Finally, it’s Friday!
Still overcast and a bit warm this early morning here on California’s north coast as we continue our falling way into the fall season — we did get some sunshine yesterday, but it was well into the late afternoon. Today must be another spoiler.
Beyond the Syria entanglements and the “Biblical” flooding in Colorado, this was some way-ugly news: US President Barack Obama will name former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper said on Friday.
(Illustration found here).
One of the biggest assholes on the American political scene in a generation, Summers keeps Obama on the old and well-beaten financial path that led to the 2008 money meltdown, which by the way, Summers helped orchestrate a near decade early. Obama seems to be moving from just being a disappointment to major turd.
Mother Jones picks apart the pieces:
Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ consulting gig with the banking behemoth Citigroup could come back to haunt him if he is nominated to succeed Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve.
Bernanke’s term expires in January, and Summers and Janet Yellen, the central bank’s vice-chair, appear to be front-runners for the post, with media reports suggesting that President Barack Obama is fond of the controversy-prone Summers.
If appointed, Summers might have to remove himself from consultations on penalties levied against Citi for things like sketchy foreclosure practices and inadequate anti-money-laundering protections.
Nor would he be able to vote on post-financial crisis rules that Congress ordered the Fed to draft, including restrictions on CEO pay and guidelines for how much emergency capital Citi has to keep on its books.
(The Fed board votes on all regulations, mergers, and applications to form new banks; it has voted 20 times so far in 2013. Penalty decisions are often delegated to staff or regional reserve banks, but the board consults on them.)
But it’s difficult to see how working “on a rule that affects only Citi and its largest competitors” wouldn’t constitute a potential conflict of interest for Summers, says Marcus Stanley, policy director at the advocacy group Americans for Financial Reform.
Michael Greenberger, an expert on financial markets and professor at the University of Maryland school of law, agrees: “Whatever he does for everybody, he does for Citigroup.”
“Even if there’s not a formal conflict,” Greenberger adds, “there is an appearance of conflict.”
I’m not the only one who thinks Summers is an asshole. Yesterday, some attendees at a forum marking the five-year anniversary of the 2008 financial panic didn’t mince words.
Via the Wall Street Journal:
Ted Kaufman, who served as U.S. senator from Delaware in 2009 and 2010, recounted how Mr. Summers personally lobbied him to rethink an amendment to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The failed amendment would have limited the size of large banks.
“The fact that there isn’t riots in the streets with the idea of Larry Summers heading the Fed is an indication of how deep our problem is,” Mr. Kaufman told the crowd at George Washington University, referring to the “problem” of Americans not being aware of how government policies toward Wall Street have changed since 2008.
Mr. Kaufman also noted that Mr. Summers played a role in the Clinton-era initiative to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999.
That law had required banks to separate their commercial lending arms from investment banking, a combination that Great Depression-era lawmakers viewed as a factor of the 1929 financial panic.
Neil Barofsky, a former inspector general overseeing the Treasury Department’s response to the financial crisis, named Mr. Summers as one of a number of government officials who have faced a “staggering lack of accountability” for their role in the policies that underpinned the crisis.
At the Fed job, Mr. Summers would be viewed as someone “who we know will bail out” large banks, thanks to his role in implementing the rescues of teetering financial firms in 2009 as director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, Mr. Barofsky said.
All this shit the Obama White House knows about — hence their response this morning about the Summers’ appointment: White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a tweet Friday that “the latest rumors this morning in the Japanese press aren’t true” and that Obama “has not yet made a decision on Fed Chair.”
We all know what you did last, Summer.
You’re hog meat!