Column: Striking gold for doing Wall Street's bidding
By JIM HIGHTOWER, OtherWords
AUSTIN, Texas — First, Wall Street’s government bailout restored the banksters who wrecked our economy to full prosperity. Now, it’s paying off very handsomely for the bank overseers who orchestrated the bailout.
For example, as chairman of the Federal Reserve for eight years, Ben Bernanke led the bucket brigade that poured trillions of public dollars into Wall Street’s vaults.
Now he’s on a global “Show Me Some Love” tour, pocketing up to $250,000 for each speech he delivers to the financial giants he rescued with our money.
In 2013, his last full year on Uncle Sam’s payroll, Bernanke took home $199,700 for the whole year’s work.Then there’s Timmy Geithner, whose chief responsibility as head of the New York Fed had been regulating Wall Street’s reckless banks so their greed wouldn’t spark a nationwide financial crisis. But — oops — they did exactly that on Timmy’s see-no-evil watch.Still, having proven himself a banker’s man, Geithner was promoted to be President Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary. Then, he insisted that the government’s priority must be rescuing greedy bankers with taxpayer dollars, rather than saving the millions of American homeowners stuck with bloated mortgages, facing wage cuts, and joblessness. He stood aside as many folks sank into deep debt and poverty.What punishment did Geithner face for his inept and morally deplorable policies? Being a banker’s man, he was richly rewarded with a top executive position as — what else? — a Wall Street banker.And he has published a book about his years of public screw-ups. Oh…sorry, I mean “public service.” Concluding that he was correct and courageous, Geithner’s memoir should’ve been titled: Heckuva Job, Timmy!As Wall Street prospers, Ben and Tim wallow in wealth — and the real economy remains mired in the ditch of joblessness, low wages, and household debt.It’s no wonder that when pollsters ask the American people to rate how Geithner, Bernanke, and the rest of their gang fared during the Great Recession, far more of us express anger at how the Washington cabal of self-serving elites saved Wall Street than any satisfaction with the way Uncle Sam smothered the financial crisis.
OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter The Hightower Lowdown.