Friday, January 23, 2009

Firm of Bush's Ex-Treasury Secretary Owns Chrysler

One reason the Bush & Obama Administration's Treasury Department may have been interested in recently bailing out the Big Three automobile corporations with a big corporate welfare grant is that the chairman of the board of the private investment firm that owns Chrysler--Cerberus Capital Management--is John W. Snow.

Coincidentally, between January 2003 and July 2006 Cerberus Capital Management Chairman of the Board Snow was the Bush Administration's Secretary of the Treasury.

Goldman Sachs-Linked Foundation Funds Economic Policy Institute

If you check out the Ford Foundation website, you’ll notice that sitting on the Ford Foundation board of trustees are Goldman Sachs Senior Director Robert Kaplan, former Carlyle Asset Management Group CEO Afsaneh Beschloss and former Morgan Stanley Senior Advisor Peter Nadosy. Yet the Economic Policy Institute [EPI] has apparently been accepting large amounts of money from the Wall Street-linked Ford Foundation at the same time it claims to be “a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that seeks to broaden the public debate about strategies to achieve a prosperous and fair economy,” on its website.

According to the EPI’s Form 990 filing for 2006, for example, the Goldman Sachs-linked Ford Foundation has contributed over $3.7 million to subsidize the research work of the EPI. The Ford Foundation’s own website indicates that the EPI’s New York office was given by the Ford Foundation a grant of $1,250,000 in 2005, two grants (totaling $650,000) in 2006, two grants (totaling $1 million) in 2007 and two grants (totaling $400,000) in 2008.

Billionaire Wall Street Speculator George Soros’s Open Society Institute also has apparently invested a lot of money in the EPI think-tank. According to EPI’s Form 990 filing for 2006, Soros’ Open Society Institute, for example, has contributed over $1 million to the EPI. The Open Society Institute’s own website indicates that the EPI was given by Soros’ Open Society Institute 3 grants (totaling $1,050,000) in 2005 and a grant of $800,000 in 2006.

The Rockefeller Foundation has also contributed $850,000 to the EPI, according to the EPI’s Form 990 filing for 2006. In addition, $730,000 has been contributed by the Mott Foundation and $650,000 has been contributed by the Joyce Foundation to the EPI.

Besides collecting large amounts of money from Wall Street-linked foundations, the EPI also is apparently heavily-funded by some of the same U.S. labor union leaders who have not had much success lately in preventing U.S. corporations from laying off large numbers of U.S. labor union members during the “Great Recession of 2007-2009.”

UAW leaders, for example, have contributed $400,000 to help subsidize the research reports of the EPI, while the AFL-CIO has contributed $595,000, according to the EPI’s Form 990 financial filing for 2006. Over $1.1 million has been contributed by the American Federation of Teachers and over $370,000 has also been contributed by the National Education Association to the EPI. In addition, the United Steelworkers of America has contributed $400,000, AFSCME has contributed $562,000 and SEIU has contributed $410,000 to the EPI, according to the 2006 financial filing. Not surprisingly, therefore, U.S. labor union leaders like UAW President Ron Gettlefinger, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, Lee Gerard of the United Steelworkers of America and Gerald McEntee of AFSCME have been sitting alongside folks like former Soros Fund Managing Director Robert Johnson, Lehman Brothers Senior Managing Director Ernest Green, former American Income Life Insurance Company CEO Bernard Rapoport, American Prospect magazine co-editor Robert Kuttner and an unsuccessful 2002 Democratic Party candidate for governor in Massachusetts, Robert Reich, on the board of directors of the “nonpartisan” EPI think-tank.

Much of the Wall Street-linked foundation and labor union money that the EPI is given each year is apparently used to pay the EPI executives, consultants and researchers annual salaries that are a lot more than what the average U.S. factory worker, U.S. office worker or U.S. student anti-war activist earns each year. In 2006, for example, the “nonprofit” Economic Policy Institute’s total revenues exceeded $6 million and the EPI’s President, Larry Mishel, was paid an annual salary of $199,457 that even exceeded the annual salary of UAW President Gettelfinger. At leasat five employees of the “nonprofit” EPI also were paid annual salaries in 2006 which exceeded $98,000 per year; and for his “professional services” of “project research,” the EPI apparently paid a researcher named Peter D. Hart $127,500 in 2006, according to its Form 990 financial filing.

So given the heavy extent to which the EPI is dependent on Wall Street-linked foundations and U.S. labor union leaders for its funding, it’s not likely that any of its economic research reports will ever demand that “nonprofit” institutions like the Ford Foundation or Harvard University be taxed at the same rate as “for-profit” corporations, in order to obtain the government tax revenue needed to provide union-wage jobs for all unemployed U.S. workers.

Nor is it likely that the EPI will produce an economic research report which demands that U.S. automobile industry finally be nationalized under democratic, working-class community control, in order to avert more mass layoffs of U.S. auto industry workers in 2009 and to protect the economic class interests of rank-and-file U.S. union members, all U.S. working-class people and U.S. consumers.