George Graham

Sneaky Goings-on Behind the Scenes. Hold on to Your Wallet

If I had my way, no legislation would be longer than five typewritten pages – double-spaced. Never would you see a bill like the 2,000-page health care monstrosity the U.S. House is now considering. Or that bulky Wall Street “reform” bill the Obama Administration is pushing. These mammoth bills often include provisions that call for the opposite of the bill’s professed intent, slipped in there by sneaky politicians with axes to grind.

I don’t read these bills and I am not likely to. But from what I have learned from those who have the time and patience to slog through miles of turgid prose, sneaky things are going on.

Take the Wall Street reform bill that’s supposed to correct the abuses leading to the TARP bank heist, for example. You remember how the Bush administration stampeded Congress into handing out hundreds of billions of bailout dollars with no strings attached? And you remember the wails of regret when the elected representatives could not find out where the money went? That was no more than I expected from the Bush gang. But it’s not what I expected from Obama. And it looks as if that’s what we’re getting.

obama geithnerObama’s treasury secretary, Tim Geithner (with the President at right), is a veteran Wall Street wheeler-dealer, as are all the President’s financial advisers, and I don’t think he is aware of the hanky-panky they’re up to. He’s a constitutional expert, after all, not a numbers cruncher.

How else to explain the contradiction between his fine rhetoric and their skulduggery?

Geithner not only continued the bank robbery operation initiated by Bush treasury secretary Hank Paulson but is also looking to expand its scope.

A recent Salon article by David Sirota warns that:

As evidenced by two little-noticed sections of the Obama administration’s Wall Street “reform” bill, presidents and their bank benefactors are back to thinking they can pilfer whatever they want – only now they have learned to camouflage their demands by burying them in the esoterica of lengthier bills.

What caught Sirota’s eye is a provision in the massive bill that would let the administration give favored financial institutions any amount of tax money without approval by Congress. Here’s Sirota’s interpretation of the provisions:

Whereas the original TARP included some oversight language and power to limit Wall Street bonuses, TARP on steroids includes no specific oversight or executive pay constraints. Whereas TARP permitted the government to underwrite both small and large banks, TARP on steroids allows taxpayer cash to go only to the behemoths (which, not coincidentally, tend to make the biggest campaign contributions). And whereas TARP limited the Treasury secretary’s check-writing authority to two years and $700 billion, TARP on steroids would let him spend as much as he wants for as long as he wants.

wall streetGeithner said the Obama administration would oppose amendments limiting the new bailout power – even if the limit was a $1 trillion cap. Does that sound like “reform” to you?

Ironically, the Obama administration has labeled the bill the “Financial Stability Improvement Act,” and – as Sirota points out – it would be an improvement for Wall Street’s stability, though certainly not for the stability of the nation’s finances.

Are you as puzzled by this as I am? Whose side is Obama on, anyway? How did a pack of Wall Street insiders get control of his administration’s financial policies and how much tax money will they plunder before voters say, “Enough”?

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for