Thursday, October 15, 2009

All of Tim Geithner's (Wall Street) Men

The revolving door between Wall Street and government is now legendary. Here is a random article from Bloomberg that I found - some eye opening stats but its mostly eye candy. I was (a) "shocked" that a top lobbyist at Goldman Sachs was Geithner's Chief of Staff (b) how much Bloomberg pays for a column writer! and (c) how much it pays to be a director on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. I don't even know what trades on the "PSE" - do you? How many times could the directors possibly meet a year?

It just shows you how much money is sloshing around in this 1 sector of our economy and the complete misallocation of resources. I'm all for trading and making big money if you are a success and can kill what you eat, but cmon... we don't have basic funding for innovation or infrastructure yet countless trillions at the ready in the financial sector for "selling stuff". This is not hedge funds who have to actually perform or die I am grousing about - this is just the magic wand waving financial innovation sector. The used car salesmen with $6000 suits.

Remember, Geithner and Larry Summers are proteges of Mr Robert Rubin. Our very celebrated Treasury Secretary (Clinton era) who came from the top job at Goldman Sachs (sort of like Hank Paulson, eh?). Rubin worked for our government until the day the Senate repealed Glass-Steagal - after years of people trying to keep it intact. The next day after passage? He resigned. ("Mission Accomplished") He then went right back into the revolving door - from DC to NYC.... to enjoy what he had sowed in Washington. $100M+ came to him at Citigroup the next decade. [Jun 26, 2009: Bloomberg - Paul Volcker Marginalized; Major Push Back on Curbing Excess. Our Life of Financial Oligarchy Does not Change] Whatever happened to that Citigroup?

If you want the dirty details the "repeal" bill passed in the House May 6, 1999. In the Senate July 1, 1999.

Robert Rubin's work was done. He resigned. July 2, 1999. (1 day after the Senate passed the bill) He went off to work for Citigroup, collecting well over $100M in compensation in the coming decade.

How the vines of D.C. and NYC are interlocked. Short of popular revolt, this won't change until all blood is squeezed from the populace's stones. I think some readers believe I am being facetious or flamboyant when I call it an oligarchy. I'm not. It's poisonous to our republic and what it was founded on. At this point the whole concept of stock markets and 401ks and the like is a sideshow for the masses of peasants - just a distraction away from what is truly going on behind the scenes.

Speaking of Goverment Sachs, time to celebrate - it's Goldman earnings Day! I post this in their honor.

  • Some of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s closest aides, none of whom faced Senate confirmation, earned millions of dollars a year working for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and other Wall Street firms, according to financial disclosure forms.
Check out this Gene Sperling fella... he has a litany of revenue streams and you wonder how he has time to sleep. I mean this guy is more busy than Ryan Seacrest!
  • The advisers include Gene Sperling, who (job #1) last year took in $887,727 from Goldman Sachs and (job #2) $158,000 for speeches mostly to financial companies, including the firm run by accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford.
  • Goldman Sachs paid Sperling the $887,727 for advice on its charitable giving. (nice work if you can get it... my gosh)
  • In Sperling’s primary job, he was paid (job #3) $116,653 by the Council on Foreign Relations for work related to education in developing countries.
  • ... he supplemented his salary through a variety of (#4) consulting jobs, (#5) board seats, speaking fees and (#6) fellowships.
Dude's got 6 jobs (actually 8, read on), any of which pay more than most Americans would make in 1 full time job working for the man. See, he works for the right man... most Americans do not.
  • He was paid $480,051 as a director of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange... (I'm available for hire for this gig)
  • ....and $250,000 for providing quarterly economic briefings to two hedge fund firms, Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP and Sterling Stamos Capital Management. (this one too! I know economics. $125K just to give 4 updates a year - I do this daily on my website. Check out my Economic Forecast/Track Record tab, Stamos and Brevan Howard; I'm pretty good and willing to take $115K)
  • Sperling spoke at a Washington event hosted by the Houston- based Stanford Group Co. in November 2008, three months before its chairman was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly bilking investors of $7 billion. (oops)
  • He also spoke at a Washington event in October 2007 that was sponsored by Citigroup, which has received $45 billion in government assistance.
And he is not done yet! Job #8!
  • Sperling also drew a $137,500 salary from Bloomberg News for writing a monthly column and appearing on television, according to his disclosure.
Someone get me this guy's agent!


Some other guy (his last name is ironic isn't it?), but at least its from a hedge fund.
  • Another top aide, Lee Sachs, reported more than $3 million in salary and partnership income from Mariner Investment Group, a New York hedge fund.
  • Sachs said he was also owed a 2008 bonus where the value was “not ascertainable.”
  • As part of Geithner’s kitchen cabinet, Sperling and Sachs wield influence behind the scenes at the Treasury Department, where they help oversee the $700 billion banking rescue and craft executive pay rules and the revamp of financial regulations. Yet they haven’t faced the public scrutiny given to Senate-confirmed appointees, nor are they compelled to testify in Congress to defend or explain the Treasury’s policies.
  • Sperling and Sachs are each paid $162,900 at the Treasury. (they probably should be paid more so they don't need to resort to 'side jobs') Along with four others, they hold the title of counselor to Geithner. The title of counselor had been generally reserved for those awaiting confirmation.
  • Sachs, 46, withdrew earlier this year from consideration to be the Treasury’s top domestic finance official, a job that would have required Senate confirmation.
  • The use of unconfirmed counselors can cut both ways. It allows Geithner to bring in staff quickly by avoiding the arduous confirmation process. On the other hand, the aides don’t get as tough a vetting by the White House or Congress and remain less accountable than Senate-confirmed officials.
  • “The risk is they will further exacerbate the problem of our regulators identifying with Wall Street.”
  • Along with Sperling and Sachs, Geithner’s inner circle also includes counselor Lewis Alexander, the former chief economist at Citigroup; Chief of Staff Mark Patterson, who was a lobbyist at Goldman Sachs, and Matthew Kabaker, a deputy assistant secretary who worked at private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. (<---we're long oligarchy via Blackstone Group)
  • Patterson’s and Kabaker’s jobs did not require confirmation.
  • Alexander, who left Citigroup in March to join the Treasury, was paid $2.4 million in 2008 and the first few months of 2009, according to his financial-disclosure form. He advises Geithner on economic trends and does research on financial markets. (ehh, I am to the point of being numb to a $2.4 million salary for an economist job - why not. What happened to Citigroup again? Oh yeh)
  • Kabaker, who works on domestic finance policy and helped craft the Treasury plan to spur banks to sell their toxic assets, earned $5.8 million working on private equity deals at Blackstone in 2008 and 2009 before joining the Treasury at the end of January, his disclosure form shows. (again, par for the course working in private equity)
  • Patterson, a full time lobbyist, reported earning $637,492 from Goldman Sachs last year.
Boo Yah! So much for Charlie 6 Pack, or Donna the accountant in Acme Building Supplies... it's a whole different world in NYC and DC. And you wonder how wealth concentration has reached levels not seen since before the Great Depression. Just offering this information (again) as eye candy, and as a handy career guide so you can push your children into the right career path - either oligarchy or public "service".
  • The Wall Street ties are troubling to some advocates for investors. “Where is the transparency this administration promised?” asked Lynn Turner, a former chief accountant at the SEC. “You just wonder, who is representing middle Americans?”
Uhhh.... aren't the folk whose title is "Representative" representing the middle class? It's sad that this is a sarcastic comment. Somewhere Thomas Jefferson is rolling over...


Speaking of D.C., and our NYC based Treasury Secretaries, the only one of the past 20 years I trust is Paul O'Neil - he was honest, blunt, and thought of the interest of the common (wo)man. He said things out of turn! He reminded me of Paul Volcker. These attributes promptly led him to get kicked out to the curb in under 2 years, while being painted as "loose cannon" through media leaks. Your welcome Paul!

From October 2008
  • Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the $700 billion bank-rescue proposal under negotiation in Washington is "crazy," with potentially "awful" consequences for the world's largest economy.
  • "Doesn't this seem like lunacy to you?" said O'Neill, who was President George W. Bush's first Treasury chief, from 2001 to 2002, in a telephone interview Wednesday. "The consequences of it are unbelievably bad in terms of public intrusion into the private sector."
  • "Is anybody thinking there?" asked O'Neill, who also served as deputy budget director in the Ford administration. "It's too late, it's not going to make any difference and it's aggravating as hell when there's a better idea and you can't even get it in play," he said.
  • O'Neill said he tried to shop his ideas to congressional leaders, but said no one returned his phone calls. "I honestly don't think they really understand it and they're so much in a bubble that it's impossible to penetrate it."
There are good people out there folks; willing to serve the common good. They simply have no chance in our lobbyists dominated "representative system". See Paul Volcker treatment circa 2009 versus 1979. It's the system... not the left, not the right. Ping pong between 1 or the other but it's completely irrelevent at this point. It's all the same "entity" who distract and parade as if they are really any different.

Oh well, back to another day of the powers that be printing money to mark the stock market up so Joe 6 Pack's 401k surges another $412.... time to distract the peasants from the epic theft of the nation's wealth and soul. Yo, Joe 6 Pack - interested in a director level job at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange? Just kiddin'! Go back to your rat race and we'll call on you for the appropriate tax funds, when we need you. (Reverse Robin Hood) Remember Joe... Main Street = Wall Street... we're all in this together and you NEED us to "grease" the machinery of American free market capitalism! (insert patriotic trumpets blaring sound here).


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