Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth lashed out at President Barack Obama’s economic team Thursday, saying they show more concern for Wall Street than average Americans in a blunt election-year assessment from an Obama loyalist frustrated by a tepid economic recovery.
What started out as a bashing of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell by union activists, who pressed for more public transportation projects, shifted gears briefly when Yarmuth took aim at Obama’s inner circle of economic aides.
“I’m not real happy with our economic team in the White House,” Yarmuth said. “They think it’s more important that Goldman Sachs make money than that you make money. And that’s where we’ve got to change the attitude of this country.”
Dear Representative Yarmuth: There is a reason that Goldman Sachs acts like it owns the Democratic party. It does:
Goldman Sachs is one firm that’s learned that politics matters: The sinking investment bank received some $12 billion in bailout funds while its competitor, Lehman Brothers, was allowed to go bankrupt. Goldman operators move easily between government and the private sector and have played key roles in both Democratic and Republican administrations. But like the rest of Wall Street, they have tilted heavily Democratic of late. Goldman Sachs was the biggest business donor to Democrats in 2008, according to a Center for Responsive Politics report. Some 73 percent of Goldman Sachs’s millions in 2006–08 donations went to Democrats, but its outlook has been informed by bipartisan pragmatism: The banking bailout came from a Republican administration and was marketed by Goldman Sachs alumnus Hank Paulson, who literally begged, on bended knee, for the money. It was managed by assistant treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs foot soldier Neel Kashkari and was politically nudged along by Bush’s chief of staff, Josh Bolton, another Goldman veteran.
With Democrats now controlling the elected branches in Washington, Goldman has an even stronger hand: Former chairman Robert Rubin is the dean of the Goldman Sachs Democrats, the group that ran economic policy under the Clinton administration and is doing the same under Obama. Rubin acolytes Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, and Peter Orszag already are filling key economic-policy positions, and Rubin’s son, Jamie, is raising money on Wall Street for Democrats and acting as a talent scout for the Obama administration. The elder Rubin is sure to have the ear of all the major players. Geithner, hurt in the ruckus over his unpaid taxes, has turned to the bank for a reliable loyalist, hiring former Goldman lobbyist Mark Patterson as his top aide. And Geithner’s replacement at the New York Fed? William C. Dudley, former managing director of Goldman Sachs.
Other major nodes on the Goldman-Democratic nexus include Al Gore’s London-based private-equity firm, Generation Investment Management, which was founded with assistance from former Goldman boss Paulson and includes in its ranks a half dozen prominent Goldman veterans. Former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood is its CEO, earning the firm its nickname, “Blood and Gore.” Goldman Sachs is a significant investor in E+Co, Blue Source, and APX, all firms positioned to profit from the cap-and-trade schemes that are at the heart of Gore’s global-warming crusade.
You get what you pay for.