Monday, December 7, 2009

Obamanomics Exposed

Timothy Carney has gone deep behind enemy lines into the land of Obamanomics. He has not done this by wearing camouflage and sneaking over a White House wall on the night of a new moon. He has not done it by somehow placing electronic bugs in the oval office. He has not even done it by putting on a tux, and with a seductive babe on his arm, walking past the secret service on the night of a state dinner, straight into a premier party of the power elite. But somehow with only access to public documents, he has uncovered with depth and thoroughness the entire operation of Obamanomics.

His report of what he has discovered is in his new book, Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses.

As long term readers here at know, I am not exactly unfamiliar with the operations of the power elite and their interactions with government, yet in page after page of Obamanomics I found myself saying to myself, "I didn't know that." For example, I knew President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel made a ton of money after leaving the Clinton Administration and becoming an investment banker at the Chicago office of Wasserstein Perella, but I didn't know that he was also a consultant for Goldman Sachs. I do now.

I knew that Emanuel came out of the Chicago political machine run by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, but I didn't know Emanuel was there right from the start, that he was the chief fundraiser during Mayor Daley's first run for the office of the Mayor in 1989. I do now.

In page after page, Carney fills in all the pieces to the puzzle of how Obamanomics works and the various influences.

But, more than that, Carney works from a very specific theory of how the corporate elite use government to their advantage by imposing regulations. Indeed, the first chapter of Obamanomics is worth the price of the book itself for the formalized theory Carney presents on the various reasons why big corporations favor many government regulations. He has it down, and categorizes it: the "Inner Game", the "Overhead Smash", "Gumming Up the Works", the Confidence Game and the Making of an Offer You Can't Refuse.

The rest of his book covers how the operation works in practice. Almost in real-time he details everything from influence of the big drug industries on government, to GE, to Phillip Morris, to Goldman Sachs, to auto unions and much more. (He shows, for example,that Phillip Morris was a major supporter of the most recent "anti-tobacco" legislation) He shows in detail how all these organizations work to cause regulations and other activities of government that benefit them. And thus he destroys the myth that big government and big corporations are battling each other. In truth, big government (including the Obama Administration) is in bed with big corporations.

If you already understand the seedy relationship between government and corporate America, then this book will fill in for you all the missing details. Trust me, Carney is thorough. But if you have just recently developed a suspicion that something is going on behind the scenes between government and large corporations, or if you still hold the belief that the Obama Administration is battling large corporations, this book is must reading. It will change your view of the world.

Indeed, if every American voter read this book, it would change the shape of who would get elected in this country and who would run for office, and quite possibly it would embarrass corporate leadership from playing what Carney calls , "Regulatory Robbery". But to wish for such a large readership for this book is certainly a grand wish. Perhaps, a more realistic wish is that there are courageous high school and college, political science, civics, American history, sociology and economics teachers that will make this book required reading, so that some in future generations will not be hoodwinked into believing that big government is about battling big business. It's a myth, and thanks to Carney's book this myth is now catalogued in detail.

If you have friends that think Obama is putting up the good fight against big corporations, do your friends a favor and slap this book in their hands for Christmas. Once they finish reading the book, they will thank you.


  1. "Indeed, if every American voter read this book..." it would provide them a blueprint on how to gain power and steal wealth!

    How do you think Obama got where he is today? Or for that matter every "successful" politician that ever existed. Given the cost/benefit structure of politics, simply writing about how the game is played will change nothing.

    Suggest your readers read The Fable of the Bees by Mandeville or for a more modern less cynical view try The Dance of the Money Bees by Train.

  2. Where have you been? Rahm is one of the more famous Goldman alums..

    Don´t depress me any further...
    No end to the Fed in our lifetime...Bernanke not likely to change course...