Obama cabinet official Peter Orszag took a spin through the revolving door and ended up in a million-dollar sinecure at Citigroup, which is still part owned by the government.
James Fallows has the best take on that, calling it “damaging and shocking”:
When we notice similar patterns in other countries — for instance, how many offspring and in-laws of senior Chinese Communist officials have become very, very rich — we are quick to draw conclusions about structural injustices. Americans may not “notice” Orszag-like migrations, in the sense of devoting big news coverage to them. But these stories pile up in the background to create a broad American sense that politics is rigged, and opportunity too. Why do we wince a little bit when we now hear “Change you can believe in?” This is an illustration.
I’d love to see the full-blown Fallows treatment on this theme in an upcoming issue of The Atlantic. Sort of a companion piece to Simon Johnson’s fantastic “The Quiet Coup.”
— Speaking of The Atlantic, The New York Times reports that the longtime money loser is now in the black. How did that happen in the worst recession in eighty years?
The Times credits the mag’s focus on the Web, but that’s only part of the story.
This is good news, but I wish the Times had broken out the magazine’s revenue better. Doubling the magazine’s revenue in five years is fantastic, but the Web doesn’t account for most of that gain. We should have been told what online revenue, which is now at about $6 million a year, grew from. And while getting more money from the Web has helped push the magazine into profitability, it’s still less than 20 percent of The Atlantic’s revenue.
— I pointed to a Journal story on Monday looking at how Google is using its dominant market position to benefit its own products.
So it’s worth noting that the Washington Post had a nice story the same day. Its angle is sharp:
As the tech giant spreads its reach, it is making new enemies who fear that once Google steps onto their turf it will use its almighty search engine to quash them. Now, these critics are pushing antitrust officials to block some of Google’s mergers or build a blockbuster case against the search behemoth, reminiscent of the government’s battle with Microsoft.
And this is interesting: