‘Tis the season, ladies and gentleman: the Democratic Party fund-raising season has begun. And in light of the current financial crisis, they’re sending their best asset – – Barack Obama – – to convince wealthy Americans to open up their check books and give lots and lots of cash to the help the cause.
According to the New York Times, President Obama’s fund raising tour is coming to New York on Tuesday (Manhattan commuters beware!!!).
So heed this warning: watch out Wall Street – – you’re next on the Democratic fund-raising hit list.
Yet, despite having cross-hairs fixed upon them, it seems the financial center’s most prominent houses are unwilling to donate Obama and the Democratic Party – – which has many pundits speculating as to why. After all, it was Obama who approved the billions in bailout money that prevented many financial houses and banks, like AIG and CitiBank, from completely collapsing.
Could it be that for the first time in history that corporations want to do the right thing by managing their money correctly and responsibly? Are they standing up and saying: “No, we need to use our money to help stabilize the economy, not the Democratic party?”
Sadly, no, that’s not what seems to be at work here, as the article states:
Part of the reason, several Democratic fund-raisers and executives said, is a fear of getting caught in the public rage over the perception that Wall Street titans profiting from their government bailout may use their winnings to give back to Washington in return. And the timing of the event, as the industry lobbies against proposals for tighter regulations to address the underlying causes of last year’s meltdown on Wall Street, has only added to the worry over public appearances.
But, one has to wonder: why would they change their song in mid-verse? Look how Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase benefited from the circumstances surrounding the collapse. Despite their competition’s attempted recovery from last year’s near death blow, these two houses are thriving, making money for their constituents hand over fist. The bailed out houses need to keep up with the Jones, or in this case, the Sachs and the Chases – – so donating to Obama, as we see from the article, won’t help their cause along in the here and now.
This recent turn of events puts Paul Krugman’s latest op-ed into greater context: forget about charity to politicians – – the bailed out banks don’t have any money to lend Americans.
Gasp! How could this be? The government spent BILLIONS on fixing the failing economy, right? So, where did all the money go? Exactly.
Krugman also tries to decipher the logic behind the situation:
The main thing for the time being is probably to do as much as possible to support job growth. With luck, this will produce a virtuous circle in which an improving economy strengthens the banks, which then become more willing to lend.
So while Americans still struggle to find a job in this shaky market, the President is set to break out the tux so he can whine and dine those companies he saved so many months ago. There might be better things to do with your time, Mr. President, than to charge tens of thousands of dollars for a plate of food – – considering many of your citizens wonder when they will eat their next meal.
Bravo Wall Street for not feeling required to hand over bailout money to support of these fund-raising efforts. Shame on you, however, for not having a better reason for doing it – – use the money to fix the economy, not in fear of public reprisal, but because it’s the right thing to do.
I think this clip from from the movie “Wall Street” sums up my argument best. Remember, tongue in cheek folks. That’s the name of my game.
UPDATE: Made a few minor edits to tighten up the article. I’m kind of meticulous that way.