In a preview of an upcoming Rolling Stone article, columnist Matt Taibbi explains how the Obama administration sold out to Wall Street interests. President Barack Obama gave key economic positions away to Wall Street insiders instead of keeping on progressive voices from his presidential campaign.
During the campaign, Obama was primarily advised by people like Austan Goolsbee from University of Chicago and Karen Kornbluh who is a well known progressive economist. Obama gets elected, the very day he gets elected those people are basically off the team and he brings in a whole bunch of people from Wall Street.
Primarily he brings in his former college buddy Michael Froman who is a Harvard classmate of Obama’s. Froman was a high-ranking Citigroup executive. He puts Froman in charge on November 5th of running the economic transition team. He was in charge of hiring people for the White House to run economic policy.
Froman also brought in Jamie Rubin to be his number two. Rubin is the son of Bob Rubin who is a big Citigroup executive as well. There’s four ways to be connected to Bob Rubin. There is Goldman Sachs where Rubin was the head of Goldman Sachs from 1990 to 1992. Then there’s the Clinton White House where he was the head of the National Economic Council and then Treasury Secretary. After he left the Clinton White House, he went on to Citigroup.
A lot of the people who ended up in the Obama White House have connections in one way or another to Bob Rubin. He had actually helped push through a law that made the Citigroup merger possible as Treasury Secretary and as soon as he did that he left the Clinton White House and went to work for Citigroup and made himself $120 million or so.
Rubin probably more than any other person — single person — was responsible for the financial crisis by deregulating the economy in the White House. He also had a major role in helping to destroy one of the world’s biggest companies. You know, Citigroup. He has like one of the worst track records you can possible find in the country and yet he was the guy who was basically the architect of the entire Obama policy. Obama put him in charge of everything. The crew that’s running the policy in the White House is basically all tied to Bob Rubin.
A couple of weeks after he hires these Citigroup people to run all those hires, they announced the Citigroup bailout which is a massive $300 billion giveaway to Citigroup. You know, it’s a total sweetheart deal for them. They don’t have to fire any executives. They barely had to give any equity to the government in the deal and Citigroup only had to eat the first $30 billion in losses in this toxic asset plan.
And as soon as that deal was announced, Froman and Jamie Rubin announced that they were hiring Timothy Geithner who had helped put together this entire bailout to the Treasury Secretary job. So, it’s basically like a quid pro quo. You give Citigroup a huge bailout and we’ll give you the Treasury Secretary job.
Watch all of Matt Taibbi’s comments below. His full story is expected in the January edition of Rolling Stone.
This video is from Rolling Stone, broadcast Dec. 1, 2009.