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Obama Attacks ‘Fat Cats’ Before Meeting

From a cheering Associated Press:


Obama pushing banking execs on protection agency

By PHILIP ELLIOTT and DANIEL WAGNER (AP)

December 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is asking bank executives to support his efforts to tighten the financial industry, while bankers are prepared to tell the president he should stop oversimplifying their concerns if he wants good-faith collaboration.

An hour-long meeting between the president and the nation’s top financial firms was shaping up to be a tense White House encounter on Monday, not least because of Obama’s description of bankers on the eve of the talks as "fat cats."

Administration officials described the meeting as a continuation of discussions the president initiated early in his tenure and the latest push for lenders to take greater responsibility as the nation combats an economic crisis that began on Wall Street.

Specifically: Wall Street should fall in line with Obama and back a proposal for a consumer protection agency that cleared the House last week.

"I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama told CBS’s "60 Minutes" in an interview that broadcast Sunday.

Financial industry officials braced for Obama’s tough tone. They planned to press a conciliatory message and highlight areas where they agree with the administration while smoothing over their differences.

But the executives also planned to stand up to the president on issues where they feel his statements oversimplify their positions — particularly the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency — according to people familiar with their thinking who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the plans.

"He can say what he wants, but we’re not going to go back to the kind of lending that put us in this mess," said a person who is helping prepare executives for the meeting. A dozen executives were on the list of those coming, from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of New York Mellon Corp., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., U.S. Bancorp , JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and more.

A leading Obama aide, David Axelrod, said Monday the faceoff with the industry has been needed.

"It’s a big concern," he said on ABC’s "Good Morning America."

He said Obama’s message will be, "You guys were part of the problem. You helped create an economic crisis … but now you have to be part of the solution and you have to accelerate lending to credible small businesses."

Axelrod said the American people "are not going to tolerate a situation where the bankers have a party, the taxpayers pick up the tab. … They (the bankers) have a stake in seeing this economy grow as well and the president is going to make that case." Axelrod said that Obama also is "going to talk to them about financial reform to avoid the kind of situation we saw in the last couple of years that brought about this crisis."

Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele said Monday that Obama "should recognize that banks aren’t going to lend money to people who won’t pay them back. Banks can open the floodgates of cash, but you have inability of small business owners to pay back the loans."

Steele said on NBC’s "Today" show that less regulation would return many small businesses to profitablity [sic].

"They’re up against the wall," he said, with regulations coming from the state and national governments. "Let’s eliminate the capital gains tax, reduce the unemployment tax, and give some incentives for small businesses."

Bankers expected the regulatory overhaul to provide the meeting’s most contentious moments. They believe the president has mischaracterized them as being against the new rules, when in fact they support the vast majority of the administration’s proposals.

"These same banks who benefited from taxpayer assistance … are fighting tooth and nail with their lobbyists up on Capitol Hill, fighting against financial regulatory control," Obama said in the "60 Minutes" interview.

One industry official said Obama is viewed as trying to paint the debate as either "You’re with us or you’re against us." The industry official said bankers did not view it that simply.

"We want him to know we have the same goals, but disagree about how to get there," the official said…

Administration officials said Obama would use a populist appeal when discussing pay for top executives at bailed-out institutions. Distaste for Wall Street remains high and Obama took a public shot at the banks in his interview.

"They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks," he said. "Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down 10, 20 million dollar bonuses after America went through the worst economic year … in decades and you guys caused the problem."

Isn’t it funny how we constantly hear about how much money bankers have made during the recession, but only recently has it been reported (by the lowly USA Today) how federal employees salaries have skyrocketed during the last two years.

And there are a heck of a lot more federal employees than there are bank CEOs.

Moreover, banks still have to answer to their stockholders, whereas the federal government answers to no one.

And if anyone "caused the problem," it was people like Mr. Obama and his foot soldiers in the federal government, who enforce his diktats.

Administration officials described the meeting as a continuation of discussions the president initiated early in his tenure and the latest push for lenders to take greater responsibility as the nation combats an economic crisis that began on Wall Street.

Were these continuations of the discussions where Obama said that he alone stood between the ‘fat cat CEOs’ and people with pitchforks?

"[Mr. Obama] can say what he wants, but we’re not going to go back to the kind of lending that put us in this mess," said a person who is helping prepare executives for the meeting.

That’s what they think. Mr. Obama runs the banking system now, and giving loans to his constituents who will never pay them back is going to continue to be a top priority.

After all, one of the first of Mr. Obama’s very rare accomplishments was when he worked with ACORN to successfully sue CitiBank for so-called ‘red lining.’ Never mind that another name for red-lining is "not lending money to people who simply cannot afford to repay it."

But anyone who has followed Mr. Obama’s career (meaning his words), should have long been aware of his attitude towards capitalists.

For instance, we get this glimpse in ‘Dreams From My Father,’ pages 82-83:

Late that afternoon, Marty picked me up in front of my new address and we headed south on the Skyway. After several miles, we took an exit leading into the southeast side, past rows of small houses made of gray clapboard or brick, until we arrived at a massive old factory that stretched out over several blocks.

“The old Wisconsin Steel plant.”

We sat there in silence, studying the building. It expressed some of the robust, brutal spirit of Chicago’s industrial past, metal beams and concrete rammed together, without much attention to comfort or detail. Only now it was empty and rust-stained, like an abandoned wreck. On the other side of the chain-link fence, a spotted, mangy cat ran through the weeds.

“All kinds of people used to work in the plant,” Marty said as he wheeled the car around and started back down the road. “Blacks. Whites. Hispanics. All working the same jobs. All living the same kind of lives. But outside the plant, most of them didn’t want anything to do with each other. And these are the church people I’m talking about. Brothers and sisters in Christ.”

We came to a stoplight, and I noticed a group of young white men in their undershirts, drinking beer on a stoop. A Vrdolyak poster hung in one of the windows, and several of the men began to glare in my direction. I turned to Marty.

“So what makes you think they can work together now?”

“They don’t have any choice. Not if they want their jobs back.”

As we reentered the highway, Marty began to tell me more about the organization he’d built. The idea had first come to him two years earlier, he said, when he’d read reports of the plant closings and layoffs then sweeping across South Chicago and the southern suburbs. With the help of a sympathetic Catholic auxiliary bishop, he’d gone to meet with pastors and church members in the area, and heard both blacks and whites talk about their shame of unemployment, their fear of losing a house or of being cheated out of a pension-their common sense of having been betrayed.

Eventually over twenty suburban churches had agreed to form an organization, which they named the Calumet Community Religious Conference, or CCRC. Another eight churches had joined the city arm of the organization, called Developing Communities Project, or DCP. Things hadn’t moved quite as fast as Marty had hoped; the unions hadn’t yet signed on, and the political war in the city council had proven to be a major distraction. Still, CCRC had recently won its first significant victory: a $500,000 computerized job placement program that the Illinois legislature had agreed to fund. We were on our way to a rally to celebrate this new job bank, Marty explained, the opening shot in a long-term campaign.

“It’s going to take a while to rebuild manufacturing out here,” he said. “Ten years, minimum. But once we get the unions involved, we’ll have a base to negotiate from. In the meantime, we just need to stop the hemorrhage and give people some short-term victories. Something to show people how much power they have once they stop fighting each other and start going after the real enemy.”

“And who’s that?”

Marty shrugged. “The investment bankers. The politicians. The fat cat lobbyists.”

Note that what Marty described is more or less exactly what Obama has sought to do with his own ‘community organizing’ — first in Chicago and now on the national stage as President.

And both Marty and Obama envision the same allies, the churches, the unions — and the same enemies, the investment bankers, the fat cats.

Never mind that it is those very fat cats who actually create the jobs that are in those government funded ‘job banks.’

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 14th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Obama Attacks ‘Fat Cats’ Before Meeting”

  1. BillK says:

    Mr. Obama continues his assault on success in any form other than in Government service.

    From a delighted Associated Press:

    Obama Slams ‘Fat Cat’ Bankers on Eve of Meeting

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is asking bank executives to support his efforts to tighten the financial industry, while bankers are prepared to tell the president he should stop oversimplifying their concerns if he wants good-faith collaboration…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/14/obama-slams-fat-cat-bankers-eve-meeting/

    Everything with this man is about class warfare.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,”

    He sounds so indignant. My goodness, people are so horrible as to go out there and make a living, making money. And, this is also a very telling line, based on his choice of words. Given his “brilliance” at word usage, I would think he would have avoided the colloquial construction “to be helping” and instead used, “for the purpose of” which is what any good grammarian would have chosen.

    Methinks his “shine” is wearing off completely in spots.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    Carpart (axelrod) said the American people “are not going to tolerate a situation where the bankers have a party, the taxpayers picks up the tab….”

    Where is the outrage while the demoturd “FAT CATS” have a party and the taxpayers pick up the tab?
    The gall these wanderlust have trying to present themselves as fleck free!!

  4. GetBackJack says:

    well, hell.

    Nobody likes bankers. That’s a given. And most bankers I’ve known are indeed fat.

    But don’t be hatin’.

  5. theforgottenman says:

    yep. 10 years later, all the industrial buildings that Barack and Marty drove past are all humming away with people from all colors of the rainbow living the American dream in harmony

  6. proreason says:

    He has run out of devils to demonize.

    Now he’s going back for a second bite of the apple with bankers.

    Auto execs would be next up, wouldn’t they? Then in order, Rush, Tea Partiers, Health Insurers, doctors, Republicans, racists, policemen, Fox news, businessmen, people who make over $xxx,xxx, Wall Street, lenders, “people who caused the mess”, “the party of no”, “bitter clingers”, radio station owners, and, of course, always always Bush.


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