com/the-real-libya-policy-obama-wont-admit#comment-270233

      pnumi2: “I’m going to make a prediction. The National Debt will never be paid off. We will have an annual Budget Deficit forever. We will always import more than we export. However, it won’t make any difference. We are the second Rome.”

      Got your tickets to Disneyland, yet?

  • pnumi2

    Au contraire, nh, my complaint with Smarg’s pessimistic view is that it isn’t pessimistic enough. He always holds out some glimmer of hope as he does here. “We are at the beginning of a collapse.” He implies that there’s still time for The Lone Ranger or General George Custer to arrive and save the day.

    He won’t show us his ‘full monte.’ I, on the other hand, don’t hesitate to show you mine.

    ‘We’re gonna collapse; we could collapse; we might collapse; we ‘re at the beginning of a collapse.’ He’s worse than Hamlet. Either we are, Smarg, or we’re not. Make up your mind, already.

    Are we going to pay off the National Debt without monetizing it? Do we have enough oil left to grow the world’s economy until such time as the geologists, physicists, and alchemists are able to turn dirt into oil?

    Just say it, Smarg. And if you have any evidence, tell us about that, too.

    I find the worst thing about being prescient, nh, is having to wait to be proven right.

  • chephren

    Given the abuses of the financial sector and its CEOs, the institutional dishonesty that led to the credit crash and the fact that this industry has successfully fought off badly needed regulation, I only wish Obama hated business more.

    The fatuous, blinkered sense of entitlement of the CEO class, their culture of bonuses and bubble economics, is very much alive. Meanwhile, what’s left of the middle class withers away.

    NONE of the crooks and profiteers that nearly wrecked the financial system have been prosecuted. For shame.