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Three Financial Stooges Nyuk It Up for Obama

March 30, 2009
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Milli Vanilli was a duo from the late 1980s and early 1990s who rose to superstardom but were forced to give back a Grammy when the public discovered that they didn’t sing their own songs.

Universal Pictures even optioned a Jeff Nathanson script on the Milli Vanilli story to make into a motion picture.

In a similar inauthentic vein, a rep for “American Idol” has admitted reluctantly that the group performances on the show are lip-synched, according to The New York Times,.

Meanwhile, President Obama, who seems to be overly attached to his teleprompter, recently conducted an Internet town hall meeting that smacked of showbiz sleight of hand.

The event had been promoted as open to any and all citizens with an Internet connection.

But questioners called on at the event by Obama included: a member of the pro-Obama Service Employees International Union; a member of the Democratic National Committee who campaigned for Obama in the Hispanic community; a former Democratic candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who endorsed Obama; and a Virginia businessman who was a donor to Obama's 2008 campaign.

So the virtual deck was stacked with supporters whose questions would give the president the opportunity to launch on his preferred message of the day.

An unsubstantiated source indicates that Obama has plans to leave his teleprompter at home and instead lip-synch his next town hall meeting.

Speaking of theatrics, another Hollywood remake is coming soon to a multiplex near you.

A “Planet of the Apes,” “Superman,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Titanic,” or “Psycho” redo?

No, it’s a 21st-century feature film version of “The Three Stooges.”

Two real-life stooges of Hugo Chavez will be in it. Sean Penn is all set to play Larry, and Benicio Del Toro, Moe. Jim Carrey reportedly will shave his head and gain weight to play Curly.

Maybe studio execs should consider doing a flick on the Three Financial Stooges: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner.

These numbskulls had a lot to do with getting us into the economic jam we find ourselves in.

In fact, long before Barney Frank and Chris Dodd threw a gigantic wrench in the works when others were trying to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from hemorrhaging, the Three Financial Stooges laid the groundwork for this economic catastrophe, and they did so in Bill Clinton’s administration.

Rubin was Treasury secretary, Summers was his assistant, and Geithner was an undersecretary.

Rubin, Summers, and Geithner lobbied Clinton, and ultimately Congress, to get rid of the Glass-Steagall Act, which stopped banks from entering into the securities market. They were also part of the group that rammed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act through.

Banks then could gamble with credit-default swaps and collateralized-debt obligations — financial instruments that ordinary folks and even some regulators didn’t really understand.

These were the things that Warren Buffett called “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

Banks then were able to use derivatives to make their books look better, buy mass quantities of subprime mortgages, and become “too big to fail” institutions.

Geithner went on to become head of the New York Federal Reserve, where he would be instrumental in backing the Paulson bailouts, including the infamous AIG bailout. He now is President Obama's Treasury secretary, while Summers is a key economic adviser.

These individuals knew about the AIG bonuses. They were informed via a Feb. 28 memo that the AIG bonuses were coming on March 15.

They’re also the ones offering us a new plan, one in which taxpayers essentially would buy back from the banks the very toxic assets the Three Financial Stooges helped to create.

Rubin recently said he plans to leave Citigroup in April; this after he oversaw the bank’s stock go from $50 a share two years ago to today being worth less than $2. He still apparently will make himself available to the Obama administration to give more sage advice.

Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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