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A Year in the World-Traveling Life of U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
Originally posted at Occupy.com
15 October 2015
Jacob Joseph (“Jack”) Lew is one of the two most powerful financial diplomats in the world, the other being his central banking counterpart, Janet Yellen, the Chair of the Federal Reserve Board. As the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Lew has been the most important economic official inside the Obama administration since his confirmation in February 2013 following the president’s re-election.
Prior to serving as Treasury Secretary, Lew was White House Chief of Staff to President Obama from 2012 to 2013, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 2010 to 2012, a position he also held in the Clinton administration from 1998 until 2011. Lew was also Deputy Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2010. But from 2006 to 2008, he worked at Citigroup, overseeing the bank’s $1.8 billion in wealth management assets, and was then appointed as one of Citi’s senior executives.
Lew’s appointment to Citigroup was made on the recommendation of the bank’s then-Chairman Robert Rubin, the former Treasury Secretary from the Clinton administration (1995-1999), with whom Lew worked closely. When Lew left the bank to join the Obama administration immediately following the 2008 financial crisis and the billions in bailouts his bank received, Lew got a bonus of almost $1 million from Citigroup on top of his more than $2 million in regular earnings from the bank.
Tracking Lew’s Movements
In examining the role played by the Treasury Secretary to shape U.S. and global economy policy, it’s revealing to look at his schedule over the course of a year. After reviewing Secretary Lew’s schedule of phone calls and meetings in 2014, it’s easier to understand what it means to be one of the world’s most powerful financial diplomats. More than any other high-level official, Lew was in consistent contact with Yellen, having held over 30 phone calls or meetings with the Federal Reserve Chairperson over the course of the year, which included regular lunch or breakfast meetings.
As the two top diplomats and managers of the American economy and the U.S. dollar, it makes sense for these two individuals to meet frequently, both to assess the economic outlook and to devise a common U.S. position at international meetings – like the bi-annual meetings of the IMF steering committee known as the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), as well as the secretive meetings of finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of Seven (G7) and Group of Twenty (G20) nations.
Officially founded in 1976, the G7 sits at the center of global economic governance, meeting at the head of state level once a year, and holding multiple meetings and conference calls among the finance ministers and central bank governors of nations that comprise its membership: the U.S., Germany, Japan, France, UK, Italy and Canada. The G20, on the other hand, was founded as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in 1999, and only started meeting at the head of state level in late 2008 in the midst of the global financial crisis.
Jack Lew was in frequent contact with his G7 peers, including all of the finance ministers and most of the central bankers. In addition to the gatherings of the G7 and G20, Lew spoke or met with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble roughly 20 times throughout 2014. In the same period he met or spoke with the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, roughly 16 times; with European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi some 15 times; and with Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso 14 times.
Secretary Lew also had extensive contact with French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and his predecessor Pierre Moscovici, who became European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs; Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan; Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver; and Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an institution that brings together central bankers, finance ministers and regulators to oversee the global management of financial markets. Lew spoke or met with Carney some 12 times throughout the year.
But apart from Yellen, the high-level official with whom Lew had the most contact was Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF and a former French Finance Minister; Lew met or spoke to Lagarde roughly 23 times in 2014, including at the meetings of the G7 and G20, which the IMF Managing Director typically attends.
The G20 has a much wider membership than the G7, though it includes all of the G7 nations in addition to Australia, the European Union, and major emerging market economies such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Indonesia and South Korea. The heads of major international organizations like the IMF, World Bank, Bank for International Settlements (BIS), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also typically attend the meetings of the G7 and G20.
Following Yellen, Lagarde and Schauble, Secretary Lew was most frequently in contact with Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, with whom he met or spoke roughly 17 times throughout the year. While Australia is not even a member of the G7, it would typically seem odd to have such extensive communication between its Treasurer and the U.S. Treasury Secretary. But Australia was hosting the G20 meetings in 2014, and thus Hockey closely coordinated with Lew on meetings that involved financial officials convening four times during the year.
Another name that stands out is Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Singaporean Finance Minister who held nine separate calls and meetings with Lew, and 13 including those of the G20. Shanmugaratnam became Finance Minister of Singapore, a wealthy Asian city-state, in 2007, and has also held the dual role as head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country’s central bank. In addition, Tharman serves on the board of directors of Singapore’s large sovereign wealth fund, GIC, which manages between $100 and $350 billion in assets, including significant stakes in Citigroup and UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank.
The likely reason why Lew had such frequent contact with Shanmugaratnam – the chief financial diplomat of a country that is neither a member of the G7 nor the G20 – is because in March of 2011, Shanmugaratnam was appointed Chairman of the IMF’s steering group, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), made up of finance ministers and central bank governors from the nations represented on the Fund’s Executive Board.
Lew attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January of 2014, where he held private bilateral meetings with Mark Carney of the Bank of England (and FSB), Saudi finance minister and central bank governor Ibrahim Al-Assaf, ECB President Mario Draghi, and Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, who was another emerging market diplomat with whom Lew had frequent contact throughout the year (eight separate phone calls and meetings, or 12 including those at the G20).
In February, Lew traveled to Australia for the first G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors under the chairmanship of Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey. Lew moderated a session of a conference hosted by the Institute of International Finance (IIF) and held private meetings with German Finance Minister Schauble, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and top financial diplomat Ali Babacan, and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso. And just before the official G20 meetings began, the G7 countries got together for a quiet one-hour meeting as well.
As the Spring Meetings of the IMF were starting in April, Jack Lew held private meetings with Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Videgaray of Mexico, Draghi of the ECB, Saudi Finance Minister Al-Assaf, and Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega. Once again, Lew attended a private one-hour gathering of the G7 ministers before attending a wider G20 meeting of ministers and central bank governors on April 10. The following day, Lew attended the joint G20-IMFC meeting, and continued with G20 meetings for the rest of the day.
In September, Lew once again traveled to Australia for a special meeting of G20 financial diplomats, during which time Germany served as host for a private lunch meeting of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors. He returned to Australia in November for the main head-of-state summit of the G20, where he privately met with his counterparts from Saudi Arabia, China, France, Japan, and with Mark Carney of the FSB.
As the chief financial diplomat from the most powerful nation and economy in the world, Jacob Lew is the central figure among G7 diplomats with whom he is in frequent contact, while closely coordinating with the chairs of the G20, the IMFC, and the heads of international organizations like the IMF and FSB. Through these and other groupings, Treasury Secretary Lew sits at what can only be understood as the absolute center of global financial diplomacy and governance.
I have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise money to support my efforts to finish the first book of what will likely be a series on ‘Power Politics and the Empire of Economics’.
What I am asking of my readers is not only to consider donating to the project, but more importantly, to share and promote it through social media, by sending it to others who you think may be interested, and to help get the word out in any way you can!
Every bit helps, and a great deal of help is needed if this is to be successful!
I have collected below links to the campaign, as well as a video I made to promote it, and links to the sample introduction chapter that I published online so that potential patrons could read the kind of material that they would be supporting.
About the Project:
This book will tell the stories of the rich and powerful oligarchs and family dynasties who collectively rule our world: the global Mafiocracy, operating behind-the-scenes playing their games of power politics, globalization’s Game of Thrones where rich and influential families play their games, balancing collusion and cooperation with fierce competition to rule the world Empire of Economics.
In 1975, Henry Kissinger told President Ford: “The trick in the world now is to use economics to build a world political structure.”
This book is that story.
A small network of banks and other financial institutions dominate the global economy, its wealth and resources. This small network of corporate power functions as a global financial Mafia, complete with excessive criminal behaviour in laundering drug money, funding terrorists, rigging interest rates and manipulating markets.
Name a nation, and there are rich dynasties that rule behind the scenes. The Rockefellers in the United States, the Rothschilds in France and Britain, the Agnelli family in Italy, the Wallenbergs in Sweden, the Tata family of India and Oppenheimers of South Africa, the Koc and Sabanci families of Turkey, the Gulf Arab monarchs and the rich industrial families of Germany with dark Nazi pasts.
Germany once again rules Europe, with the European Union’s institutions of unelected technocrats undertaking a process of internal colonization as they impose their economic empire upon Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus. Finance ministers and central bankers are the agents of empire, cooperating closely with bankers, oligarchs and dynasties to create a world which best serves their interests. The global financial Mafia mingles with political leaders at forums and secret meetings like the Bilderberg group, the Trilateral Commission and the World Economic Forum.
From the streets of Athens, to Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Spain, China, South Africa, Chile, Canada, and in the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore, people are rising up against exploitation, repression and domination.
This book is not simply a collection of stories of the ruling Mafiocracy; it is designed to encourage strategy among popular and revolutionary movements capable of creating something altogether new. It is time to do away with a world ruled by oligarchs, and save the species from itself. But first, we must know our world better.
Help me to complete the first book in a series on ‘Power Politics and the Empire of Economics’. For four years I have been doing my own research, scouring the archives of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, government documents, official reports and corporate strategies, studying the world of power and empire, translating the political language of ‘economics’ into plain and simple English.
I have been published in multiple news sources, online and in print, interviewed by radio and television networks, and now I am asking for your help to raise $10,000 so that I can finish the first book in this series, to expose the Empire for all to see, its strengths as well as the weaknesses left exposed for us to exploit. Let us bring true democracy and an end to Mafiocracy. Help me to write this book, and together, let’s help each other to end the Empire.
Donate today. Thank you.
Andrew Gavin Marshall
EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Documents from Secretive Meeting of Global Bankers at the 2013 International Monetary Conference (IMC)
EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Documents from Secretive Meeting of Global Bankers at the 2013 International Monetary Conference (IMC)
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
6 March 2014
The International Monetary Conference (IMC) is an annual gathering of roughly 200 of the world’s most influential bankers who meet in private with some of the leading finance ministers, regulators and central bankers of the industrial world. The meetings have been ongoing from 1954 until present-day, and have been influential forums for discussion, establishment of consensus, and the articulation and formation of policy related to global economic, financial and monetary issues.
The following document which I obtained is the program for the 2013 IMC meeting which took place in Shanghai, including the list of events and speakers at the annual gathering. Among the participants and speakers at the June 2013 International Monetary Conference (IMC) are some of the world’s most influential private bankers, including: Baudouin Prot (Chairman of BNP Paribas), Douglas Flint (Chairman of HSBC), Axel Weber (Chairman of UBS), Jacob A. Frenkel (Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International), Jamie Dimon (Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase), Jürgen Fitschen (Co-Chairman of Deutsche Bank), John G. Stumpf (Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo), Francisco Gonzalez (Chairman and CEO of BBVA), and Peter Sands (Chief Executive of Standard Chatered.
Since the IMC took place in Shanghai, it also drew some notable names from the elite within China, including: Hen Zheng (Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China – CPC – Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee), Jiang Jianqing (Chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), Shang Fulin (Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission), Tian Guoli (Chairman of the Bank of China), and Zhou Xiaochuan (Governor of the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank).
Zhao Xiaochuan was not the only central banker present at the meeting, however. Also present were: Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank), Jaime Caruana (General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements), and Janet Yellen, who was then the Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board, now the Chair of the Federal Reserve System.
Download the full program here: International Monetary Conference 2013 Program
Global Power Project: The Group of Thirty, Financial Crisis Kingpins
By: Andrew Gavin Marshall
25 February 2014
The following article was originally posted on 18 December 2013 at Occupy.com
Following parts one, two and three of the Global Power Project’s Group of Thirty series, this fourth and final instalment focuses on a few of the G30 members who have played outsized roles both in creating and managing various financial crises, providing a window on to the ideas, institutions and individuals who help steer this powerful global group.
The Assassin of Argentina
Prior to 2008, one of the most notable examples of a highly destructive financial crisis took place in Argentina which, heavily in debt, faced a large default and was brutally punished by financial markets and the speculative assault of global finance, otherwise known as “capital flight.” Less known in the story of Argentina’s 1998 to 2002 economic catastrophe was the significant role played by just one man: Domingo Cavallo.
A longtime member of the Group of Thirty, Cavallo formerly served both as Governor of the Central Bank and Minister of Economy in Argentina. He has been referred to by Pulitzer Prize-winning economic researcher Daniel Yergin as “one of the most influential figures in recasting the relationship of state and marketplace in Latin America.”
Between 1976 and 1983, Argentina, ruled by a ruthless military dictatorship, was marred by excessive human rights abuses and persecution of intellectuals and dissidents during the so-called “Dirty War” in which as many as 30,000 people were killed or disappeared . The terror was reminiscent of nearby Chile, where a coup that brought dictator Augusto Pinochet to power in 1973, with the help of the CIA, provided a petri-dish experiment in the implementation of neoliberal “reforms.” It was Chile’s dictatorship that set the example, and Argentina’s soon followed.
In a 2002 interview, Domingo Cavallo noted that, “The experience of Chile during the ’80s was very instructive, I think, for most Latin American economies, and many politicians in Latin America, because Chile was successful by opening up and trying to expand their exports and in general their foreign trade and getting more integrated into the world economy… And of course we used, particularly here in Argentina, the experience of Chile to go ahead with our own reforms.”
Asked about the association between economic “reforms” in Chile and the ruthless dictatorship that implemented them, Cavallo explained, “There were discussions on the feasibility of implementing market reforms in a democracy. But in 1990… the first democratic president after Pinochet maintained the reforms and also tried to improve on them [and] it was demonstrated that itwould be possible to implement similar reforms under a democratic regime.”
What specific reforms was Cavallo referring to? Under Argentina’s military dictatorship, Cavallo served for one year as Governor of the Central Bank in 1982, where he was responsible for implementing a state bailout of corporations and banks. After, Cavallo returned to academic life. But all that changed with the election of Carlos Menem in 1989, who served as president until 1999. In 1991, Menem appointed Cavallo as Minister for Economy, a position he held until 1996.
Cavallo led the neoliberal restructuring of Argentina: pegging the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar, trying to reduce inflation, undertaking massive privatizations while opening up the economy to “free trade,” and deregulating financial markets. The New York Times in 1996 heaped praise on Cavallo for his “constructive” role in leading the economy “back to vitality and international respectability,” despite the fact that his reforms “brought high unemployment and painful reductions in social programs.”
Another NYT article credited Cavallo for the “stability” brought to Argentina through his “economic miracle,” while noting, without irony, that Cavallo’s miracle had “left million of Argentines… without a safety net” and with record-high unemployment, the emergence of urban slums, abandoned street children, over-crowded food banks, homeless shelters in churches, and even some people who were forced to eat cats in desperation. The “miracle” was so great, in fact, that despite all of the so-called stability it facilitated, President Menem ultimately dismissed Cavallo to the jubilation of tens of thousands of protesters in the streets. Though the people were pleased, financial markets expressed their disapproval .
With multiple economic and financial crises erupting around the world and in neighboring nations, Argentina, which pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar, found it could no longer compete. The touted neoliberal reforms were taking a toll as the country plunged into recession. Menem was replaced in 1999 by President Fernando De la Rua, who quickly sought support from the IMF to help repay the country’s debts owed to foreign – largely American – banks.
But Cavallo wasn’t out. In 2001, he was re-appointed as the country’s Minister of Economy just in time to receive emergency powers enabling him handle the country’s ongoing financial crisis that he helped to create . At that point, financial markets felt Argentina could not be trusted to repay its debt and the IMF refused to provide further loans, on the basis that the country had not implemented enough neoliberal reforms to meet its demands. The economy crashed and the “much-hated” Cavallo had to resign, as did the President, who fled by helicopter from the Casa Rosada as Argentines protested en masse .
Even the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco noted in 2002 that there was “some truth” to the view that “Argentina’s debt position would have been sustainable if only market uncertainty had not triggered a crisis.” But, it added, had Argentina made the effort asked of it to reduce its debt, it could have avoided “potentially destabilizing shifts in market sentiment.”
The role played by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in creating the conditions that led to the 2008 global financial meltdown is known to many. What is less known is that Greenspan, too, is a former member of the Group of Thirty. Greenspan did not work alone, of course, in his efforts to deregulate the financial system and spur the growth of the derivatives markets, which laid the groundwork for the worst financial crisis in modern times. Larry Summers, who then served as deputy secretary and later Secretary of Treasury under Bill Clinton, was also very helpful in this regard. Summers, too, is a current member of the Group of Thirty.
Currently serving as President Emeritus and as a professor at Harvard University, Summers was the former director of President Obama’s National Economic Council from 2009 to 2011. Previously, he was President of Harvard (2001 to 2009) and, prior to his positions during the Clinton administration he was Chief Economist at the World Bank (1991 to 1993). Currently, Summers is a member not only of the G30 but of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and he was also a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.
While Chief Economist at the World Bank, Summers signed an infamous 1991 memo in which it was suggested that rich countries should dump their toxic waste and pollutants in the poorest African nations — because by the time the toxins spurred the growth of cancer in the local population, they would already statistically be dead due to already high mortality rates. The memo noted : “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.”
When Summers later went to work for the Clinton administration under Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, he along with Rubin and Fed Chairman Greenspan formed the “Three Marketeers,” as Time referred to them, dedicated to “inventing a 21st century financial system” where they placed their “faith [in] financial markets.”
In the final two years of the Clinton presidency, Summers served as the Treasury Secretary alongside his deputy and protégé, Timothy Geithner, another member of the G30 who would go on to make a mark on the financial crisis — largely by convincing President Obama to bail out the Wall Street banks that crashed the economy, with zero penalty to them. Under the Obama administration, Summers served for nearly two years as Chair of the National Economic Council and was a highly influential policymaker . In 2009, he had spoken at the highly influential ultra-conservative think tank, the Peterson Institute for International Economics, where he explained the administration’s approach to the economic recovery, noting that , “Our approach sought to go as much as possible with the grain of the market” as opposed to regulating markets.
When Summers left the Obama administration in late 2010, he returned to Wall Street and made a fortune working for the hedge fund D. E. Shaw & Co. and Citigroup. This past summer, he was considered Obama’s favorite pick to replace Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman, but faced such stiff opposition within the Democratic Party that he withdrew his name, leaving Janet Yellen – the Vice Chair of the Fed and herself a former member of the Group of Thirty – to step in .
What we see, in this analysis of the Group of Thirty, are the connections between those in positions of power to respond to and manage economic and financial crises, and those in positions of power who created such crises. Naturally, as well, the G30’s membership includes numerous bankers who, as fortune had it, shared handsomely in the profits of those crises. Put simply, the G30 can be thought above all as an exclusive club of financial crisis kingpins. And it is a club, no doubt, that will continue to play a significant and not altogether helpful role in global financial management for years to come — or until something is done to stop them.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year-old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is project manager of The People’s Book Project , chair of the geopolitics division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project and the World of Resistance (WoR) Report, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost .
Obama’s Council of Corporate Kingpins: “Prosperity for the American People”?
This article explores President Obama’s White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, examining the 26 members of the Council, looking at their current and previously-held positions, and assessing whose interests are really being served, and who has the ear of the Obama administration when it comes to economic issues. Much has been written on the chief economic advisers inside the Cabinet who represent banking and corporate interests, such as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who was previously the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Instead of re-examining the more widely known conflicts of interest within the administration, this article focuses on the White House council which is specifically tasked with advising on the supposed economic “recovery.” If they have the ear of the President, is it not important to know who pays their salaries?
Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve System, was until recently, Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Upon leaving, Jeffrey R. Immelt, the Chairman and CEO of the General Electric Company, became the new Chair of the Council. The Advisory Board was re-named the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Until April of 2011, Immelt was also on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (alongside JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon).
As stated on the White House website:
The President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council) was created to provide non-partisan advice to the President on continuing to strengthen the Nation’s economy and ensure the competitiveness of the United States and on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people.
The Council will:
Report directly to the President on the design, implementation, and evaluation of policies to promote the growth of the American economy, enhance the skills and education of Americans, maintain a stable and sound financial and banking system, create stable jobs for American workers, and improve the long term prosperity and competitiveness of the American people… [and] provide analysis and information with respect to the operation, regulation, and healthy functioning of the economy and other factors that may contribute to the sustainable growth and competitiveness of American industry and the American labor force.
So, if the Council provides “non-partisan advice” to the Obama administration “to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people,” it would perhaps seem important to identify who these people are, as they profess to serve the interests of the wider population. Below, I will examine brief biographies of most of the members of the Council, focusing on the ones that represent corporate interests. However, below these brief outlines, I will undertake a more cohesive examination of the make-up of the Council.
Who is represented on the Council?
A Note on the Data: The information examined was the official biographies on the White House website of the 26 members of the Council, as well as use of the Council on Foreign Relations’ official Membership Roster, and some additional research retrieved from official biographies on other board memberships. The collection of information is related to discovering which organizations and institutions are most highly represented on the Council. To assess this, the results are based upon positions currently and previously held by members of the Council. Thus, if one member had previously worked for a major bank, but is no longer with that bank, it is still included as being represented in the Council. I chose to analyze the information this way for the same reason that one would look at Timothy Geithner’s previous job in order to assess whose interests he speaks for. Having worked at a bank or major corporation in senior positions would have a significant impact upon the advice one gives on economic issues, regardless of their present affiliation with that bank or corporation. Hence, this is a cumulative assessment of the past and present affiliations of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
The Most Highly Represented Organizations on Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness:
1) The Council on Foreign Relations (8 members):
The CFR was founded in 1921, and was primarily funded in its first decades by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and later, the Ford Foundation. It is the premier foreign policy think tank in the United States. David Rockefeller, while Chairman and CEO of Chase Manhattan (now JP Morgan Chase) was Chairman of the CFR from 1970-1985, and remains as Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors.
2) The Business Council (6 members)
Founded in 1933, the BC is an organization of corporate executives which (according to its website), “invites leaders in government, politics, academia, science, medicine, technology and other sectors to address the Council and to participate in its discussions.” It was primarily an advisory body to the U.S. Department of Commerce until 1961 when it “decided to broaden its scope” to “be available to serve all areas of government which requested their services.” The Chairman of the Business Council is Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, who is on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
2) The Business Roundtable (6 members)
The BRT “is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with nearly $6 trillion in annual revenues,” established in 1972 “on the belief that in a pluralistic society, businesses should play an active and effective role in the formation of public policy.” The Executive Committee of the BRT includes JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Four of the nineteen members of the Executive Committee of the BRT are also members of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
3) Partnership for New York City (5 members)
The Partnership for New York City was formed out of the merger of two organizations: the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the New York City Partnership. As its website states:
Following in the tradition of three generations of Rockefellers who were closely associated with the Chamber, David Rockefeller transformed the organization in 1979. In that year, he founded the New York City Partnership and affiliated it with the Chamber. Although the original Chamber had taken a broad look at what it considered to be “business interests”, it was primarily a business advocacy group. Under Rockefeller’s vision, the new Partnership would allow business leaders to work more directly with government and other civic groups to address broader social and economic problems in a “hands on” way.
4) General Electric (4 members)
One of the most profitable corporations in the world, involved in energy, technology, real estate, aviation, healthcare, transportation, military contracting, oil and gas, power and water, appliances, and media.
4) McKinsey & Company (4 members)
One of the world’s premier global management consulting firms.
5) Google,The Procter & Gamble Company, Harvard University, and the Brookings Institution (3 members each)
The other organizations that are represented by membership on the President’s Council include: The Federal Reserve, Columbia University, The Walt Disney Company, The New America Foundation, Kodak, AT&T, MIT, The Economic Club of New York, American Express Corporation, Time Warner, Xerox Corporation, Amazon, Swiss Re, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Blackstone Group, the Group of Thirty, DuPont, United Technologies, Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup, Dime Bancorp, Hewlett-Packard, the US Chamber of Commerce, Facebook, the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, LaSalle Bank, the World Bank, AMR Corporation, General Motors, Dell, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Intel, Starbucks, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
In total, ten different financial institutions are represented; three major foreign policy think tanks are represented (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Brookings Institution, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, all of which have over-lapping leadership, membership, and funding); six corporate interest groups are represented; four major media conglomerates are represented; eight computer technology and internet corporations are represented; eleven universities are represented, most of which are elite universities, with the highest representation for Harvard, Columbia, and MIT; several chemical companies, military contractors, and foundations, including the Rockefeller Foundation. For the stated purpose of creating “prosperity for the American people,” there are only two labour organizations represented, the AFL-CIO and UFCW.
So it would seem quite clear that those who have the ear of the President on economic matters do not represent the vast majority of American citizens, who – by and large – do not sit as executives or board members of multinational corporations, global banks, powerful think tanks, major foundations, elite universities, or business interest groups. Do you really trust these people to speak for you, your needs, what a real economic “recovery” means for you?
One must ask, if their aim is to – as their website states – create “prosperity for the American people,” did they only have a very specific and small fraction of “American people” in mind? Well, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.
Appendix: Notable Names
The following is a biographical list of selected individuals from the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness:
Ursula M. Burns: Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corporation; board director with American Express Company.
Steve Case: co-founder, America Online; Chairman and CEO, Revolution, LLC; Chairman, The Case Foundation.
Kenneth I. Chenault: Chairman and CEO, American Express Company; board director of IBM, the Procter & Gamble Company, and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation; on the boards of the Partnership for New York City, The Business Council and the Business Roundtable and serves as Vice Chairman of each of these organizations; member, Council on Foreign Relations.
John Doerr: a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; on the boards of Google and Amazon.com; on the boards of New Schools, TechNet, ONE and the Aspen Institute.
Roger W. Ferguson: President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF; Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1999 to 2006; Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New York Economic Club; previously a Trustee of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the National Bureau of Economic Research and the New America Foundation; member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Group of Thirty; former Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, former Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company.
Mark T. Gallogly: Cofounder and Managing Principal of Centerbridge Partners (Centerbridge is an investment firm with over $15 billion of assets under management); previously with the Blackstone Group for 16 years; currently serves on the advisory council of the Hamilton Project, an economic policy group at the Brookings Institution, Columbia Business School board of overseers, the board of directors of the Dana Corporation, is a partner of the Partnership for New York and member of the Economic Club of New York.
Lewis Hay: Chairman and CEO of NextEra Energy, Inc.; serves on the board of directors of Capital One and Harris Corporation; a vice chairman of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies; a member of the Business Board of Advisors at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, and a member of the Business Roundtable.
Ellen Kullman: Chair and CEO of DuPont; a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum, the Business Council, and the executive committee of SCI-America; a member of the board of directors of United Technologies Corp; is on the board of trustees of Tufts University and serves on the board of overseers at Tufts University School of Engineering; and previously worked for General Electric.
A.G. Lafley: Former Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble; serves on the board of directors of GE and board of trustees of Hamilton College and is chairman of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation; has also served as a director at General Motors Corporation and Dell Inc.
Monica Lozano: Senior Vice President of media conglomerate, Impremedia, LLC.; on the board of directors of the Walt Disney Company and Bank of America.
Jim McNerney: Chairman and CEO, the Boeing Company; previously worked at Procter & Gamble, McKinsey & Company, and General Electric; former Chairman and CEO of 3M (a $20 billion global technology company); is also a board director of Procter & Gamble, IBM, a member of The Field Museum Board of Trustees in Chicago, a trustee of Northwestern University, and a member of the Northwestern Memorial HealthCare Board; serves on the executive committee of The Business Roundtable; the former chair of The Business Council, the US-China Business Council and the American Society of Corporate Executives.
Richard D. Parsons: Chairman of the board of Citigroup, Inc.; a Senior Advisor at Providence Equity Partners Inc.; former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, Inc.; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dime Bancorp, Inc.; former counsel for Nelson Rockefeller and as a senior White House aide under President Gerald Ford; also a member of the boards of The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. and Madison Square Garden, Inc., and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is on the board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Antonio M. Perez: Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company; previously had a 25-year career at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he was a corporate vice president and a member of the company’s Executive Council; a member of The Business Council and the Business Roundtable; and was a former member of the Board of Directors of Adobe, Freescale and Schering-Plough Corporation.
Penny Pritzker: President and CEO, Pritzker Realty Group; serves on the board of Hyatt Hotels Corporation and a past board member of the Wrigley Company, Marmon Group and LaSalle Bank Corporation; and is a board member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a trustee of Stanford University, a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, an advisory board member of Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project.
Brian Roberts: Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation; is a member of the Business Roundtable, a CEO only organization based in Washington, D.C. and also serves on the Board of Directors for NBCUniversal.
Matthew Rose: Chairman and CEO, BNSF Railway; is a member of the Board of Directors of AMR Corporation, AT&T Inc., the Association of American Railroads, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and is also a member of the Texas Governor’s Business Council, the Business Roundtable, The Business Council, the Board of Trustees of Texas Christian University.
Sheryl Sandberg: Chief Operating Officer, Facebook; previously Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google; previously served as Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton; prior to that she was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and an economist with the World Bank; and she currently serves on the boards of The Walt Disney Company, Starbucks, Women for Women International, Center for Global Development and V-Day.
Laura D’Andrea Tyson: Professor of Global Management, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley; served in the Clinton Administration and was the Chair of The Council of Economic Advisers (1993-1995) and the President’s National Economic Adviser (1995 – 1996); a Senior Advisor at the McKinsey Global Institute, Credit Suisse Research Institute, and The Rock Creek Group; a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and is a member of the MIT Corporation; on the Advisory Council of the Brookings Institution Hamilton Project and is an Advisory Board member of Newman’s Own, Generation Investment Management, and H&Q Asia Pacific; is a chair for the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council, and serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of Eastman Kodak Company, Morgan Stanley, AT&T, Silver Spring Networks, CB Richard Ellis, the Peter G. Peterson Institute of International Economics, and New America Foundation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Robert Wolf: Chairman for UBS Americas and President for UBS Investment Bank; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy and was on the Board of Directors of the Financial Services Roundtable from 2007-2010.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is co-editor of the book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.” His website is http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com