Short Sellers in Congress: Another Lesson in Financial Hypocrisy
But unfortunately, the problem goes beyond just a few members of Congress short selling. Any large investment by an elected official has the potential to generate a conflict of interest. With the wholly inadequate financial disclosure systems in place, it is harder than ever to determine someone’s incentives, and far more important to monitor their behavior.
Now why was Sen. Carl Levin so eager to paint Goldman Sachs as a bunch of crooks? To advance the Democrats' embarrassingly weak and misguided financial reform agenda, naturally.
In the campaign, President Obama was sold as a Spock-like champion of intelligent and practical debate. Yet he seems most at home giving populist rants heavy on emotion and thin on substance and argument.
In the health care reform debate, the simple message was that insurance companies are greedy and government can protect us from their profiteering. This argument grossly underestimated the intelligence of the American people across the political spectrum who actually wanted to know what was in the bill.
The strategy on financial reform appears to be the same. The president goes to Quincy and produces such gems as “at some point, you’ve made enough money.” He puts the blame for the financial crisis at the feet of Wall Street bankers and their irresponsible behavior, and paints the Republicans as their protectors.
But what’s in the bill? A permanent bailout fund. A “financial responsibility” tax. More government bureaucracy. More authority for the Fed. Like health care reform, financial reform sounds like a good idea until one looks at the proposed plan and who stands to benefit -- big banks and big government.
What’s not in the bill? Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the two institutions that shoveled trillions in mortgage money to homeowners that could never pay it back and left the U.S. taxpayer to pick up the tab. Just last week, Freddie asked for another $10B. The firm -- or government agency or whatever it is - is a never-ending bailout.
President Obama supported the bailouts from the beginning and even put a Goldman Sachs executive -- Neel Kashkari -- in charge of them. Greg Craig, former White House counsel, now works for Goldman. He and the Democrats took millions in campaign contributions from the firm. The revolving door is obvious.
And now we know that some members of Congress and the Senate trade like Goldman Sachs, shorting the American economy and American industry when they think there’s a profit to be made.
Americans want an end to the hypocrisy and outright lies coming out of Washington because they know exactly where that behavior leads -- to government officials enriching themselves and their friends at our expense.