Our bailed-out banks need to stop their endless kvetching
The banks are in full howl after Barack Obama wrecked their plans to wreck his consumer protection bureau.
But looking back over the past three years, it seems the banks have been screaming about Obama from the day he took office.
And I'm hard-pressed to understand why they feel so aggrieved.
I know that millions and millions of everyday Americans have lots of reasons to be disappointed – even angry.
The president's programs to save homeowners from foreclosure or create jobs for the unemployed haven't accomplished much.
The working poor who toil for $8 an hour have every right to be upset that Obama never raised the minimum wage as he promised he would.
But the banks?
When it comes to bailing out the banks, Barack Obama has been a smashing, unqualified success.
When they needed billions to survive their reckless lending and stupid investments, they got it from the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve.
When they needed deals to settle allegations that they'd repossessed homes with faulty documents, misled investors and discriminated against minorities in their lending, the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission were always there with a settlement.
No one had to admit any criminal wrongdoing either, which made it harder for customers and shareholders to sue and for prosecutors to send any bank executives to jail.
So to many of us, it seems like Barack Obama has been on the banks' side when they've needed him most, yet they've repaid that support with arrogance and hostility.
I'm not the only one who's noticed this.
Last fall, Secretary Timothy Geithner was asked why the banks hate Obama at The Atlantic magazine's Washington Ideas Forum.
Geithner, an industry guy if there ever was one, replied that "it's inexplicable" that bankers who backed Obama in 2008 are now trying to wreck his presidency.
Turning amateur psychologist, Geithner suggested that "some people resent needing help."
But I'm skeptical that the banks resent taking one penny from the government. (It's any quid pro quo that makes them crazy.)
I prefer a less conventional explanation I heard on The Daily Show just a few weeks earlier.
Host Jon Stewart was interviewing author Ron Suskind about his unflattering book on Obama's first two years in office, Confidence Men.
“We keep hearing that the Wall Street guys hate Obama, and my sense is ‘Why?' " Stewart said. "They’ve had it as good as anyone in this country over the past two and a half years, probably better. What’s their beef?”
Suskind replied that he'd asked a “senior Wall Street guy” exactly that, and the unnamed financier admitted that Obama "isn’t anti-business, but that when we say he’s anti-business, he just ends up doing more for us.”
That sounds more like it.