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Citigroup Inc.’s chief economist is leaving the company for a job at the Treasury Department, according to an internal Citigroup memo.
Lewis Alexander, who has been at Citigroup since 1999 and before that worked at the Federal Reserve, will head to the Treasury “to work on domestic financial issues,” said the Citigroup memo, which was sent Tuesday.
Let’s get this straight — the chief economist of a huge bank that is on the verge of bankruptcy even after a government bailout is on the way into the Obama administration to work on domestic financial issues.
That’s rather like having Ted Bundy work on sorority affairs for a university, don’t you think?
The administration says Lewis Alexander had no part in Citibank’s management. He was, however, their chief economist — one of those people who, were he doing his job right, would have foreseen the issues we’re present engaged in. But he did not do his job.
Mr. Alexander’s role as Citigroup’s chief economist didn’t entail significant management responsibilities. But his optimistic economic forecasts colored executives’ views that the U.S. was unlikely to face a prolonged slump. . . .
In the past five quarters, Citigroup has booked a total of more than $37 billion in net losses, largely stemming from the company’s overexposure to the U.S. real-estate sector.
Holy cow. You can’t make this stuff up. The guy whose advice led Citigroup to the verge of collapse is going to give Barack Obama domestic financial advice.
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama savaged John McCain for saying the fundamentals of the American economy are sound. Now Obama is saying what McCain said. Is he already getting advice from Alexander, whose “optimistic economic forecasts colored executives’ views that the U.S. was unlikely to face a prolonged slump.”