Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig, where this article originally appeared. His latest book is The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America (Twelve).
"Buyer’s remorse" is the way John Cornyn, the Senate Republicans’ fundraiser, gleefully refers to Wall Street moguls’ current disenchantment with the US president they thought they had bought.
"Buyer’s remorse" is the way Senator John Cornyn, the Senate Republicans’ fundraiser, gleefully refers to Wall Street moguls’ current disenchantment with the US president they thought they had bought. They didn’t like it when Barack Obama, after a year of throwing trillions of American taxpayer dollars into the bailout sinkhole, dared remark that he had hoped there might be some return for ordinary folks trying to save their jobs and homes. Not just huge bonuses for the folks the president dared refer to as "fat cats."
"That’s it!" the moguls declared, and promptly shifted their political donations from Democrats to Republicans. Among the unglued was Jamie Dimon, who, as the New York Times put it, "is a friend of President Obama’s from Chicago, a frequent White House guest and a big Democratic donor." Dimon, who just gave himself a $17 million bonus for last year’s work–after his bank was bailed out by taxpayers–is the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase. As the Times observed: "If the Democratic Party has a stronghold on Wall Street it is JPMorgan Chase…. But this year Chase’s political action committee is sending the Democrats a pointed message…. it has rebuffed solicitations from the national Democratic House and Senate campaign committees. Instead it gave $30,000 to their Republican counterparts." Chump change, given the hundreds of millions that Wall Street doles out to buy legislation, but a warning shot nonetheless.
Dimon had lunch with the president last month to tell him he doesn’t like this talk of forcing banks like Chase to decide whether they are working for federal insured depositors or are high rollers in the Wall Street investment casino. Joining Dimon and the president was Robert Wolf, chief of the US division of the Swiss-owned bank UBS. Wolf, who plays golf and watches fireworks with the president, was appointed by Obama to the Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, headed by former Fed Chair Paul Volcker. Wolf was upset when Obama recently endorsed Volcker’s proposal for restoring the spirit of the Glass-Steagall Act by separating investment from commercial banking, as it was for six decades of financial stability before that sensible restraint was reversed during the Clinton years.