BAILOUT: Former Bailout Watchdog Neil Barofsky to Release Tell-All Account Of Bush/Obama Administration Banking Policies « naked capitalism
BAILOUT: Former Bailout Watchdog Neil Barofsky to Release Tell-All Account Of Bush/Obama Administration Banking Policies
Courtesy of Naked Capitalism
Neil Barofsky, a former official who actually put bankers in jail (imagine that!) is coming out with a tell-all book called “Bailout” about his experience as the Special Inspector General for TARP. I don’t normally put up press releases, but this book will be upsetting to the administration because this is someone who was involved in the decisions, and Barofsky did not play ball with the Wall Street crowd. Here’s the announcement.
From December 2008 until March 2011, Barofsky was the Special Inspector General charged with oversight of TARP, working to ensure against fraud and abuse in the spending of the $700 billion allocated for the bailouts. From the start he was in constant conflict with the officials at the Treasury Department in charge of the bailouts who were in thrall to the interests of the big banks and steadfastly failed to hold them accountable, even as they disregarded major job losses caused by the auto bailouts and failed to help struggling homeowners. Barofsky recounts how his reports of a wave of criminal mortgage fraud and other abuses being perpetrated against homeowners in connection with programs that the Treasury itself set up were ignored time and again.
Barofsky offers detailed accounts of the behind-the-scenes conflicts and his struggles with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the Bush appointed “TARP Czar” Neel Kashkari and his successor, the Obama appointed Herb Allison, and others. His revelations show in stark detail just how captured by Wall Street our political system is; why the banks have not been held accountable; and how the failure to enact effective regulation has put the country in danger of an even bigger crisis in the future.
There are two broad narratives about Barack Obama from American elites. On the right, there’s a racist narrative about Obama’s socialist Kenyan origins, with offshoot dishonest arguments about his policies. He’s anti-corporate! He’s gone on a government spending frenzy! He’s going to cut the size of the military! These are not true. On the Democratic side, there’s an equally dishonest set of arguments. He’s not bold enough! Congress is holding him back from his progressive instincts! We haven’t made him do what we know he wants to do! The real Obama is hidden behind a racist veneer on the right, that he’s a Kenyan socialist, and a fake narrative on the left, that he’s not bold enough. The third narrative, which you can find on this blog, is that Barack Obama is a great deceiver, with a charming and cool demeanor that mask his ruthlessness and bank-friendly neoliberal ideology. It’s hard to talk to this third narrative, because Democrats overwhelmingly approve of Obama, and Republicans simply cannot countenance the idea that their socialist enemy is as friendly or even more friendly to corporate power than they are.
But there are a few brave souls who are speaking truth, and the information about who Obama is and what he has done is slowly coming out. Charles Ferguson’s excellent new book, Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America, is the first post-mortem of the financial crisis in which the lens is political corruption in both parties and in economics. Ferguson, who made the Academy Award documentary Inside Job, sees the financial crisis first and foremost as a political problem, of oligarchy and a captured political system. The technical details – Volcker Rule, Dodd-Frank, etc – are just that. Ferguson isn’t dancing around the problem, either. He puts the blame on, among other people, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I’ll have more on this book.