Geithner’s All Ears for the Debt Cartel

Geithner’s All Ears for the Debt Cartel

Geithner’s All Ears for the Debt Cartel

Months ago, a former chief economist at the IMF called it mind control. Talking to Simon Johnson of the Atlantic Monthly, he explained that one of the most alarming truths laid bare by the economic crash was that the finance industry had effectively captured the thinking of government.

"That’s going too far," said reasonable people. "This is no Banana Republic run by crony cartels."

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Months ago, a former chief economist at the IMF called it mind control. Talking to Simon Johnson of the Atlantic Monthly, he explained that one of the most alarming truths laid bare by the economic crash was that the finance industry had effectively captured the thinking of government.

"That’s going too far," said reasonable people. "This is no Banana Republic run by crony cartels."

That was before we read Tim Geithner’s phone records.

Thursday’s AP report shows executives at a handful of companies — Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs — had not just the ear, but both ears of the Treasury Secretary to the exclusion of other even bigger and more troubled banks and legislators.

As AP points out, Geithner had more contacts with Citigroup than he did with Barney Frank, D-Mass., the lawmaker leading the effort to approve Geithner’s financial overhaul plan. And Geithner’s contacts with Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and CEO at Goldman, way outnumber his contacts with Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

After the week this May when GM almost went bankrupt and the government was considering a federal takeover, the treasury secretary called Blankfein, then Jamie Dimon, the boss at JPMorgan. Then Obama called and as soon as they hung up, Geithner was back on the phone with Dimon. Poor California Democrat Xavier Becerra — who handles silly stuff like taxes and budgets. He had to leave a voice-mail message.

Geithner wasn’t talking to all bankers — mostly with people he served on nonprofit boards with, and hung out with socially.

So. . . where others have drug cartels, we have a debt cartel? It’d be clear by now if Geithner was just listening to his friends to hone his arguments against greater bank consolidation, debt securitization and finance over industry. So far Geithner has yet to show any sign of breaking with his Wall Street pushers.

In a Banana Republic we’d pay out protection money. Oh, but I forgot, we did that already.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GritLaura on Twitter.com.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy
x