Obama Signals Break with Wall Street - Appoints JPMorgan Exec and Goldman Adviser to Top Jobs

Today, with unemployment in almost the double digits and foreclosure unabated, President Obama decided that America needed more of the same. The President announced the appointment of JPMorgan Executive William M. Daley as White House Chief of Staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel. Tomorrow, news reports indicate that he will announce that Goldman Sachs adviser Gene B. Sperling will be appointed head of the National Economic Council, replacing Larry Summers.

About Daley the Center for Public Integrity reports:

At JPMorgan, Daley’s portfolio has included supervising government lobbying for a bank with $2 trillion in assets that has fought efforts to limit the size of megabanks. Daley co-chaired a U.S. Chamber of Commerce commission that urged the federal government to revise the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law and protect corporate auditors from lawsuits and investigations.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Daley at JP Morgan spent $5.8 million in the first nine months of 2010 alone fighting Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and other financial reforms. He also made public statements opposing President Obama's health care reform bill. His appointment was praised by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The Business Roundtable also hailed Daley, saying it "has a strong relationship with Mr. Daley and has worked with him in the past on many issues important to both business and the broader economy, such as the successful ratification of NAFTA."

About Sperling, Wikipedia tells us:

As director of the NEC. Sperling was a principal negotiator with then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers of the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Gramm-Leach-Bliley repealed large portions of the depression-era Glass-Stegall Act allowing banks, securities firms and insurance companies to merge. President Barack Obama believes that the repeal of Glass-Steagall helped cause the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis.

Also in 1999, together with United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, Sperling successfully negotiated and concluded the China-World Trade Organization agreement in Beijing, paving the way for China to enter the WTO in 2001. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that 2.4 million U.S. jobs have been lost to China since 2001.

So the chief gate keeper for the President of the United States has been a powerful opponent of the President's agenda, and a NAFTA cheerleader. The chief economic adviser makes a killing advising Goldman, and thinks that offshoring jobs to China will strengthen the U.S. economy.

Experienced hands? Or standard bearers of the status quo? Tell us what you think of these appointments in the comments section of this blog.

Mary Bottari

Mary Bottari is a reporter for the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD). She helped launch CMD's award-winning ALEC Exposed investigation and is a two-time recipient of the Sidney Prize for public interest journalism from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.


The recent appointments of White House staff and advisors follow the pattern of appointments from the start of the Obama administration, favoring the corporate and financial corporations who payed for the election and who benefited from the bail-out. Major investment firms, banks and insurance companies made Obama's election possible. They also reflect his deep ties to the Daley machine politics in Chicago, replacing Rahm Emanuel with his mentor, and putting a son of the notorious former Mayor Richard Daley and brother of the current mayor in Chicago, which also explains the support for Obama by the Kennedy family. These political operatives and opportunists follow the corporate agenda of late-stage monopoly capitalism, where the corporations merge with the state, as Mussolini put it in his classic definition of fascism. Of course, those who control the vastly concentrated wealth and power of this waning democracy are not monolithic, and the interests of the Bush administration and its supporters are not identical to those of the Obama administration, but there is enough crossover to insure control of the financial situation to the benefit of the few, and to maintain a permanent war and debt economy at the cost of the country and the people. The collapse begun in the Bush years was handed to Obama. Presidents come and go. The real institutions that run society, the corporations, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies sit and grow. Who else would you expect him to appoint? To be surprised or outraged is like someone who plays piano at a brothel acting shocked at what goes on upstairs.

The problem was actually started with the Clinton administration. Dropping the Glass Seagull Act was the beginning of the end of Wall Street the way we knew. Why was this done? It eliminated competition by allowing the Banks to buy up so many brokerage firms that were operating at a very profitable pace while keeping people employed. With every Bank buyout or merger, there were tens of thousands jobs lost! To this day these jobs have not been replaced. To make matters worse, Banks and Financial Institutions are limiting the job applications to people with Bachelor degrees or better. I've been in this industry for 28 years of the 50 I've been alive for. Now I can't even receive the right to interview because in every job requirement there is this request for college education. At my age, to be turned away from the industry I devoted more than half my life to is devastating. Not only financially but emotionally. Put and end to this discrimination against the middle aged people and allow us to interview like it's supposed to be. I don't want unemployment insurance or any other assistance. I want to work!!!!!!!!!! Do what the people want, fair treatment.

By a margin of 2-to-1, unemployed workers fear they will never regain the financial position they had before the recession, according to some of the main findings from the study titled "The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers Lose Ground, Hope, and Faith in their Futures." More than three-quarters of the long-term unemployed (76 per cent) say they have "a lot less" in income and savings now, compared with when the recession began. Many have borrowed money from friends and family, sold possessions and gone without needed health care. Angela Edwards

It may have appeared that Obama was elected, but do you really believe that? Everything he said during his campaign has proven to be a lie. What kind of a choice was it anyway, Obama or McCain? Obamas' edge was his ability to disclaim himself from the spectacular failure of right wing politics. Yet right wing politics have continued to rein, how do you explain that? Obama was a shoe-in meant to protect the Bush dynasty from investigation and prosecution until they could prepare their next heir apparent, Jeb! Besides Obama probably has no say in the matter, rather he is told who will be working for him, most likely from Bernake of the F.E.D. Things have become so unbelievably corrupt and unjust that the time has come for we as a society to turn on those whose livelihood is the exploitation, oppression, and marginalization of the public and the public wealth. We need to turn our backs on those who have become fantastically rich on the sweat of hard working people. It is time they became the social outcasts of society for the suffering they cause and the misery they perpetuate. Let them find no place where they can be safe or happy! As for government you could hardly call ours a democracy. What we have is corporate communism. That is why China has become the trade partner of choice for our politicians and businesses. Socialize the costs and privatize the profits. If the people don't like it call out the guard. While we may tout democracy as being a reason for invading middle eastern countries, it is communism all the way here at home! Won't find no liberals here, just conservative commies.

Just more evidence (as if we needed more) that we are ruled by huge, multinational Corporations (and their Rich owners). "Our" government does THEIR bidding. Also note GE's prominent new government spot. Since we are less likely to "elect" them directly, they get themselves "appointed".

Mary,I think Obama is not in control of who he appoints...he is likely only a front office person who talks and cannot really act in favor of the American people. I hope I am not correct, but I'm very concerned that this is the case. Please keep up your good efforts to uncover the chivalry and corruption that is going on in contempt of the American people..particularly by Republican leadership...but also by many Democratic elected officials, senators, and congressionals as well. Best regards PB

You go, Are people really that seeing, hearing and speaking disabled that they do not see and hear where this is going? And refuse to speak out? Government by the corporation, for the corporation and of the corporation, here is the hierarchy: Big corporate banks and Wall Street, wealthy Americans that invest huge mega transnational’s all on top; US citizens, the rest, on the bottom = slaves. Your fate is sealed your children and grand children are to be subject to corporate whims for all their days and you are letting it happen. Shame on all of you!