Saturday, March 21, 2009
Corporate Influence in the Obama Administration
One frequent complaint levied against the Bush administration was that large national and multi-national corporations held too much political influence. Many "progressives" were drawn to Obama by the belief that his administration would entail a move away from entrenched corporate interests towards the public good. A close look at Obama's staff shows that this is very far from the truth. Many members stem from organizations that represent powerful multi-national corporate interests and organization that most "progressives" deemed detrimental to our nation's economic, political and social welfare.
Before I continue I must clarify that I find nothing inherently wrong with large corporations. In a milieu of economic freedom, a company only grows large when it provides desired goods and services to the public. Corporate interests only become harmful when their influence directs the state to provides them public funds (subsidies), protection and privileges. And clearly this is only possible in a state the excessively intervenes in the economic and social life of a nation.
Of all the members of the administration, none so strongly represent entrenched corporate interests as Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of Treasury. He was a member of the Bilderberg Group, The Council of Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission and the CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, director of policy development for the IMF. member Group of Thirty,
A close second is Paul Volker, a member of Obama's Economic Recover Advisory Board, who was also a member of the Bilderberg Group, the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York during the Carter and Reagan administrations, G30 Member,
There is not necessary anything nefarious about the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission or the Council of Foreign Relations, but it should raise an eye when so many members (Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Summers, Tom Daschle, Kathleen Sibelius, Richard Holbrooke etc.) of any administration share ties to the same powerful economist organization. And it diminishes Obama's claims of change when these very same organizations were so dominant in the Bush administration.
In addition, the Obama administration is filled with former lobbyists that represented major corporate interests, including many that "progressives" adamantly opposed. Obama staff members have lobbied for: The American Petroleum Institute, British Petroleum, Freddie Mac, Walmart, pharmaceutical companies and banks including some direct recipients of bailout funds, such as Goldman Sachs. And needless to say Mr. Obama was among the largest recipients of funds from AIG.
So, clearly large corporate interests are just as prominent in the Obama Administration as they were in the Bush Administration. The only difference is that Obama has vastly increased the transfer of public funds to his corporate allies. As time goes on the growing gulf between Obama's rhetoric and reality will become more apparent and more distasteful, especially to the well informed "progressives" that were seduced by his promises of change.