Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, and former Clinton Treasury Secretary, said the admin's hands were tied about blocking bonuses because of the sanctity of contracts. Yet the admin made contract changes part of auto workers and mortgage bailouts. He is just protecting his Wall St. cronies and should be fired.
Like many progressives, I was more than a little dismayed when the guys Obama picked to run his economic program were Wall Streeters who had worked for Bill Clinton but advocated and enacted many of the deregulatory and trade practices that gutted our economy.
But I hoped that those who said Obama needed insider technicians to affect change were right. Now after months of bailouts on terms the Bush administration could have written, that is no terms at all just a blank check, it is clear that the defenders of those choices were dead wrong.
The breaking point came this weekend when Larry Summers, Director of the National Economic Council, and former Clinton Treasury Secretary, said on This Week with George Stephanopoulos that the administration's hands were tied about blocking bonuses because of the sanctity of contracts.
As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, the administration eventually got around this sanctity when it came to allowing bankruptcy judges to renegotiate bad mortgages, had no trouble asking autoworkers to make contract concessions, and I would add that Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, had no problem ignoring contracts when he fired schools full of teachers at a time in Chicago, and his merit pay proposal, if enacted, would gut many contracts.
The corporate honchos on Wall Street likewise had no problem figuring out how to break contracts themselves when they wanted to raid employees pensions.
In spite of their loud protests about the AIG bonuses, Obama's economic team isn't moving too fast to actually stop their payout or other abuses of taxpayer provided bailout money. Their creative solutions seem to be limited to writing blank checks to guys they were were working with and for just a few months ago.
Could it be that some contracts are more sacred than others?
Isn't it looking more and more like Summers, Rubin, and company are there not to reform Wall Street but to protect their buddies back at their firms from real change and punishment for the historic damage caused by greed?
Recently, a story said that the Obama administration is bracing for a populist backlash to all the bailouts. Instead of bracing for the backlash, he could prevent it by starting to take actions that show Wall Street is not being allowed to dictate their own punishment and reform.
He should not only fire Larry Summers, he should grab him by the collar, drag him out the front door of the White House and kick his ass off the porch.
If the rest of his economic team continues to bow and scrape to the various perfumed princes, trust fund babies, and sociopaths on Wall Street, they should be given the same shoe leather pink slip in short order.
The public needs to see some heads on pikes, and if Obama can't bring himself to do it to those on Wall Street, he could at least do it to their apologists in his own administration.