FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The G & O (Geithner and Obama) Bank

This from the Washington Post, reporting on Secretary Tim Geithner’s appearance before the Senate Finance Committee on Feb 10, 2009.
5:07 P.M.:

Geithner just stood up to further government intrusion into corporate boardrooms, a move that will hearten and perhaps surprise economic conservatives.

Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) was upset to learn that some companies receiving bailout money are offshoring jobs to save money. He wondered if the government shouldn’t require that such companies employ Americans, in addition to the limits on executive compensation they’re now facing.

“I do not believe we can put ourselves in position of raising the prospect where government comes in and directly manages at great detail the choices [companies] make,” Geithner said. “Ultimately, we will end up costing the economy and taxpayers much more.”

Geithner said that he is “deeply offended” by “many of the judgments” top executives have made, clearly referring to big bonuses and other perks. “But the important offsetting obligation we have is to not create the prospect that the government is going to come in and make decisions for institutions that want to remain in private hands,” he said.

Brown replied that it is “not very reassuring to hear” that a company is offshoring.

“I don’t think your answer is cavalier, but I do think it implies something I don’t like to hear,” said Brown, who clearly wanted to hear that more government conditions will be placed on companies getting bailout money. “I hope you will revisit that, and we will do all we can to make sure you revisit it.”

The bottom line is, companies can take money from the Federal government, then go out and hire cheap labor abroad so as to make the maximum profit. The American worker, it would appear, is once again left in the cold in this nifty piece of bypass surgery. Why is this any different than the Liar’s Loans made famous by the subprime scandal?

That an American Secretary of the Treasury could be so unconcerned by this — ‘cavalier’ is indeed the correct word — should set aside any doubt that the Obama administration is a worthy follower to the Clinton and Bush administration in its unconcern towards the draining of the nation’s wealth.

It is funny that people like Clinton and Obama who speak about recycling and its role in the environment don’t get it when it comes to money. Capital is just as much a resource as any other, more difficult to make than to conserve. Geithner’s insouciance (I also caught the exchange on C-SPAN) was breathtaking. But he is hardly alone.

So devoted is the political class to free trade. one is frequently reminded of Lenin’s words about capitalists selling their executioners the very rope with which they would be hanged. Still, economic nationalism (see American Swadeshi) is on the comeback, and not all of Barack Obama’s caution will hold it back. Here’s Pat Buchanan, long a opponent of Free Trade, has to say in a recent article titled, “Buy American — or Bye-Bye, America” (Once a Kucinich slogan):

For the stimulus bills of both Houses have a “Buy American” provision mandating that in “public works” only U.S. iron, steel and manufactures be used. The provision came out of the appropriations committee of the House on a 55-to-0 vote.

The Senate watered it down by declaring the Buy American provision must be consistent with all U.S. trade commitments. But Congress is sending a message: The rebuilding of America is to be a project of, by and for Americans, not outsourced. Sen. McCain’s free-trade amendment, to strip all Buy American provisions from the bill, was routed 65 to 31

The reaction of Barack Obama, a NAFTA skeptic in 2008 with bumper stickers that read, “Buy American, Vote Obama,” was to genuflect to the gods of globalism and recant his economic patriotism.

“I think it would be a mistake … at a time when worldwide trade is declining, for the United States to start sending a message that somehow we’re just looking out after ourselves,” he told Fox News. We don’t want to “trigger a trade war,” he told ABC.

And since when has “looking out for ourselves” become unbecoming of an American president? They still don’t get it. Where did all the loose credit lead if not right where we are? If we simple provide more credit without assuring jobs, how can people repay? To paraphrase Huckleberry Finn, “[we] been there before”.

A friend of mine who now lives in Dubai said this about the Dubai ruler’s philosophy. People from all over the world flock have been flocking to Dubai for jobs and good living. The ruler’s philosophy is, “I want you to make good money, but I want you to spend it all in Dubai”. The ruler is an internationalist for inflowing capital, but nationalist in the matter of outflows. Barack Obama and Tim Geithner are the latest to star in the decades-long “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” economic burlesque that has left the country in a financial anemia.

The old saw is that those who do not study history are destined to relive it. But what of those whom history has just punched in the nose, getting set to do the same thing all over again? That species is named Globalistus Americanus. As adaptive as the household cockroach, and evidently, just as corrosive to its host.

NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN is a writer living on the West Coast. He can be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

References

1. American Swadeshi, by NIRANJAN RAMAKRISHNAN, June 26, 2004, Counterpunch

 

More articles by:

/>Niranjan Ramakrishnan is a writer living on the West Coast.  His book, “Reading Gandhi In the Twenty-First Century” was published last year by Palgrave.  He may be reached at njn_2003@yahoo.com.

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail