The Audacity Of Greed should be the title of President Obama’s next book. Never could he have imagined how tough getting out of an economic recession (borderline depression) when he signed up for the presidency. He knew the job was tough when he took it, he just didn’t know that greed would continue to trump the public good. Nearly 60 days in office and America is showing that it still trusts Obama and what he purported to represent – change and a new way of government.
Nearly six days after finding out that companies like AIG have taken $180 billion dollars to stay afloat, only to pay $165 million dollars to 84 employees (including 11 contractors), you really understand this greed thing is really bigger than us all. President Obama found out the hard way. Congress is finding out the hard way. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is finding out the hard way. And the people who need a stimulus boost the most, the American public, are finding out the hard way. This economic recovery is more than about trusting that the President knows what he’s doing, or trusting that the stimulus plan is working. It’s really about trusting whether the greedy are going to play by any ethical practicum.
There are companies and industries lining up for this free green “government cheese” that’s being handed out. For them, this is better than Christmas. After what the banks and the investment companies have done with this money, from bonuses to retreat junkets, the American people are still waiting to find out how they are going to save their homes-but Citibank and AIG got paid. You know everybody else is waiting for their shot to gobble up some gov’ment green cheese. The auto industry is slobbering at the bit. You know they know how to make some money disappear. And wait until the health care industry gets their crack at lining their pockets. Health care has been out of control for some time. “G” is their middle initial. We should call it the health g. care system, the “g” standing for greed. There is some real audacity still out there waiting on their turn to suckle that government tit. The American people will be as thin as children in the Sudan before they get any relief. We can trust Obama all we want at this point, but “change” better know somebody in the greed game. Greed has taken over the stimulus plan.
Watching the Obama administration try to sell a $3.6 trillion dollars, while managing the distribution of $789 billion dollars in bailout money is like watching a magic trick – trying to follow both hands and keep your eye on the ball before it disappears. You hear the mention of all this money, you just can’t keep your eye on it – or in Obama’s case, arms around it. But corporate America can get their arms around it AND their hands on the money. Wall Street has been playing a shell games for decades.
It’s all play money to them. That’s the secret securities investor Bernard Madoff knew in pulling off his $50 billion dollar bilk for over a decade. Keep the money moving and nobody will ever know. You can’t watch that much money, and keep up with the transactions, and pay the dividends, and pay back the money you borrowed, and reinvest again and track of it all. In simpler times, we called it “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Now both Peter and Paul have been robbed when there’s no money to invest, so there’s no money to pay back.
That’s President’s Obama’s problem, trying to stimulate an economy that has been stolen blind, over-leveraged, has run out of money, and left a trillion dollars in debt. So, when the subject of “trust” is introduced, you can’t trust what you don’t see. Like the junk bond and dot.com bubbles before it, the real estate and sub-prime mortgage investment bubbles have left nothing behind to grab but air and worthless stock. It’s a confidence game that dupes the American public every decade or so, preying on the public’s desire to attract wealth quickly. Greed makes you think a bubble is a boon when it is really nothing more than a boondoggle, particularly when the amounts of money are so large, most people would never normally see that much money in their lifetimes.
So, now President Obama is stuck with trying to instill trust in an economy that nobody trusts. As many periodicals have stated, the President may talk his way out of this one. But then, this economic recovery is really not about this President. It’s about the last one and the greed that was left behind that now seeks to rape the stimulus plan. The awarding of bonuses by AIG is just one example of how greed has highjacked the recovery process. Free gov’ment cheese??? Err-body gone get some, except the American public and that will be the real reality check for President Obama.
Now trust has taken a hit. Who will the community be asked to trust now that Deputy Chief Garner is gone? Both LAPD and the black community have to put their heads together on this one. A Kenny Garner is not easily replaced. That goes without saying. The next sell will be harder than the last. We will miss Kenny Garner, as a man, a brother and an ambassador for the department. But we will miss him most as a trustee for our issues. Now who will return our calls?
Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is an author, scholar and the co-founder, Managing Director and host of the Urban Issues Forum. Dr. Samad has authored several books including “Fifty Years After Brown: The State of Black Equality in America” and “Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom”. His national column can be read here at the LA Progressive as well as other newspapers and cyber-sites nationwide. For more information about Dr. Samad, go to www.AnthonySamad.com.
Published with permission of the Black Commentator
Copyright 2009 LA Progressive