The Wall Street bailout was the root of all evil. Or at least a lot of it.
Ever since Adam ate that apple, people have struggled against the evil that rushed into the world. And ever since the fall of 2008 when the feds bailed out the banks, President Obama has had to fight the bad political karma left over from the Wall Street rescue.
President Obama has almost no chance of getting Congress to approve the vital jobs initiatives he proposed this week. And the opposition to his initiatives, which are so vital to economic growth, is the residue of President Bush’s Temporary Assistance Rescue Program, which candidate Obama favored and the Democratic Congress approved.
Opponents of President Obama’s domestic policy proposals, including the Tea Party and the Party of Tea (the GOP) have used the bank and billionaire bailout as an an example of the bad things that happen when the federal government intervenes in the free market. Sure the banks survived, but no one did anything to help the millions of Americans who lost their jobs and their homes during the same period. Sure the banks prospered and they are now awash in profits, but the banks did not use the money to free up the credit that the economy so desperately needs.
Citibank used millions of TARP dollars to secure the naming rights to the new ballpark for the New York Mets. And while Citibank is now very profitable, the economy for most Americans is as bad as the Mets are.
A lot of the Tea Party members are people who lost jobs or pensions in the Bush recession and are angry that the feds did a lot for financial fat cats but nothing for them. My guess is that there wouldn’t be a Tea Party if there hadn’t been a bank bailout. President Obama exacerbated the situation when he brought Timothy Geithner, one of the architects of the bailout, into his cabinet as secretary of the Treasury.
Barack Obama and congressional Democrats share in the blame for the opposition to vital economic programs that the country badly needs. The failure of Democrats to take a populist stand against Wall Street poisoned the well for President Obama’s economic agenda. When Democrats bit into the corporate apple in the fall of 2008, they created many of the problems which they are dealing with now.
- Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.
- See a list of the finance and credit industry’s favorite lawmakers.
- See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.