Courtesy of Pam Martens.
They’re everywhere – on 60 Minutes, peeping out of the display window at Barnes and Noble, going out on internet news feeds. I’m talking about insiders who want to fill in the cracks and voids of Wall Street’s criminal wealth transfer system that has had an iron grip around our country’s throat since at least 1996.
Neil Barofsky, the former Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIG-TARP), has penned a humdinger. Titled Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street, it confirms what we’ve suspected since U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appointed Mark Patterson, a Goldman Sachs lobbyist, to be his Chief of Staff – that the U.S. Treasury Department has become Wall Street West.
Barofsky was minding his own business dealing with drug cartels and mortgage fraud (a cakewalk compared to Wall Street) as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York when the George W. Bush administration picked him to oversee the outflow of what would become trillions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts to Wall Street.
Barofsky has meet and greets with his fellow colleagues at the Treasury Department and other Inspector Generals in their lavish and expansive offices – then he’s led to his new quarters in the Treasury building: a literal stink hole next to the cafeteria. Next Barofsky is delivered a crystal clear message from Herb Allison, a Wall Street retread from Merrill Lynch who was plucked by Geithner to be Assistant Treasury Secretary. Allison warns: “Out there in the market, there are consequences for some of the things that you’re saying and the way that you’re saying them.” Then Allison invokes the Wall Street code: “Well, is it an appointment you might be looking for? Something else in government? A judgeship?” [An office that’s not a stink hole?]
I’ve always suspected that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were miraculously anointed as bank holding companies during the height of the crisis because they were about to fail. Barofsky weighs in on that. Then Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told Barofsky “that he believed that Morgan Stanley was just days away from collapse, and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, similarly confided that he believed that Goldman Sachs would have been the next to go. After that, all bets on the country’s financial system would have been off.”