Government Teat-Sucking Bankster, Steven Rattner, Calls Auto Bailout “Un-American”

I’m sure someone thought it was a good idea to trot out Steven Rattner to spin the government’s announced plan to sell its GM stake.

But I don’t know how anyone thought a bankster–and particularly this bankster–could say this and still wield any credibility.

From Washington’s point of view, divesting its remaining shares will end an uncomfortable and distinctly un-American period of government ownership in a major industrial company.

Sure. Rattner places this sentiment in “Washington’s point of view.” Still, consider the messenger.

After all, he barely mentions here–as he did in his book–that this was not just a bailout of some industrial companies. It was also a bailout of two finance companies, Chrysler Finance and GMAC (he mentions that the government still owns Ally/GMAC, but still calls the scorecard, “nearly complete”). As such, it was also the bailout of the Private Equity firm, Cerberus, that had spent the previous years stripping Chrysler in the hopes of retaining just the finance arms.

He also neglects to mention that the government still pursues the un-American policy of treating banks according to a different set of rules, not only providing them free money, but seemingly exempting them from all laws.

Finally, he shows no self-awareness of his own history, including paying kickbacks so his firm could make big money off of New York State (for which he, like all banksters, got a mere wrist-slap).

I’m not saying the government should hold onto its GM stake forever (though unlike Rattner, executive compensation is the last reason I’d cite to applaud this sale). But having someone like Rattner call government intervention in purportedly capitalist companies un-American only perpetuates the idea that industrial companies should have to abide by so-called rules of capitalism that the titans of capitalism, the banksters, have all but discarded.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

6 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    And there are Very Serious People who think he should be the next Treasury Secretary.
    I don’t think he’s qualified to run a credit union branch office.

  2. John Casper says:

    Thanks ew. This is exactly where the House Progressive Caucus should be. Don’t play defense, get on offense.

  3. Analist says:

    Wonderful analysis, and my sentiments exactly. Only it is worse than that with the Rattner world view. Steve not only participated in pay to play, but at the same time was at Brown lecturing Econ 101 classes on the merits of being Rattner, no doubt. He cried to Charlie Rose that he was being bullied, no less, and has since done everything possible to keep his unlikeable face on television, albeit only on Fox and other credibally-challenged stations. Steve eschewed journalism for finance (wanted to BE the rich and famous, instead of writing about them, he said) and now seems to be sucking up to anyone who will listen. He is betting on the amnesia of public opinion, so your comment is all the more important. Here on LI, he is unwelcome but stubborn in his insistence to
    build a horrid 18000 sq ft monument to himself, in the face of his neighbor’s protests. Ugh, it goes on and on. Hopefully, Rattner and his legacy will still be considered more of a risk than a benefit for the administration, and he will be prevented access to his unrealized dream–Treasury Secretary. If we can find his bank accounts, we will benefit from some of Steve’s assets in higher taxes on his 300 millions.

  4. Mauimom says:

    @Analist:

    You should have seen the whining Rattner did at the FDL book salon when discussing his book.

    ***Some*** criticized him, and he really couldn’t take it.

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