Thursday, February 25, 2021
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Tag: Rahm Emanuel

Money, Power, and Wall Street: Picking Up the Pieces

For three decades, the struggle to "free" the markets met with accelerating success. Regulations forged from the lessons of 1920s' excesses were discarded one after another. Simultaneously, innovation in finance provided new ways to leverage risk. Obama recognized peril in the economy, but no one perceived the imminent danger.

"We've got eight years of disastrous economic policy. That's what we're going to change when I'm President of the United States." - candidate Barack Obama

Obama realized very early in the campaign that the economy was getting worse and decided to run on that issue: 'My opponent doesn't see it and I can fix it.' He had traveled to Wall Street to push for a change in its ways.

The Cooper Union speech had been Obama's message that we have to rein in Wall Street; resume more aggressive regulation. He was talking about regulation before anyone was talking about regulation, before the writing was on the wall. Austan Goolsbee remembers that the reaction was not great, "but to his credit, it did not keep him from laying it out."

"He was talking about the idea of making sure that the ethics of Wall Street was pure and that we were doing the business that we should be doing." - Robert Wolf, Chairman UBS Americas

The third segment of the Frontline series, Money, Power, and Wall Street begins at the end of the 2008 campaign. The economy was melting. The Bush administration was leaving. The inauguration was 76 days away. This was the most eventful and consequential Presidential transition in American history. In Chicago, President elect Obama watched the economy continue to collapse. Obama was getting a real glimpse of the future: disaster was coming. In those first weeks after the election, the entire economic team he had assembled was stunned by the bad news. They had been advising him for months, warning him. Meanwhile, there was really no one in the departing administration managing it. There was no political will; no one in charge.

Rahm Emanuel Says Goodbye


There's been a great deal of discussion about Rahm Emanuel, and a lot of strong feelings. In the end, I have mixed feelings myself. As a progressive, of course I wish that Emanuel had pushed through Congress all the things I care about, from a "public option" to a strong, clean energy and climate bill, to comprehensive immigration reform, to a full repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," etc., etc. On the other hand, I don't believe that Emanuel was some sort of supernatural being who could singlehandedly/miraculously overcome the entrenched special interest groups, the implacable hostility of Republicans (and their desire, from before Day #1, for President Obama "to fail"), the de facto 60-vote requirement to pass anything through the Senate, and many other obstacles in his way.  I also don't believe that Emanuel was some sort of closet conservadem; in fact, Emanuel's record as a Congressman was highly progressive: a 100% rating by Citizens for Tax Justice; a 100% rating by NARAL; a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign; an "F" by the NRA; a 95% rating by the League of Conservation Voters; just for a few examples. So, let's put to rest the concept that Rahm Emanuel wasn't a strong progressive; by almost any score, he was.

Rahm-bo: Goal is “comprehensive energy bill” that tackles “carbon pollution”


Earlier today on ABC's "This Week," after blasting BP and its apologists in the Republican Party ("That is a philosophy. That is an approach to what they see. They see the aggrieved party here as BP, not the fishermen."), White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (alias, "Rahm-bo") had this to say about a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill:
"[Senators meeting at the White House this Wednesday] know the president's perspective...[Obama's] goal now, now that the House passed a bill, is to get the Senate to pass a comprehensive energy bill that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, makes key investments in the areas of alternative energy so America leads in that space, and deals fundamentally with the environmental degradation that happens from carbon pollution."
Sounds good to me, just make it happen Rahm-bo!  

In related news, Joe Lieberman weighs in as well, claiming "there are 50 senators that want to put a price on emitting carbon, 30 against it and 20 members who are undecided." Assuming Lieberman is right, and I must say I'm skeptical, it's time to call those 20 swing Senators and tell them we need climate action now!