Bailout watchdog: Obama admin. ‘chose the interests of Wall Street bankers’ over the economy


The man who acted as the government’s internal watchdog over bailout funds is blasting the Obama administration for siding with the big banks over ordinary Americans during the financial rescue.

“In almost every critical juncture when it came to really meaningful choices in conducting the bailout, this administration and the prior administration—there’s no meaningful difference  between the two—consistently chose the interests of Wall Street banks over that of homeowners, over that of the broader economy,” former TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky told guest host Ezra Klein on The Rachel Maddow Show Wednesday. 

Klein noted earlier in the segment that despite much-publicized concerns over the “Too Big to Fail” problem, the five largest banks are actually worth more today than they were just before the 2008 financial crisis. Sandy Weill, the former Citigroup chief credited with invented the “financial supermarket” concept, called earlier Wednesday for the big banks to be broken up.

“There is no question that the president and his treasury secretary defended the status quo of Too Big to Fail,” Barofsky said.

So why, asked Klein, is Wall Street money favoring Mitt Romney over Obama so far this year?

Barofsky, the author of the new book Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, said it’s because, as weak as the Obama team has been on financial reform, Romney would be weaker still, in part because he wants to repeal the major financial reform legislation passed in the wake of the crisis.

“Romney is offering them a better deal potentially from their perspective than Obama is,” he said. “They hate anything that could possibly eat into their profits and their ability to exploit their size and power. And Mitt Romney is offering the repeal of Dodd-Frank.”

“So Dodd-Frank was actually very helpful in preserving the status quo for the banks,” Barofsky continued. “But better to have nothing. Better to go back to the go-go days of 2006 and 2007 when they could print money on the backs of American homeowners.”




Mitt Romney and Barack Obama

Bailout watchdog: Obama admin. 'chose the interests of Wall Street bankers' over the economy