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Democratic Congressman-Turned BOA Exec Harold Ford Warns Obama Not To Listen To Occupy Wall Street

By Lee Fang  

"Democratic Congressman-Turned BOA Exec Harold Ford Warns Obama Not To Listen To Occupy Wall Street"

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Former Congressman and current Bank of American executive Harold Ford

Former Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) joined Bank of America (via its Merrill Lynch subsidiary) after losing his Senate race. A recent Bank of America conference listed Ford as an “Executive Vice Chairman” of the company.

Despite his move from public official to bank executive, Ford used his opportunity on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday to offer President Obama some economic advice. Ford suggested that Obama tone down his supposedly anti-business rhetoric, and instead implement policies like a tax repatriation holiday (a tax holiday for corporations bringing profits made overseas to the United States). Such a bailout to already profitable companies does not even create jobs. Before Ford could go on, MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell interrupted him to ask about the growing Occupy Wall Street movement.

Ford dismissed the movement and told Obama and the Democratic Party to “look beyond Occupy.” In Ford’s world, a tax holiday bailout for super rich corporations like his own is in the “best interest of the country”:

FORD: But the posture and the language and the rhetoric has been just too overheated. And to, to Mr. Welch’s point, you can’t, you can’t incentivize the type of things that he–that they incentivized in this bill. Two, you have huge balance sheets on the part of corporate America, meaning they’re making money. You got to incentivize them, as the president has asked, to use that money to stimulate job creation. There’s a way to do it, if you have some certainty around regulations and taxes. And two, you’ve got 1.2, maybe 1.3 trillion sitting overseas. Allow that money to come back. But–

MITCHELL: With Occupy Wall Street, how does he take that posture?

FORD: He’s the president, Andrea. He’s the president.

MITCHELL: He’s caught between two polar opposites.

FORD: We Democrats can’t criticize Republicans for catering to the tea party and not be–and not say to our Democratic Party you got to look beyond Occupy and be willing to do what’s in the best interest of the country.

Watch it here:

Like former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) and other former lawmakers who have taken jobs at big banks, Ford speaks in the media using his former title instead of his current job. The Meet the Press segment had a chyron for Ford that read: “FMR. REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D-TN).” It should have read: “BANK OF AMERICA EXEC HAROLD FORD.”

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