I haven't done a Jack Kelly post in a while (at least a couple of weeks), in part because I have felt I have been (or at least should be) busy. Taxes, you know. Stuff I should around the apartment. etc etc.
But of course Kelly hasn't stopped doing his thing. Last week I believe he complained about administration action on climate change. If he feels it is important he could write columns on Republican misinformation on climate change. Kelly still dances around that issue, blasting the administration for changing its strategy on the issue without admitting the importance of taking action on the issue (having his cake and eating it).
But Kelly's column this week is even more interesting. The title is "Obama Coddles bankers". Kelly goes on to say that 12 Democratic Senators hosted a retreat for 108 lobbyists, which has to do directly with Obama how? And I suspect (strongly, strongly) that Republicans have had their share or more of such retreats and other such things.
But in fact, I think a lot of Democrats are thinking that Obama has been too nice to the big banks. I think the issue is more complicated than Kelly paints it, but there is an issue there. It was the Bush administration who guided the Congress to the TARP after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and the several market drops. Which is the crux of the issue. There is a knife edge course to navigate. If you help the banks too much, they get fat on taxpayer money. But if you don't help them enough, then the September/October market crash would be a walk in park. Don't believe me? What happened after Lehman brothers bankruptcy?
I will say, in all honesty, I have wondered if Obama and particularly his advisors, might be captive to the New York banks. I believe Obama and company realize the importance of keeping the banks healthy. But I realize that Timothy Geitner was the President of the New York Fed before he was Treasury Secretary, and might have an exaggerated sense of the importance of the health of the banks. Congress has not acted on bank reform yet (the members may see some peril in offending wealthy people who have donated money in the past), but has the administration done as much is it could? That is a reasonable question.
Still, Kelly’s final paragraph leaves me speechless:
“To get off "the same winding mountain road," the zombie banks need to be broken up, and strict limits placed on the amount of debt banks may incur if they've accepted federally insured deposits. But these reforms would not be popular with the banksters whose contributions fill Democratic campaign coffers.”
It is amazing that Kelly wrote that first sentence, because it is exactly the policy many if not all liberals would love to see pursued. And in fact it may have merit, but I suspect that given the way the US financial system has evolved, it is impractical (at least the break up part, the limits still seem like a god idea to me). But Kelly is insulting his readers in suggesting that bankers give only to Democrats. Of course, Kelly would argue he didn’t actually say that, which is equally insulting.
My guess is that Kelly would love to see that exact scenario, the break up of big banks, come to pass. The resulting financial chaos would give the Republicans fifty years of power, and perhaps so eviscerate the Democrats such that a new party would have to be created. The fact that millions of people would suffer and perhaps die is apparently not important to Kelly. I have been saying in various places that I am convinced conservatives want to see the country hurt. I have suggested it is because the country elected a black man, and was yelled at by a conservative who says I am tarring all conservatives with the same racist brush. So I will say I don’t know what the motivation is, but I suspect for some …
But even though up is down and right is left, I don’t entirely disagree with Kelly’s column. I believe Obama did some things this past year to avoid giving conservatives the satisfaction of saying “see, he is a radical”. Obama proposed a stimulus with some thirty percent tax cuts (Congress took that and moved the percentages around a bit), and he handed health care off to Congress altogether. Now Obama is again calling for bipartisanship (after the State of the Union address). I worry that his administrations stance towards banks is not only an attempt to keep America’s financial house in order, but also another nod to conservatives.
What ever the reason for Obama’s administration stance towards the banks, count me among those who are waiting for Obama to take action, or at least more action. If Congress gets in the way, then the administration should splash that across the headlines. But it is Obama who needs to do whatever, whether it is risking conservatives feeling vindicated or whatever.