Barrack Obama's 13 year history as a politician and elected official is based on one idea: promise something for political advantage and then do nothing so the opposition can't hold it against you. He's done it so many times on so many things from healthcare reform to the Bush tax cuts for the upper 5% that there is no point in listing them all. But it's the most recent sleight of hand ( and sleight of what's left of his Democratic constituency) that needs to be pointed out.
Obama, after pressure from Democrats and the left, did as he usually does -- he made promises to quell the political heat that he had no intention of keeping. This time he promised a much needed investigation into the abuses of Wall street and banks that led to the economic melt down.
Many experts who looked at the activities of the banks claim there is evidence of criminal wrong doing, recklessness and a criminal disregard for regulation that caused the financial failures of Wall Street banks ( and AIG) that the country is still paying for.
Obama, in an election year, made promises to Democrats and independents ( conservatives will generally let banks walk all over them) that he would appoint a task force to investigate and if necessary prosecute those in the banking industry whose violation of law or regulation contributed to or caused the financial melt down.
The problem is, as is always the case with Obama, it was more words than deeds. There is in fact a task force but, thanks to Obama, it is comprised of a skeleton staff so thin and undermanned as to be virtually useless. Which, based on Obama's record is exactly what he intended. Appoint a task force to say he did it, but understaff it to such a degree as to make it impossible to accomplish anything so he can avoid criticism and retribution from an industry from which he hopes to raise tens of millions in campaign donations.
The number of investigators authorized by Obama for the financial crimes task force is 55 and many of those still haven't been deployed. In comparison during the savings and loan crisis in the 80's more than 1,000 FBI agents were assigned to investigate the activities of the banks, and that didn't include the large number of federal prosecutors assigned to assess culpability. The Enron scandal alone had over 100 agents assigned to investigate, a scandal which was a drop in the bucket in terms of damage caused to the country and the economy in comparison to the financial crisis, yet the investigation into possible wrong doing by the banks which led to the biggest financial crisis since the Depression has a task force of 55 staffers .
CREDO is circulating a petition to Obama to increase the size of the investigative staff which you can sign by clicking this link. But sending petitions to Obama about anything is like sending a message in a bottle to the Bermuda Triangle.
A better policy is contacting the DNC and Debby Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair and threatening to withhold votes for congressional Democrats as well as Obama unless there is a real investigation and a substantial increase in staff and commitment, though withholding votes from Obama is probably the best thing to do anyway.
Obama's gutlessness in dealing with Wall Street is nothing new ( as was his gutlessness in dealing with the health insurance industry, the Republicans on just about everything and anything else one can think of). Democratic spokespeople like Wasserman-Schultz want you to believe that Romney is the only flip-flopper running for president, when, whatever Romney's failings ( and they seem to have more to do with his publicly embracing right wing ideas he doesn't believe in for political purposes than his actual policies) Obama could give Romney lessons when it comes to saying one thing and doing another.
Its the DNC and congressional Democrats that need to be pressured to do something and to force Obama whether he likes it or not to make the investigation real, not the 55 member staff that seems to be intentionally inadequate to do the job.
If nothing is done Democratic voters need to somehow let congressional Democrats know that they wont be snowed anymore.
And in continuing the same pattern of his talk being cheap while knowing political campaigns aren't, Obama is once again talking up the Buffet Rule on taxes for the upper 5% income earners, something he could have implemented two years ago when there was a substantial Democratic congressional majority but didnt.
NOTE: as predicted the CREDO petiton was useless and they are now sending out emails urging Democrats to call Obama to demand a real Wall Street investigation. It seems these Democratic groups never learn.