When it comes to Wall Street, President Barack Obama wants to have his cake and eat it, too, says Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The president tries to score points on Main Street by blasting fat-cat bankers, while at the same time taking in millions of dollars in donations from these same supposedly despicable people, Scarborough writes on Politico
“Obama seems capable of effortlessly floating between demonizing Wall Street gambling one day and profiting from it the next,” Scarborough writes. “The audacity is breathtaking. The president has raised more money from Wall Street through the Democratic National Committee and his campaign account than any politician in American history.”
This year alone, Obama’s take from the financial services industry tops that of all Republican presidential candidates put together, Scarborough says.
Obama’s Wall Street bundlers are “so good at what they do that the Center for Responsive Politics reports that Obama’s Wall Street fundraising will ‘far surpass 2008 in terms of raw dollars and as a percentage of what he raises overall,’” Scarborough writes.
And that’s really saying something, as Obama’s 2008 campaign raised more money from the financial community than any other campaign in history, he says.
Scarborough says he has no problem with a candidate accumulating as much money as he wants from the financial services industry. “But it’s laughable that the same man who feasts with Wall Street fat cats at $38,000-a-plate fundraisers turns around and claims the next day that attacking those same money men will be the basis of his re-election campaign,” he writes.
“Obama’s fake outrage is all the more preposterous considering that the White House’s policies have led to record profits on Wall Street during the first two years of the Obama administration. In fact, Wall Street amassed more profits in the first two years of the Obama presidency than all eight of George W. Bush’s combined.”
But you can expect the charade to continue, Scarborough says. “The routine may be unseemly, but the relationship between Obama and Wall Street is too profitable for both sides to end.”
Scarborough’s points are well taken. Several conflicting factors are at work in Obama’s stance toward Wall Street. First, there are political calculations. Attacks on Wall Street provide red meat for Obama’s liberal base a base that is disappointed he hasn’t taken up its causes more strongly. On the other side, Obama needs the donations and votes of those on Wall Street. He also needs the votes of independents, who may be turned off by sharp attacks on Wall Street.
Then there are policy considerations. Wall Street greed played a major role in the financial crisis of 2008-09 and the Great Recession that resulted, hurting many Americans. And few of Wall Street’s biggest beneficiaries of that greed have paid much of a price. So it is understandable to some extent that Obama would go after the bankers.
On the other hand, the country needs a strong banking system to recover from its economic woes. Suing banks for compensation and encouraging the public to focus its wrath on bankers just makes it more difficult for the financial sector to recover, which in turn makes it difficult for the entire economy and for financially strapped households to recover.
Finally, there’s Obama himself. He has proved frequently to be an indecisive leader, always looking for a middle ground on which to please all sides of an issue. He seems to want to give something to Wall Street at the same time that he gives something to his liberal base. And that, of course, leads to inconsistent policy.
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