This is a great piece on the presumed incoming Treasury head Jack Lew. Lew spent several years at Citigroup padding his income, even benefiting directly from the TARP and Fed bailouts as Citi received a lifeline to stay in business. As it turns out, the deal Citi made with Lew is even more grotesque than those readily apparent conflicts. Lew’s employment agreement with Citi is downright comical. As Yves Smith digs beneath the details, the evidence is pretty overwhelming that this whole relationship has conflicts as far as the eye can see, yet the institutionalization of corruption seems to be somehow missed by the guy who has profited from it.
“But this simply means that Lew is a member of a protected class. The rules that apply to little people, including giving accurate, as opposed to strained-at-best, answers to Congressmen, just don’t apply to him. The idea that his pay package was basically a huge option payment by Citi on the pretty good odds that he’d land another big deal official post, doesn’t seem to occur to him. And why is that worth so much to Citi? Well, as we know, corruption in the US does not (often) take the form of briefcases full of cash being left in an office. It’s an ugly combination of intellectual capture, of mutual backscratching, and “don’t rock the boat,” of accepting norms of discourse, behavior, and action, that circumscribe the range of possible actions.”
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Sinclair