Obama's Banking Buddies

| Mon Dec. 21, 2009 8:00 AM EST

For all the furor over Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone story on Obama's economic team, you couldn't argue with the basic thesis put forward: At the very least, Obama has surrounded himself with powerful Wall Street-centric thinkers and bankers and leaders who dictate his Wall Street-friendly economic agenda. Instead of using the financial meltdown to implement radical and necessary changes, Taibbi writes, "What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place." In May, Simon Johnson described this very revolving door between Washington and Wall Street in a more articulate and less, well, Taibbian piece for The Atlantic; Johnson called Wall Street's takeover "the Quiet Coup."

In our hard-hitting Wall Street package in the new January/February issue of Mother Jones, I put some names on that image of the Washington-Wall Street revolving door. As you'll see, these aren't all midlevel, pencil-pushing bureaucrats. Some of the Wall Street alums now in Obama's upper ranks include:

  • Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's deputy and his chief of staff;
  • Obama's own chief of staff and chief economic adviser;
  • the head of TARP;
  • and the managing executive of the SEC's enforcement division.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Check out the list of names here, and be sure to check out all of our financial stories as they come out.

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