Skip to main content

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, OMB
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, nominated to head OMB
The director's post at the Office of Budget and Management has been vacant for a year, but on Monday President Barack Obama nominated 47-year-old, West Virginia native Sylvia Mathews Burwell to fill it. The Rhodes scholar is another of the many Clinton administration officials who Obama has appointed to high- and mid-level positions. Of her, Erskine Bowles, of the Simpson-Bowles cat food commission and once Bill Clinton's chief of staff, said that the day she came to work to work as deputy chief, his "IQ went up 100 points":
(She is) the single most competent person I’ve ever worked with.
She's going to need all her skills. As Matthew Cooper points out:
She’s got a brutal job ahead of her as OMB director. The age of austerity is upon us; and while the current round of sequestration is largely out of OMB’s hands--the Budget Control Act mandates the cuts, leaving little discretion to the president to devise an alternative short of amending the law—the upcoming renewal of last year’s continuing resolution will put Burwell in the middle of the action. And, of course, there are the long-term fiscal challenges beyond this year. Whether the genial Burwell ends up as a tough negotiator with the Hill remains to be seen.
After a short stint at the consulting firm McKinsey, Burwell worked as a volunteer in Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, and then filled several budget-related positions in the new administration, including being chief of staff for Robert Rubin when he was secretary of the Treasury. She became deputy chief of staff for Clinton alongside John Podesta, and deputy budget director for Jack Lew, Obama's former chief of staff who just took over as Treasury secretary. He was director of OMB for the last two and a half years of the Clinton administration, and for a year-and-a-half under Obama. So she'll be working with people she's known for a long time.

Although she is unlikely to run into more than token opposition in the Senate—John McCain has already praised her—there are critics.

After 10 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Burwell departed 16 months ago to head up the Walmart Foundation. It and its Walmart parent distributed $959 million in cash and in-kind gifts during 2011, $873 million of it in the United States, the rest abroad. The foundation targets hunger relief, environmental sustainability, and, ironically, given its treatment of female employees, women's career opportunities.

Please continue reading what critics and supporters say of Burwell's nomination below the fold.

Dominic Rush at The Guardian writes:

"What better place to plant a partisan corporation heavyweight than as budget chief in the Office of Management and Budget?" said Kenneth J Harvey, a filmmaker and author of the WalmartSucks blog. "Obama is an intelligent and fair man, which makes it highly unnerving to suddenly find him so lovingly in bed with Walmart."
Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy & Research said the appointment was "cause for concern":
Obviously Walmart has a lot of interests in, say, labor rights that are not in alignment with the best interests of the country. If she shares those views that would be an issue.
The Nation reported last month that Walmart "has wielded [the foundation's] massive budget to expand the retail giant’s influence at all levels of government and to pave the way for store expansions."
A four-page memo obtained by The Nation makes explicit Walmart’s expectations of public recognition from its grantees. The previously unreported document, titled “Recognizing the Walmart Foundation For Its Good Works,” instructs organizations that “we are looking to the grantees that turn to the Walmart Foundation for funding to help us spread the word.”
The question is how much the 16 months at the Walmart Foundation means in the overall scheme of things in a 24-year career.

Alexis Simendinger reports:

"Sylvia has both a hard head and a soft heart, which is exactly the right combination for an OMB director facing an unfortunate mix of elevated unemployment and tight fiscal constraints,” Peter Orszag, Obama’s first budget director and an economist, told RCP.

Orszag, Citigroup’s vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group, goes back decades with Burwell to a time when both were young aides burning the midnight oil on President Clinton’s economic team. “With her previous experience, including her service at OMB, Sylvia is a skilled budget negotiator but also much more than that. She is an outstanding choice to lead OMB,” Orszag added.

At Gates Foundation, she served as Chief Operating Officer from 2001 to 2006, and subsequently as founding president of the Global Development Program. That was designed to create an array of programs to lift the poorest residents on the planet out of hunger and extreme poverty. Among the programs were grants for water, sanitation and hygiene; libraries; financial services for the poor; and "special initiatives program that includes emergency response and urban poverty," according to the foundation's website.

Microsoft veteran Patty Stonesifer and former chair of the Smithsonian Institution told the National Journal:

“At Gates Sylvia was known for keeping her eye on the ultimate goal—she always reminded her team that they  were not working for the glory, or for the media, or for the grantees and not even for the Gates family. She would hold up a picture of a small girl in Africa that hung in her office who she had affectionately named “The Boss”—and ... repeated, hundreds of times, that we were ALL working for “The Boss.” Now the American citizen is ‘the boss.' "

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  If Obama Thinks She Is The Best Person For (9+ / 0-)

    the job than I don't care so much about the optics. But my gosh, his picks for financial/fiscal/budget postions have just had terrible optics. I mean picking somebody from Wal-mart for this post is like picking somebody from AIG to an insurance position.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:26:27 PM PST

    •  Wasn't Hilary Clinton on the Board (6+ / 0-)

      of Directors of Walmart?

      You should sit & mediate 20 minutes each day. Unless you don't have the time. Then you should sit for an hour.

      by jan4insight on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:11:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ummm (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TexasTom, sewaneepat, askew, howd, basket

      She was head of their charitable foundation.  Not the retail business.

      She may be a fascist for all I know, but lets try to maintain a little perspective.

      Personally, I am more troubled by the Rubin connection.

      •  Yes, saying she is somebody from Walmart (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gator Keyfitz, askew, howd, basket

        is like saying she is somebody from Microsoft.  Walmart Foundation is not Walmart Corp just as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is not Microsoft.

        While I do have concerns about corporate control of governmental policies, it sometimes seems that we demand that no one in government has ever had a job before and no knowledge of the issue they are in control of. Yes, that is somewhat of an exaggeration; however, we do need to remember that just because someone has worked in an industry, it does not mean that they share the worst values of that particular industry.

        And vice versa, how do we expect industries to improve if we castigate everyone who takes a job with them?

        You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

        by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:12:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Benefit of the Doubt ... But ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... when you hit the super trifecta with the likes of:

          1) Bowles
          2) Rubin
          3) Gates
          4) WalMart

          You really got to start to ask your self it it looks like a duck, quacks like and duck and swims like a duck, isn't it most likely that it is a duck?

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:03:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Horrors, she worked in the Clinton administration (0+ / 0-)

            with Rubin and Bowles. How could Obama appoint someone like that. Oh, the humanity. And then she worked for 2 non-profits. Dear Lord, deliver us.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:16:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Foundations are often the lobbyists' shock troops (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        howd

        I have no personal experience with the Walmart Foundation.  Maybe it is largely isolated from the parent, though that would be surprising.

        But let's take the AT&T and Verizon foundations.  I know them pretty well.  They give grants to organizations in exchange (I know, it's not exactly written, but it's very, very clear) for their support on public policy questions.  So for instance AT&T has petitioned the FCC to literally, not figuratively, shut down the public telephone network, taking away all of the regulations that demand that they interconnect with or sell to competitors.  The law be damned.  In the recently-closed Comment period (check apps.fcc.gov/efcs under docket 12-353), several such recipients submitted statements in support of AT&T.  In fact these Comments, from organizations like LULAC and Women Impacting Public Policy,, were remarkably similar in tone and content, though the words were not identical (more like a paraphrase of each other).

        That's what corporate foundations are for, buying sockpuppets.

  •  The Mandarins are shuffled (8+ / 0-)

    No Change for US.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:29:33 PM PST

  •  If you can judge a person (18+ / 0-)

    by the company they keep, then some of the President's picks give pause for thought.

    She may be a fine candidate, but when every appointee comes from such a tiny, corporate biased, sector, then one wonders.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:29:37 PM PST

    •  I Love The Orszag Quote Above Supporting Her (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, chuckvw, twigg, snowshoeblue, howd

      Not that after leaving the White House he landed a senior level job at CitiGroup. Look I am all for people making money, but couldn't he have made enough writing books, speaking, and maybe teaching at say Yale.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:32:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They are all the same serious person. (9+ / 0-)

        Just have different faces. & these days,cashing in has to be many $$$$$$$$$$$$$ larger than a gig at Yale.

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:42:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Guess I Am Different. If I Could (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, twigg, CenFlaDem, Janet 707

          teach a few classes a week. Work on a book. Get paid to speak. Make like a $500,000 a year, I'd be happy.

          Now I am not saying if somebody told me I could make like $50M a year in salary and stock options I might not do just that, but I would like to think if it was for somebody like Wal-Mart or Bank of America I wouldn't.

          Who knows .... but I bet that is a decision I will never be faced with :).

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:47:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about if people with our values get jobs (0+ / 0-)

            at Citi-bank and Walmart and change the corporate values of those companies?

            If you could be in charge of Bank of America, maybe BOA would be a better corporate citizen. How do you expect corporations to become more in tune with liberal values if no liberal is permitted to work for one?

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:15:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Problem with that line of thought ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... is that anyone with openly liberal values is not going to going anywhere but ultimately the unemployment line with those companies, let alone be the CEO.

              Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

              by howd on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:07:14 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You set up a tautology and also disparage a lot (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                basket

                of decent people who do decent things because they do not agree with your ideology 100%.

                I.E: No one liberal (liberal leaning even) could possibly work for a corporation. Therefore everyone who works for a corporation is a right winger. Especially if that corporation is Walmart or Microsoft or any bank whatsoever. Also, all values and works of anyone with any belief I, the purist, disagree with are of no value because of the one belief they have which is in disagreement with my beliefs. So if the Gates Foundation supports charter school, everyone associated with them is disqualified for any liberal position because Bill Gates supports charter schools. I don't care how many people he saves from malaria, or AIDS or polio, etc. or whether said person supports charter schools or not.

                You reject a hell of a lot of people just because they are not pure enough. Reminds me of a certain faction of Republicans. They don't do the country any good and having a purity litmus test whereby no appointee can ever have had a job or even a civil conversation with someone who is not 100% pure doesn't do the country any good either. It would limit appointments to approximately 100 Kossacks who are pure enough; unfortunately none of them have the expertise to be appointed to any of these positions. And then they would be associated with Obama and OMG, he is not pure enough either since he is associated with Ruben, Summers, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Duncan, Geithner... oh my, the list goes on.

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:08:15 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Whyever do you assume that many (0+ / 0-)

              Kossacks (yes,even purists!!!!) haven't had or currently have jobs in corporate America? Given the demographics of this site (high-ish income,white,over 50,educated) that idea strikes me as odd.

              "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

              by tardis10 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 12:03:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You apparently are out of the loop when it ... (9+ / 0-)

        ...comes to the meaning of "enough."

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:18:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  They do get a chance to be CEO for 310 milliion (0+ / 0-)

    citizens of the Federal Repubic of the United States of America.  Let this not be the last time we are here to talk/write about them.  We will know soon enough if they are the real thing or Momorex.

  •  Running Walmart's charitable foundation... (12+ / 0-)

    is exactly the same thing as sitting on their Board of Directors.

    Or something.

  •  I'm more concerned with the Bowles connection. (9+ / 0-)

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:37:50 PM PST

    •  In this case, there is endless fodder (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      howd

      about what connection to be most concerned about!  

      So far nobody has been much troubled by the Gates connection, but for an administration that hired Arne Duncan, I suppose that just works out to be another pea in the lunatical RW education pod.

      •  Gates does good with his blood money. (0+ / 0-)

        His charter school ties are about the only thing I can think of to strongly criticize.

        But the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is pretty good.  Anti-polio efforts in joint projects with Rotary, Anti-malaria and HIV, and infectious diseases in general.  Many other projects that are good at much more than a first glance.

        I have many problems with how Gates made his money, but very few with how he chooses to spend it.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:17:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The major part of my (22+ / 0-)

    legal career involved representing and defending a poster boy for environmental violations.  I'm a life long environmentalist -- does my representation place me in cahoots with the devil?

    Honestly -- I'm getting very tired of purists who do not recognize skills which are translatable and who can't separate job responsibilities from character.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:40:06 PM PST

    •  Oh I Hear You. I Try To Be Careful Here (5+ / 0-)

      since I am kind of a peace loving hippie liberal and for most of my adult life I worked as a consultant for some of the largest defense contractors in the world. Including DynCorp, which from a total number of "soldiers" on the ground in our last two wars makes Blackwater look like nothing .... although I worked for the IT division and didn't even know they kind of had their own army.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:43:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Don't tell me what you believe, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nulwee, grimjc, Odysseus

      show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe."

      •  A clear bright line, huh? (8+ / 0-)

        What if what you "do" is spend your days in the accounting department pushing papers and processing spread sheets - for Halliburton. Then you use much of your "ill gotten" income to donate to food banks, or animal welfare, or shelters for abused women.

        "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

        by Catte Nappe on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:45:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. It does. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gregsullmich, OldSoldier99, No Exit

      If you don't want to face up to what you are, then that is your problem.  Alot of us do evil things just to make a living.  Alot of us don't do anything to stop evil either.  We can and do rationalize these commissions and ommissions all of the time.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:03:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Does it comfort you to live in such a B&W world? (7+ / 0-)

        I'm not an attorney like gchaucer2, but I've worked with many environmental attorneys. I'm an environmental consultant who works for a variety of clients; primarily industries and municipalities, with a little bit of EPA here and there.

        Just because one works for industry doesn't mean they do "evil things" as you put it. And, just because one works for a regulatory agency (or an environmental advocacy group), doesn't mean their motives or actions are pure and flawless.

        EPA, other agencies with an environmental mission, and their employees often (more often than you may believe) make mistakes to some degree or another. Sometimes they're small and understandable. Sometimes they're significant and profound. Sometimes they're borderline incompetent or even illegal. Environmental advocacy groups are no different.

        It's not uncommon to find that agency employees don't fully understand the law or the science or even the details of their own regulations pertaining to a matter. It's not their fault: the science constantly evolves, agency personnel are hampered by limited training budgets, and environmental laws and regulations are second only to the tax code in complexity.

        My job as a consultant is to determine what the problem is, figure out the most cost-effective way to solve it utilizing all the flexibilities provided by law and regulation, and to prepare reports, plans, designs and actions that address the problem and mitigate the unacceptable risk (or environmental damage).

        I've done a lot of good in my career. Horrible cases of contamination that pose a risk to the public have been cleaned up. Terrible contamination that posed a real risk to aquatic biota and the poor subsistence fisherman who depend on them have been identified and removed. Closed industrial plants that were a burden on small towns and large cities have been assessed, decontaminated or demolished and cleaned up, and have been redeveloped into productive use that generates jobs and tax revenues for their communities.

        It's not evil. It's not being "in cahoots with the devil" as No Exit puts it. It's good and honorable work that makes a positive difference in our communities. I would hope folks at this "reality based" site could understand nuance and realize that the world is not quite as black & white as your comment suggests.

        •  No, it doesn't comfort me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gregsullmich

          at all.  It disturbs me greatly, because I know I contribute to the problems.  

          And I can't answer whether the good outweighs the bad.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:01:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I love your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          basket

          response -- because of your expertise.

          " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

          by gchaucer2 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 11:02:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

            I suspect you and I have a lot in common.  I also consider myself an ardent environmentalist. I simply am in the role of actually accomplishing things with the parties that have the means (and responsibility) to do so.

            This litmus test about working for industry that I see around here far too often is tiresome and pretty darn naive.

    •  If you spent your career defending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gregsullmich, howd

      A poster boy for environmental violations I would hope you'd have the grace not to believe you're the best choice to lead the EPA.

      And, yes, you were in cahoots with the devil.  We all have to make our choices in an imperfect world and I am not condemning the work you did, but to claim it should be ignored when selecting people for public positions of trust is an odd position.

      I am tired of the revolving door between those who serve corporate America and those who are supposed to serve everyone.

      This is hardly an isolated incident.

      Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. - Gandalf the Grey

      by No Exit on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:24:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the worry of course is that hobnobbing with (0+ / 0-)

      the neoliberals and corporate aristocracy all day rubs off on your character.

      I think this a very reasonable suspicion.

      It doesn't matter - if she didn't think cutting entitlements was a good idea and loves cutting the deficit then Obama wouldn't appoint her.

      The buck really does stop with him.

      and his appointments generally disappoint, the exception being Jackson.

      Even Lubchenko, a hard core scientist, start blathering on about how corexit was safe when push came to shove.

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:52:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  3 strikes and you're out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BroadwayBaby1, noway2, Not A Bot

    or at least, she should be out.

    Let's see now, she worked for Clinton - strike 1.

    She worked for Walmart - strike 2.

    She received praise from Bowles - strike 3.

    Face it gang, in Obama we got Clinton v2, another corporate Democrat who has no interest in dealing with the issues which are most important to this nation, namely the growing wealth and income divide.

    •  I never thought there was a huge difference... (4+ / 0-)

      ....between Hillary and Obama.

      That's why the primaries got so personal....their differences were minor at best so they fought about silly things.

      I just thought Obama had a better chance of winning.

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:54:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Am So With You. I Was To The Left Of Them (5+ / 0-)

        and I was hard pressed to find many, if any differences. Heck it was almost a coin flip for me of who to support. I choose Obama for ONE reason. I felt it was running a much more organized campaign, and therefore maybe he'd run the country a little better.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:56:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's why (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, pino

        That's why I hope Hillary doesn't run in 2016.  A Hillary victory would push solving the country's real problems out for another 4-8 years.  

        We need new blood. I'm hoping Senator Warren makes her mark in the next 4 years and big time.  That's who we need.  

        We don't need another Clinton clone, retread, or Clinton.  

  •  She's not a Walmart person. (17+ / 0-)

    She's a non-profit person, who happens to have worked at Walmart's non-profit. If being associated with Walmart through their foundation is a problem for some, how are they going to feel about a presidential candidate who was on the Board of Directors of the real Walmart corporation?

  •  Yeah, some people are fretting over (3+ / 0-)

    her Walmart connection. Doesn't it seem though that when the nominee is a woman that both the right and the left seem to find fault in areas that men usually get a free pass on? Obama was under some pressure to appoint more women to his cabinet, and it is good that he has; but this experience is a good example of why it's scary for presidents to appoint women.

    •  I Am That Person That Thinks The President (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      noway2

      even one not in my party, in almost every instance should be able to put together the team they want to work with.

      But as I said in another comment the optics on many of his appointments to financial/budget positions just isn't the best.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:54:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't agree with that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2

      I think "Walmart" would have got them going even if she was a he.

      (For the record, I'm not a Walmart fan by a long shot, but this objection sounds ridiculous.)

      "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

      by Bush Bites on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 04:58:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Walmart Is Like The Most Hated Company (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bush Bites, CenFlaDem

        I often get slammed here when I mention I shop there. Not often and I try to shop at a small local store, but sometimes it is 3 Am and I can't sleep. I need cat food, socks, legal pads, blank DVDs, and a salad, well I kind of "like" Walmart.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:03:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I hear you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          I hate shopping at Walmart with a passion.  In my view they took what was a good idea, leveraging economies of scale and a focus on eliminating waste and efficiency and perverted it into something else.

          That being said, it gets difficult at times to justify the price differences between them and some of the other stores on the exact same branded items, especially on personal staples like hygiene products.  As much as I would like for them to be, my financial resources aren't unlimited and every so often I end up going there.

      •  Every OMB director we've had (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Larsstephens, Janet 707, askew

        has been a man, with only one exception (Alice Rivlin served for a year and a half). There is still a widely-held perception, infecting even many on the left, that women aren't good at dealing with big budgets and all the math involved. It is a deep-seated, sometimes subconscious form of sexism.

        •  I have no doubt that there is always... (5+ / 0-)

          ...sexism involved with the appointment of a woman to any post that can't somehow be already viewed as woman's work.  But the critiques about Walmart from those cited in the diary are mild, qualified with "ifs" and have nothing to do with Burwell's math skills.  

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:27:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  She worked for Walmart's foundation (9+ / 0-)

            for less than 2 years. They give money away, that is all they do. I don't see how this is a problem at all. I do think that women always are vulnerable to even more flimsy accusations than men are. This one seems pretty weak.

            •  I agree, as is obvious from my diary... (7+ / 0-)

              ...that her short term at the Walmart Foundation weakens any criticism of her there. But, if you read The Nation article I linked, it's apparent that WF is using that money they give away to gain favor in communities where they seek to overcome opposition to their operations.

              Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

              by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:49:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Walmart Foundation just gave $470,000 to (0+ / 0-)

                our local Second Harvest Food bank on Feb. 22.

                Yesterday, they announced $6.7 million in grants to 5 national non-profits that provide school breakfasts and other nutritional aids.

                So what if they gain favor in communities that get the food although in all these incidents, the money seems to be going to places that to my knowledge have not particularly opposed Walmart, ie, Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, D.C., and at least 22 other states.

                You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:30:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  My thoughts exactly. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              basket, doc2

              I'm kind of at the point where I can't just judge people because of the parent company they work for, when her specific role was essentially nothing but managing charity.

              We all take jobs at random places that we might not agree with, but when the critics have nothing substantive beyond "uh, if she agrees with Walmart's unofficial policy on X" then that's specious at best.

              Ask her some questions about it, see what she says and that's that.

            •  Bowles, Rubin and Orszag (0+ / 0-)

              I'll give you that less than 2 years at the WF would be something to maybe say "eh" to but put WF with her connections to Bowles, Rubin and Orzag, the vacuum cleaner salesmen working diligently to suck all the money up for the 1%, then I have serious doubts about her loyalty/values.

              Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

              by howd on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 10:28:36 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Rivlin is now shilling for Pete Peterson and his (5+ / 0-)

          "Fix the Debt" astroturf.  

          If you're not talking about what billionaire hedgefund bankster Peter G. Peterson is up to you're having the wrong conversations.

          by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:30:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, cherish0708, Janet 707

      Look at what happened with Chuck Hagel.

      I do think there is something to this notion that a lot of good people, men and women, dont want to be nominated because of the scrutiny that comes with being selected for most government positions.

      Not that the criticism isnt valid, or that these nominees arent prepared for that. But if you know every part of your professional life is going to be framed in a negative way, then you might not think it is worth it to accept a cabinet position.  

      •  Obama should tell the left to (0+ / 0-)

        STFU. Many on the left would be happy to follow his orders to do so, but if he says nothing they are also happy to go on chirping about how this woman's connection to Walmart is such a terrible thing. Sometimes he needs to practice some tough love and forcefully tell Democrats to get with the program. He has enough opposition from the moment he wakes up every morning from the right.

        •  I don't like her (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          miss SPED, cama2008, noway2, Janet 707

          connection to the Gates foundation either.

          And I don't know why people are so bowled over by these entities' donations--it is the least they could do, given the way they got their $$.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 06:09:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obama seems a bit razzle dazzled (0+ / 0-)

            by the Forbes top 10.  

          •  Exactly how did they get their money? (0+ / 0-)

            I find it so interesting that people here are criticizing Burwell for giving away the Waltons' and Bill Gates' money, yet they admit they shop at Walmart. And I bet they either run Windows on their computer or else they have a  MAC and complain about Apple.

            Personally, I admire the person giving away rich people's money more than those who put the money in the rich person's pocket in the first place, especially if that consumer also wants to bitch about the person giving away the money.

            To my knowledge, neither the Waltons nor Gates made their money in an illegal or unethical way. Yes, Walmart does not pay well or provide decent benefits. Yet, we have  people here saying that they shop there because they have limited income and cannot afford to pay the higher prices at other stores. Well, the reason Walmart's prices are low is to a great deal because they do not pay well or provide benefits. So if you shop there, you are complicit in how they treat their employees and in what they have done to destroy small business in small towns all over the US. As Walt Kelley said, " we have met the enemy and he is us." It is us who keep Walmart in business.

            You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

            by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 07:41:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Or else what-he's going to cut my Social Security? (0+ / 0-)

          Oh darn. he wants to do that anyway.

    •  Makes a strong case for selecting the (0+ / 0-)

      best person for a job based upon their qualifications to do the job and their past record instead of focusing on things like plumbing and ethnicity.

  •  Hmm. (0+ / 0-)

    Anyone have the numbers on the WalMart Foundation's overhead vs. actual charitable contributions?

    Aside from the admittedly uncomfortable association with the Big Blue Satan (not Duke, college roundball fans), this would be a decent place to begin research.

    "...even amnesia, if prolonged, can become as dreary as one's old life." - Walker Percy

    by turnover on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:01:30 PM PST

    •  I have the 990. (7+ / 0-)

      The Walmart Foundation reported in 2012 $174M in contributions from Walmart, plus $5M in interest earned for a total revenue of $179M. They distributed to charities a total of $176M. They seem to be paying their officers out of Walmart Corp, the for-profit business, so that their foundation has almost no expenses. That is pretty generous of them actually. They wrote 150 pages worth (single-spaced) of small (around $500) checks to local charities around the country, but also cut some larger, seven-figure checks to orgs such as the Amer. Cancer Society and Brandeis University. They are basically giving away around $200M a year to charities all over the place.

  •  I wouldn't mind her background including a (9+ / 0-)

    16 month stint at the Walmart Foundation if it didn't mean that Walmart will be getting major publicity and kudos for its charitable activity as a result of her nomination.

    Walmart should take some of the money that it donates to the foundation to insure that its employees are paid a living wage and have health care.

    Or perhaps the foundation can provide health care for walmart employees.

    Nah, that's what government is for.

    Only in the darkness can you see the stars - Martin Luther King, Jr

    by Susan Grigsby on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:27:01 PM PST

  •  Doh! (9+ / 0-)
    “Recognizing the Walmart Foundation For Its Good Works,” instructs organizations that “we are looking to the grantees that turn to the Walmart Foundation for funding to help us spread the word.”
    From a decades long career in social services and non-profits, I assure you that this is standard expectation. Whether the donor is individual, corporate, foundation, government - the goal is to get the maximum public exposure for their good works.  

    The most equitable way to do it is have a codified system. X amount for "platinum", Y for "gold", z for "silver" - you see it all the time in the program for the symphony or art museum.  In addition, for the big business/corporate/foundation givers there is a standard amount - X thousand gets your logo on the event/cause web site; y amount gets you on a banner or sign, z amount gives you "naming rights", etc.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 05:40:28 PM PST

  •  The Walton connection is pretty whatever, imho. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, Roadbed Guy, howd

    It's her work with Rubin that leaves intact my assumption that the President's second term will be much like his first.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Mon Mar 04, 2013 at 10:31:32 PM PST

  •  Another Limousine Democrat.. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, noway2, grimjc, squarewheel, howd

    With Italian Hiking boots and a killer outdoor wardrobe. THANK YOU President Obama! Wow! We NEEDED another one of those in power!

    KEWLL.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 05:04:23 AM PST

  •  Another Clinton retread (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, squarewheel

    How can you have change with the same old/same old?  Is Obama even looking for new talent?  Or does he just place a call to the "Bill Clinton Talent Agency"?  

  •  It's not the Walmart connection I'm worried about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grimjc, K S LaVida

    It's the Robert Rubin connection.

  •  Progressives should be VERY worried (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, howd

    The Waltons' and Gates' foundations are at the forefront of public school privatization and union busting.
    http://dianeravitch.net/...

    Unless we mount effective public resistance, progressives will continue to get the finger from the democratic party insiders- including Obama.

    David Frum said it best: ( my paraphrase) The republicans fear their base while the Democrats hate theirs.

    •  First of all, she did not work for the Walton (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew

      Foundation. Secondly, your link does not provide any evidence that the Walmart Foundation has anything to do with charter schools. It just says " well, same family."

      And yes, the Gates Foundation does give money to charter schools, but it also does one hell of a lot for malaria eradication.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 at 08:10:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks great. Consider the other appointments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd

    Geithner
    Summers
    Holder

    It'll all be jes' fine - y'alls just worry too much.

    Seriously, at some point everyone will just accept that what POTUS wants - more importantly why he wants it - just is not what it's wished he would want.

    Hellooooooooooo? The coffee's cold - time to wake up from that uneasy dream into a reality that's a lot more uneasy.

    Obama does. Not. Give. A. Shit. About. The 98%

    or whatever % you want in there, but it's well over 90% whichever way you look at it.

    "Hope and Change?" ROFLMAO. "FUCK THE POOR" is more like it

  •  "euwww" factor (0+ / 0-)

    Boy, that resume really has a bad smell.

    It's such a strange geeky job, though, that maybe we should be grateful that anybody remotely qualified is willing to take it.

    I'd like to hear the names of some alternate candidates.

  •  Sylvia Burwell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sewaneepat, Gator Keyfitz

    Sylvia is a smart girl.  She will be doing a job that most of us don't want to do and don't understand.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site