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Obama's Economic Team

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The 2008 market collapse has caused much grief in the past few years. Families are

having their homes foreclosed, people are losing their jobs right and left, and the financial

markets are unstable. Much of the blame for this catastrophe belongs to banks that earned

billions of dollars in profits producing and selling financial investments that nosedived along

with the housing market, Wagering on securities fixed to the housing market violated the law by

misleading clients who bought these junk securities known as "collateralized debt obligations"

Investors were buying into these toxic items without knowing the firm who sold them the CDO's

would benefit if they fell in value. Credit rating agencies such as Moody's Investors Service

and Standard & Poor's manipulated the credit ratings of these mortgage-backed securities

because of the bank industry's pressure. Since the bank industry pay the credit rating firms for

their ratings, there was competitive pressure to place a high rating on a product the bank industry

was pushing. Due to this conflict of interest, credit rating agencies were issuing the best rating

called a Triple-A rating on these securities imminent of disaster. These unregulated activities

were misleading to the United States Government and to their customers. When the floor gave

out from under these mortgage backed securities, the American taxpayer was left to bail out the

same banks, insurance companies and investment firms that were responsible for the whole


Now that we know how the crash happened, a big issue is who is in charge of national

economic policy now? Who did President Obama appoint differently so that something like

this is less likely to happen again? The answer: Not as much as you think. Some of the same

people who were asleep at the wheel then are still holding the reins of power. There is another

important factor such as previous employment when it comes to economic political appointees,

whether it be from a financial institution or a education institution. In the documentary film

"Inside Job" by Charles Ferguson, Robert Gnaizda describes President Barack Obama's

administration "a Wall Street government." To explain the veracity of this statement, one must

examine background and credentials of the important figures within the Obama administration.

Obama's Economic Team

Ben Bernanke is currently serving a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve after being

reappointed by Barack Obama in early 2010. He has been Chairman of the Fed since 2006 under

the Bush administration. Prior to his leadership days at the Federal Reserve, he was the Chair of

the Economics Department at Princeton University from 1996 to 2002. The Federal Reserve is in

control of monetary policy and banking regulation and supervision within the nation.

(Federal Reserve, 2011)

William C. Dudley is the president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve

Bank of New York after replacing Timothy F. Geithner who was sworn in as Secretary of the

Treasury in January 2009. (Federal Reserve Bank, 2009) Dudley was the

chief economist at Goldman Sachs for 10 years. He served under the Clinton administration as

Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1997-1999 and then Undersecretary Treasury from

1999-2001. (Council on Foreign Relations,2009)

Timothy Geithner is currently Secretary of the Treasury after a nomination by

President Obama and confirmation by the Senate in early 2009. Geithner has had an unusual rise

to power, coming mainly from foreign affairs. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he does not

have a doctorate in economics nor an M.B.A. , only a master's degree in international economics

from Johns Hopkins. (Benen, 2008)

He was the ninth president and chief executive officer of the NY Federal Reserve Bank since

2003. Though he has been mistakenly been identified as a Goldman Sachs employee, he has

never been under their employ. (Sorkin, 2010)

Rahm Emanuel was Obama's Former Chief of Staff from 2008 to 2010. His

connections stem back to Goldman Sachs while being chief fundraiser for Clinton's

1992 reelection campaign, in which he raised over a hundred thousand dollars from

Goldman Sachs. Later on during his congressional races, he would receive almost

seventy-five thousand dollars from them. Later on, Emanuel would work with former Goldman

Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to bail out the familiar investment and securities firm. (Carney, 2008)

Gary Gensler worked for the Bush Administration as Assistant Secretary of the

Treasury from 1997 till 1999, then promoted to Undersecretary of the Treasury from 1999 to

2001. Formerly under the employ of Goldman Sachs, as Partner and Co-head of Finance. Now

he is the Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading



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