In defending his administration’s efforts at putative financial reform, President Obama suggested a ceiling, perhaps government-imposed, for Wall Street executives. Although he did not begrudge them income that is “fairly earned,” he added ominously, “I do think that at a certain point, you’ve made enough money.”

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The president may be projecting guilt from his own excellent adventures in greed. A surprising 2006 article for the American Century Foundation by liberal publisher Peter Osnos sheds useful light on this subject. As Osnos relates, a 1990 New York Times profile on The Harvard Law Review’s first black president caught the eye of a hustling young literary agent named Jane Dystel.

Dystel persuaded Obama to put a book proposal together, and she submitted it. Poseidon, a small imprint of Simon & Schuster, signed on and authorized a roughly $125,000 advance in November 1990 for Obama’s proposed memoir.

With advance in hand, Obama repaired to Chicago, where the University of Chicago offered him an office and stipend to help him write. Obama dithered. At one point, in order to finish without interruption, he decamped to Bali for a month. Obama was supposed to have finished the book within a year. Bali or not, advance or no, he could not. He was surely in way over his head.

Read More: By Jack Cashill, American Thinker


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