Thursday, September 02, 2010

Stroking the Banksters


Andrew Ross Sorkin’s column today makes Wall Street honchos sound like spoiled kids; they went for Obama because he seemed like their kind of guy, then turned on him with a vengeance because they think he’s looking at them funny.

Based on what I know, that’s about right.

I talked to some financial-industry backers of Obama back during primary season; they really didn’t know or care much about policy issues, but were in love with Obama over his style — and also over the prospect of being in his inner circle, something they knew wouldn’t happen with Hillary. Now they’re mad because they don’t feel that they’re getting enough stroking.

And you have to bear in mind that this comes after Obama has made immense efforts to placate the financial industry. There were no bank nationalizations; there were hardly any strings attached to bailouts; the financial reform bill was by no means draconian given the scale of the disaster. But Wall Street is furious that Obama might even hint that they caused the crisis — which he does, now and then, because, well, they did.

My interpretation of the Obama administration's behavior re:Education is pretty simple. There are two groups with money and/or votes and a strong interest in federal education policy: teachers and bankers/CEO types (parents really just care about local policy). Teachers aren't going to become Republicans and, generally speaking, they're still going to vote. Bankers will become Republicans at the drop of a hat (if they aren't already) and have no qualms about moving their entire pile of money from one side of the bench to the other. Therefore, shape your education policy to keep the bankers happy.

That's pretty much it.

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