Wall Street’s Greed Tests Obama

Ma Jian Bo

During Obama’s campaign, one often heard the words “I have a dream”. He painted a glorious hope for the American people. He wants to promote America’s manufacturing industry and real economy, to rebuild the U.S. economy, to supervise the setup of the banking infrastructure. He also wants to reorganize America’s balance sheet, to find job opportunities for several millions of people and to the American people away from the global financial and economic crises. One should say Obama has the ideals and passion to undertake being president. He keenly noted that in the period after World War II the U.S. would confront a period of decline as a part of the natural rise and fall cycle of countries. Uncontrolled, over-consuming and in debt, the golden years have already passed. The old way of settling the bill of global trade and pricing the global assets in America’s economic system is already outdated. The U.S. is experiencing a grim economic test. Therefore, everything must change. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the U.S. to break away from the fate of the rise and fall cycle. Obama must carry out the role of Moses in the new century.

However, the reality is ruthless. After Obama took office, serving to stop the spread of the global banking crises and America’s economic recession, he made vigorous efforts to make the country prosperous and tried his best to mediate and actively called upon Congress to pass the huge economic stimulus. But all of these actions seem not to have turned out the way that one expects. The U.S. Government’s investment is continually flowing into the financial black hole of the American banking sector, in particular, into the pockets of banking sector's top management. The government’s stimulus plan has lost its effectiveness in promoting the economy. The greed of Wall Street is swallowing the American people’s enthusiasm, desecrating Obama’s noble ideals. Public funds used for bonuses have lead to global public indignation.

Recently, AIG, the finance tycoon facing bankruptcy, used public funds to pay the so-called top management large bonuses, in order to save itself from its fate. Other financial institutions, such as Citigroup and JPMorgan, also plan to implement a pay increase. This has aroused enormous shock and public indignation throughout America and the world because, although these funds are referred to as public resources, they are in essence the American taxpayer’s money. The United States has a lot of debt and actually consumes the resources of various creditors and tax payers. The American government’s steps to rescue the market seem not to show results. Such an economy is hard to revitalize, and it will inevitably encumber European and global economic recovery. If so, Obama will not only break his promise to the nation, but also fail in his promise to the creditors who actively rescue U.S. Therefore, an angered Obama, recently blamed AIG and gave orders to Treasury Secretary Geitner to recover the money by any legal means. New York State Attorney General Cuomo has also carried on a related investigation.

 

The AIG event has revealed Wall Street's true greed and let the common people see the underlying reasons behind the global finance Tsunami. Rome was not built in one day and neither was the financial Tsunami. Wall Street has developed many tools to acquire as much profit as possible and feed its greed. Expanded selfish desires and cheating, once again block the opportunity and space for system innovation. The lax nature of supervisory organizations and flaws of the monitoring function, but also arbitrarily enlarged marginal greed on Wall Street, ultimately have all contributed to ignite the center of the financial Tsunami. America frequently presents itself as the dominant country. It always feels a sense of responsibility to interfere with globe affairs, and yet what responsibilities are there for Wall Street today? The basic responsibilities of the so-called “triple bottom-line “—societal responsibility, environmental responsibility and financial responsibility --have become outdated MBA credos on Wall Street. The only thing left in their eyes is “Money”.

It is apparent that Obama must strengthen the finance and economic legal system to remove financial malignant tumors. Governing the financial structure has become an urgent priority. The AIG incident has also given us a huge revelation. Today, with financial tsunami and the economic crisis spreading globally, we should all think about whether the social responsibility of cutting executive salaries and banding together during difficult times ought to be talked about again. Should this become a sacred mission? Obama’s new government administration has large responsibilities, and has a long way to go. A thousand miles begins with a single step. We all hope Obama’s administration will keep promises. We hope that Obama will be bold and decisive, launching the journey of rebuilding hope.