This week's news that former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag may be joining Citigroup -- where the U.S. government STILL owns an 11 percent stake -- certainly doesn't help Obama change the public perception that there's an insidious relationship between Wall Street and Washington. Neither does the fact that Orszag's successor in the White House, Jacob Lew, used to be a COO at Citigroup.
I guess that's why it should come as no surprise that nearly half of Americans mistakenly think that Obama passed TARP (a.k.a. the bank bailout). Even though Obama passed the financial reform bill that helped curb predatory lending, it seems to have slipped into a distant memory as the public continues to believe that Wall Street runs our government.
Orszag certainly isn't the first government official to cross over to the private banking sector, or vice versa -- it seems to almost be a revolving door. Former OMB Director Joshua Bolten -- appointed under Bush -- had a history with Goldman Sachs. As did former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- another Bush appointee -- and former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, a Clinton appointee. And lest we forget, there is also former Treasury Secretary John Snow, who went to Cerberus Capital Management, which was managing Chrysler's bailout at the time.
But no matter who started the co-dependent love-fest between Wall Street and Washington, D.C., this latest news certainly doesn't help to instill faith in the American people that the government is watching out for them rather than the bankers who got us in this mess. The idea that the same guys responsible for regulating the financial industry are so eager to get back in bed with them as soon as they leave D.C. isn't exactly the kind of PR the White House wants right now.
Joe Trippi is a Fox News contributor and political strategist who worked for Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale and Gary Hart and turned Howard Dean into an unlikely front runner in 2004. For more visit JoeTrippi.com.