Hawking Up Hairballs

Monday, April 27, 2009

No, You Can't Sit On My Lap!

The Naked Capitalism site is speculating on whether or not the knives are coming out for Geithner. It bases this speculation upon a long article on the front page of the print edition of today's New York Times. As the lead-in to the article says, "During five years as head of the New York Fed, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner built unusually close relationships with Wall Street executives." To back up their claims, they reproduce Geithner's appointments calendar from 2007 to 2009, while he was working at the Fed. They apparently obtained it through the Freedom of Information act. Of course, it's not news that Geithner is "a creature of the financial establishment" as Naked Capitalism puts it. They also speculate that Obama may be getting ready to dump Geithner, but they're not optimistic about a replacement given that Larry Summers is still the chief economic advisor to the president.

This weekend, Billy Moyers' PBS show focussed on the Pecora hearings during the Great Depression. For those of you who don't know, Ferdinand Pecora was Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Banking and Currency in the 1930's during the Depression. He conducted the Committee's grilling of banking executives over their business practices. Pecora was a populist by temperament and he apparently put on quite a show. He was also a bulldog and he kept at the executive he was questioning until he got the answers he wanted. Not like the lapdogs we have in Washington today. Though Pecora didn't really get at the causes of the Depression, he stoked up a good deal of popular anger against the banking establishment that paved the way for the reforms that were enacted, like the Glass-Stegall act and the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

An interesting episode took place during the Pecora hearings that highlighted the difference between those times and today. Carter Glass, who was one of the senators responsible for the Glass-Stegall act, objected to Pecora's methods. They had a very public clash during the hearings in which J.P. Morgan testified. Glass said, "This is a circus. All we need is peanuts and colored lemonade." A promoter for the Ringling Brother's Circus heard the quote and thought that it would be great to have a picture of Lya Graf, alleged to be the shortest woman in the world, sitting on the lap of the richest man. Graf was brought to the hearings and Morgan let her sit on his lap while a photo was taken. The link below is to a site that contains the photo. Can you imagine anything like that happening today? No way in hell would a Wall Street executive let a circus midget sit on his lap. If he did, the advocates for "little people" would be going nuts. Image is everything these days, folks.



Anonymous barbara in decatur said...

That's just weird. Cute photo!

1:24 PM  
Anonymous barbara in decatur said...

Just when I start to get my hopes up that Obama might replace Geithner and Summers with people not so "captured" by Wall Street, that weenie Specter switches parties. I expect him to vote with the Blue Dogs or even the Rethuglicans most of the time.
Makes me want to gag.

If the netroots find a real progressive to support in Pennsylvania I'll probably send my lunch money to help that happen.

12:05 PM  

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