yeah nobody I mean these are huge18:03numbers to make millions 5 million 1018:06million oh that’s a lifetime’s worth of18:07money you don’t ever need to work again18:10and everybody wanted that you know I18:12could quit working this year I made18:14enough money in one year I’ll never have18:15to work for the rest of my life and that18:17was the goal of everyone it appeared to18:19me huh this is money okay and Aspen’s18:27talking about making money making money18:29making money every year you’re making18:31money and then one year you blow up now18:33the difference between this being your18:35money and being a hedge fund is if this18:38is your money fantastic you’re making18:40money you’re down here you’re bankrupt18:42if it is somebody else’s money if it’s a18:44hedge fund that does this every year18:47they’re taking a percentage they’re18:50taking some of that as profit as their18:52bonus effectively so they make some of18:54that they make some more they make some18:56more all of this money they’re putting18:58into their own bank account and then19:01when they lose money that’s their19:03clients money that’s a lot it’s not19:04their money so you’ve got you can so you19:06can see why it’s very easy for people to19:08abuse this kind of thing I think it’s19:12fantastic the people who take risk19:15should be compensated for taking risk19:19but only if they are actually taking19:22risk themselves taking risk with other19:24people’s money you should not get19:26compensated for I’m sorry I did that the19:29Donald where that fits into economic19:32theory but taking risk with other19:33people’s money does not get rewarded19:34sadly though it does in this business19:38no but now19:46there was a moment when I thought when I19:50questioned why I was ever involved in19:53Wall Street goodbye I need it right now19:56on the double19:57hi that’s something I thought that20:01people would be more judicious and more20:04conservative in their lending and I was20:06involved in it and I thought well wait a20:08second these guys are out of control20:09totally the piece of software per se you20:13know that’s a sort of inanimate object20:15yes people used it but you know if20:18people had used it and put good20:20mortgages into it who never would have20:21caused a problem at all but when you put20:24you know mortgages that you have a20:26fairly high certainty that people cannot20:29repay and then half of all the mortgages20:32issued in a given year that type of20:33mortgages yes the industry has gotten20:36out of control20:39trillions of dollars a year basically20:41went through that model these bonds20:46within two and three years of being20:47issued went from triple-a to20:50unwrite I mean just catastrophic20:51collapse a lot of trading firms that20:55kept these the riskier pieces in their20:58portfolio saw them drop to next to21:00nothing and given the leverages the21:02amount of leverage under the amount that21:03the banks had borrowed they were21:05suddenly in a financial panic21:14Saturday after midnight still studying21:17I know long hours will not stop when I21:20enter a future job as a client21:27because I was primarily a technologist I21:30did not fully understand what was going21:32on I think part of my motivation21:34post-crash for becoming a quant is to21:37gain that understanding having been21:39through the personal experience of21:41seeing the destruction of my firm looked21:45again at my resume that I put out there21:48the same headhunter called again today21:51to see if I would like to take a job in21:53my former field as a financial21:55technologist I declined again of course22:01no invitation for a quanzhou Piett22:13people that are in the business right22:15now probably refuse to talk to the22:17public if they were to talk to the press22:18they would be fired22:19so only limited few people in the22:22business have the option of talking to22:24the press once you’re in the world right22:28I mean your phones are ringing you know22:31from the moment I woke up in the morning22:32and I remembered you know a lot of these22:34guys I do quite well they try to wake me22:37up 6 o’clock oh I thought you were22:39asleep you know can you be up till 1122:41o’clock22:44you have to be wired you have to be22:47alert every second you have to be22:49engaged and and you have to be perfect22:52and you have to be right all the time22:54the software fails people lose millions22:57or billions can’t happen you can’t you23:00can’t be wrong you have to be perfect it23:01says it’s a lot of stress my wife was in23:07the business with me23:08we both would wake up in the morning and23:10describe similar nightmares phones were23:13ringing we couldn’t answer them and then23:15we sort of grew out of that and we both23:18realized that we didn’t know what day of23:21the week was that’s right boy there’s23:24always videos person departures Barclays23:27dangerously Pleasant read the planet23:30record is brought to you by the Deaf23:311.6% it wonder the up 1.2 percent23:35so is the CAC in Paris hey Joel boy23:43stirs23:50banking is completely lost touch with23:53its purpose its original purpose and is23:56now becoming dangerous23:57it used to be that when some of these23:59derivatives were first invented they24:01were to help your farmer for example24:03hedge the value of his crop so he was he24:06wasn’t speculating on the price of wheat24:08he was busy growing it now there are24:12more people trading these these24:14commodity derivatives and then are24:15actually involved in the production of24:17the commodity so which is completely24:20bizarre I know a lot and quite a lot of24:24people in this business who are feeling24:27a bit jaded now people are starting to24:31ask questions my nice friends I started24:35to ask questions about the role in24:36society you may be making lots of money24:38but are you is it something to tell your24:40grandchildren oh yeah I was a banker I24:42was there when I caused the the24:462008-2009 crisis etc what are they24:50actually doing with their lives or their24:52or just moving this money around this24:54isn’t necessary such a business to be24:56proud of I think that’s probably25:03planning 30 35 pounds responsibility is25:07just not a one-way street when it’s25:09successful you’re responsible well you25:10can’t be unresponsible when the same25:12same item is is a failure you have to25:15have some type of responsibility and I25:17could say I wasn’t but I was involved I25:21made a comfortable very comfortable25:23living and and I was proud of what I had25:28done I never I myself never saw this25:32kind of debacle25:38pretty big muscle to see a little Wilder25:43this is a you know they’re yellow on the25:46inside different color a chef and the25:50city loves this wild taste I only do it25:54for one chef because if I did too many25:56there wouldn’t be enough you know the25:59model is Hippocratic oath I will26:02remember that I didn’t make the world26:04and it doesn’t satisfy my equations26:06that’s obviously that’s it that’s about26:09having a a mature appreciation that26:13whatever you do that the models are26:15never going to be perfect26:16I will never sacrifice reality for26:18elegance without explaining why I have26:21done so so it’s again it’s a competition26:24between the real world and the elegant26:27world of mathematics and sometimes the26:28real world is just dirty26:31nor will I give the people who use my26:34model false comfort about its accuracy26:36instead I will make explicit its26:38assumptions and oversights quanta are26:41asked the following by some trader they26:43say well look you’ve just measured the26:45risk in this portfolio it’s too big okay26:48to quant back to the drawing board26:50I want you redoing numbers and come up26:52with a smaller risk it doesn’t mean26:55change the portfolio it means change the26:57maths to make it look less risky people27:00can use the models to hide risk though I27:06will use models boldly to estimate value27:08I will not be overly impressed by27:10mathematics people make finance too27:14mathematical so mathematical that many27:17people who have to implement the models27:19don’t understand what’s going on and27:21once you have too much mathematics it’s27:23difficult to see where the mistakes are27:25I understand that my work may have27:27enormous effects on society and the27:29economy many of them beyond my27:31comprehension so this is a serious27:34business it’s what it’s saying the27:37quantitative finance banking has become27:39so enormous it’s it’s outstripped all27:42other all other businesses and really it27:44should just be a service for these other27:46businesses rather than we are everybody27:49is now working to27:51she service the banks move is what it27:53feels like it’s it’s completely changed27:56the nature of the world always banking27:59again so there’s a nice little picture28:01of the book of me and Emanuel Derman28:06with our with our Karl Marx beards on28:08because obviously it’s it’s basically28:11that the inspiration was a kind of28:12communist manifesto you take the28:15combined the communist manifesto with28:17the Hippocratic oath and this is what28:19you’ve got when I first came to the28:21field I was sort of optimistic about28:23using quantitative methods on the28:24financial markets and I don’t think28:26they’re useless but them but I’m trying28:31to think how to say it I don’t think you28:32can use quantitative methods to explain28:34markets either people like borer28:37Einstein or Schrodinger or Fineman28:39discovered things that um that seem to28:42be God’s true for most you know even if28:44they’re they’re not 100 percent accurate28:45and I’m I don’t think that’s possible in28:48finance I sort of think it’s an illusion28:50it’s the world the financial world and28:53their world of people is changing the28:54whole time history doesn’t repeat itself28:57whereas in physics history repeats28:58itself all the time you can do the same29:00experiment over and over again so I29:02don’t know somewhere somewhere somewhere29:03after five or six years in the field I29:05began to realize that it wasn’t the same29:09thing as doing physics in physics if you29:11wake up in the morning and think of an29:13equation or think of some theory you29:16actually have a small hope in hell that29:18you might actually be right but in29:20finance if you write down some set of29:21assumptions and you look at yourself29:22honestly it may be useful but you know29:25it’s not going to be right in some29:27absolute sense29:30because you’re dealing with people and29:31and people don’t work that way29:43another weekend trying to remember all29:46the parts of the city I haven’t seen29:48since I started the course longing to29:51visit art galleries eat out every night29:53to live the day at the library seem to30:01have more hours than the normal 1230:06studying alone with other people doing30:08the same thing I feel like a monk in a30:11monastery it’s peaceful the library is30:14quite old sometimes we have to cover the30:17air-conditioner with old Soviet30:19mathematical journals from the 60s30:37once I dreamt of doing pure science30:40working on rocket ships working at a30:42small start-up company30:47there has to be a way to be creative as30:49a quant – like designing new financial30:51products and the math to price them30:59do you think it’s always possible for31:02people to express a worry they have31:05about the things they’re building or31:07writing it’s possible people may not31:09listen to them in the end most of these31:11people are employees people don’t always31:14listen to you but yeah it’s possible to31:16do it and I think people should do it31:17and I think people who use the model31:19should should understand that but I31:22don’t honestly believe that the models31:25are responsible for what happened in the31:28world I think what’s just one for what31:29happened in the world is that they’ve31:30been an increasing number of they’ve31:35been an increasing number of crises31:36since 1990 financial crises in the world31:38since 1994 and every time people are31:41used to people are used to constant31:44growth and acceleration and every time31:46it slowed down the government stepped in31:49and tried to stimulate it again by31:51lowering interest rates just like31:52they’re doing now and so you get these31:55sort of a rise and a collapse and then31:56people don’t like the collapse so they31:58lend money cheaply enforcer’ rise again32:00and each time the oscillations get32:02bigger and bigger and they doing exactly32:04the same I have no idea what’s the right32:06thing to do but they’re doing exactly32:07the same thing now which is trying to32:09stimulate the economy every time it32:11looks like it stops growing fast32:17it shocks me that as a person who runs32:20many businesses that we can talk about32:23an economy shrinking by 1% is also32:27growing by 1% is fantastic this32:31difference of 2% how can that difference32:34in 2% have such a big impact on the32:36world around us 1% plus or minus in my32:40businesses I won’t notice the economist32:42sir they think that they’re scientists32:45so they come up with these what they32:47call laws they’re not laws laws of32:51gravity that’s a law anything that Isaac32:54Newton comes up with it is a law but32:56when the Economist comes up it’s just a32:58framework an idea it may work it may not33:01sometimes it’s that’s not a law but they33:03think their laws and so they build up33:05this whole edifice of theory based upon33:09this very shaky foundations and they get33:11all sorts of nonsense coming out of it33:20let’s ease off33:25I think that the natural world is33:29something you learn to appreciate33:32through a struggle in the financial33:36world33:36you know money is a man-made phenomenon33:39right it’s like a game right where you33:41make the rules well money is a game that33:43people make the rules for but out there33:46the day-to-day activity is not about33:48making money the day-to-day activity33:50trying to grow an animal a healthy33:53animal or a group of healthy atoms33:55that’s a big difference34:04that is beautiful34:06believe it or not that is beautiful the34:08beautiful thing about this is it says34:09that in the risk-neutral34:11I’ve got to keep emphasizing this is the34:14risk-neutral version when mu equals R if34:18it was the real world if this was the34:20real version it would have some dim UD34:23T’s in it34:23now let’s do some manipulations now some34:25of these manipulations are34:26straightforward six over zet in which34:29case there are no Zed’s in there at all34:30if you say to me the d by d big t34:33version because we want them we are34:35trying to find the stochastic34:36differential equation not for log said34:39so you’re going to end up with new minus34:401/2 Sigma squared let me backtrack it a34:43wee bit here and we have a stochastic34:47differential equation for Z then we can34:51also write down stochastic differential34:52equation for F there was a very very34:57short period of time when conser in the35:00doghouse so to speak the people were35:01saying but all banking is changed35:03forever a Kwan serveth I’ve finished35:06there’ll be no more these credit35:08instruments and I said you know second35:10guys you really don’t know your history35:11you don’t know human nature this will35:14all blow over you know in a matter of35:16months because we’re back to the big35:17bonus is everything goes back to as it35:21was if people don’t complain now then it35:25serves them right when the next35:26financial crisis happens35:31twelve hours to go before the evening35:33classes start35:35I feel United with my classmates but the35:38enormous workload it’s actually the fees35:42that we’re trying to maximize right of35:44course we have to maximize returns we35:47have to do a good job in managing their35:49money otherwise where we’re going to do35:51pretty poorly at collecting those fees I35:54wanted to feel challenged again and35:56enrolled in a quant program35:58it cost me $60,000 tuition which means36:03more debt that I now have to take on the36:07incentive fee structure basically means36:10that maximizing the twr is like36:13maximizing fees think about that that’s36:16kind of tricky36:18this course is a year and a half36:20full-time one and a half years no salary36:24expenses living in downtown Manhattan36:26plus paying full-time tuition so no36:30alcohol for me not a drop at least till36:33the end of the first semester I can’t36:35afford to lose a day to a hangover36:37hardly any social life for the time36:39being36:43most of the other students are Asian or36:46East Europeans math is their first36:48language and our common language we36:51Americans are the minority maximizing36:55the number of times that we’re going to36:56penetrate the previous high-water mark36:59we’re actually maximizing incentive so37:02you can see that this this type of37:04optimization is very hedge fund like37:07does everybody get it so far37:12used to be the physicists were splitting37:14the atom whose splitting the atom these37:15days building bridges who is people37:18building bridges everybody wants to move37:19into this field scientific creativity is37:23becoming financial creativity which is37:25all of the bogus37:39Kwan’s are essential to modern banking37:41because so much of it is based upon new37:44techniques like the latest thing is the37:46algorithmic trading that high-frequency37:47trading for what you need math skills it37:52used to be you know historically you37:53just have like floor traders and brokers37:55you know screaming and shouting down on37:58the floor of exchanges and trading37:59stocks you know and the order came down38:01and they would run up and they sort of a38:03muscle there he added we’re a different38:05color jackets you know the classic38:06pictures we’ve we’ve all seen Matthew38:09Goldstein almost obscene list for PES38:12below Reuters do same from the ears to38:15the Kefauver format high-frequency38:16trading on cotton the reality is so much38:20of this doesn’t even take place there I38:22mean that’s becoming such a lesser part38:24of trading in what goes on it goes on in38:26the back rooms and it goes on in these38:27these modeling’s where these programs38:29are put together by computer geeks38:31basically so high-frequency trading is38:33just about taking all this data38:35analyzing very very rapidly and then38:37putting on trays that may last38:38milliseconds what worries me the most is38:42I was disturbed to hear that some firms38:45get faster access to the markets than38:50other people I forget what they call it38:52now but people get like a tenth of a38:55second advantage big firms which i think38:57is unfair hedge funds try and get the39:00black boxes as close to an exchange as39:02possible because it takes time for the39:06signal to get from the black box to the39:09exchange to buy or to sell now of course39:11that is dictated by the speed of39:13lightning39:14now we’re talking about trading at the39:16speed of light39:19the classic crash was the 87 the 19th of39:25October 1987 crash that happened within39:27a day all that the big move the 20% fall39:30and S&P 500 was within a day the next39:33crash could be within minutes so what is39:36the black box a black box is just39:39something that has it has inside some39:41kind of formula39:43maybe secret or maybe not that takes in39:45lots of data and the data might be stock39:50prices and might be other information39:51and it tells you what to trade what to39:54buy and sell and my favorite is is40:00Google search terms trading based on40:04what people are searching for it’s not a40:13black box in the sense that um you know40:16if you if you saw the algorithms you40:18could fit what you want you and me might40:20not be able to figure it out but but40:21wiser minds maybe could and computers40:23can certainly read it so it’s a black40:25box in a sense that it’s almost hard for40:26the human mind to get their arms or you40:29know wrap themselves around to really40:30understand what’s going on40:36and you know people have said for years40:38that Goldman itself is a black box we40:41don’t really know how it makes all this40:42money in the billions of dollars and you40:44know the big bonuses we hear about the40:46New York Stock Exchange building is big40:47facility out in New Jersey which is you40:49know right near in New York and and40:51basically it’s being built for40:52high-frequency traders so they can have40:53their equipment very close in a very can40:56you know tightly knit factory40:58essentially to do high-frequency trading41:00well who gets to have their server41:02where’s there going to be a lottery you41:04know you know does someone pay more to41:06get closer I mean it’s sort of a it’s41:08sort of absurd when you think about this41:10is what it’s come down to the41:12battleground is ultimately going to be41:14who has the most resources who can pay41:17the best salaries to hire the best41:19brains in reality we’re talking maybe41:21about a dozen or so really top players41:22you know and not everyone can be a41:24customer of goldman sachs not everyone41:26can be a customer of morgan stanley or41:28no berkeley also it does the the high41:32frequency trading means people more41:33concerned with the price of something41:36and not its value value means what it’s41:39really it’s really worth price is just41:43what people buy and sell for and if you41:45buy something now sell is second or two41:49later all you care about is the price41:51you sold it for is greater than the41:52price you bought it for it’s actual41:54value who cares it sort of flies in the41:57face of what we sort of think about what41:59what the what the markets are really42:01about the companies themselves almost42:03don’t matter what they do doesn’t matter42:05it’s just the fact which way their42:07stocks move is all that matters and42:10what’s sort of great thing about it that42:13I’ve I’ve seen from the standpoint is42:15the systemic risk that might be involved42:16it’s so much of this trading just takes42:19automatically and just takes place so42:21quickly that the the human element gets42:24more and more divorced from it I mean42:25the human beings are obviously42:26responsible for for writing the programs42:29but there’s no human being intercepting42:31between these trades and we saw this a42:33year ago with United Airlines there was42:35a false of bankruptcy rumor some wire42:37service inadvertently and transmitted an42:40old story about a UI42:41bankruptcy filing the problem is all42:45these news reading algorithms saw that42:47and immediately started sell sell sell42:49in a matter of minutes United Airlines42:51stock is cut in half that is clearly a42:53case where the computers have gone wild42:59banking is taking over the entire planet43:01and is having such a major impact on the43:05man in the street and it really should43:07not banking is supposed to be to take43:09money from people with too much to give43:12to people with too little who maybe want43:14to start a business if you’re a business43:16idea but that’s not what banking is43:18about anymore43:19banking is just about gambling on these43:20these numbers not realizing that behind43:24these numbers there are human beings43:26with jobs43:34there’s always been a joke about the New43:37York Stock Exchange becoming a museum at43:38some point and they’ll just have it for43:40like a show there and people running43:42around this is the way we used to trade43:43stocks you know isn’t it so quaint in43:45everything at the same time one can43:58argue though that if there’s this big44:01backlash in high-frequency trading44:02we may see revival to some form of human44:05element inside that people may say you44:07know as flawed as human beings are we44:10don’t want to give everything over to44:11the machines either44:15just walk past a crowded Wall Street44:18full of Chinese tourists asking me if44:20this was the actual stock exchange Wall44:25Street as a location is not any longer44:28what it was many banks moved their front44:31offices uptown and their back offices to44:34newer and cheaper spaces in New Jersey44:37now deutsche bank is the only major firm44:40left on Wall Street proper nearby is44:43Goldman Sachs44:45with no name on the door also about to44:48move there are almost no large firms44:51headquartered in the neighborhood that44:53was the cradle of American Finance only44:56the New York Stock Exchange remains its44:59facade one of the most iconic symbols of45:01global capitalism45:19I’m always trying to encourage young45:21people to do what I’m doing I mean it’s45:23a young person’s you know it’s pretty45:25some pretty physically intensive they45:33really haven’t grown that much I may not45:39make it to Christmas no I like a bigger45:44we sell a much we typically sell a much45:46bigger oyster right what do you find45:48more satisfying45:50well software is much more mental you45:53know the pleasure in the mental exertion45:56is pretty intense I get million lines of45:58software’s a lot – man you have it all45:59memorized right and there’s a pleasure46:01of like ask ruble Scrabble doing that46:04kind of word puzzle kind of thing uh46:07although it’s not that healthy you sit46:09in front of a machine you have the46:10terminal face effect you know it’s not46:13the same as this oh yeah this is pretty46:15uh not good I mean day like today pretty46:19idyllic right you’re just out in the46:20water a nice feeling bringing food and I46:25think we we still about 150,000 oysters46:29which is uh that’s $100,000 you know of46:35course I live off interest you know so I46:39don’t this is nice to have I make some46:42pocket money etc etc and the overhead46:45here is pretty small46:49you have to come to grips with nature46:51like I these these oysters should be46:53bigger every year the ones that I pick46:55in September and October are ready by46:58November why they aren’t I don’t know47:00and there’s nothing you can do about it47:01right we’re in software you can do47:03something about everything47:04you can modify you can get you can creat47:07make you know this virtual world you can47:09make what you want here you know you47:12have to live constrained by the real47:16world
Economist Michael Hudson explains how economics lead to Trump and the need for Revolution.
You can’t rule in favor of the Wall Street donor class and still have a recovery.
America’s plutocrats and their media allies are certain that US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is unelectable, or that, if somehow elected, he would bring about the collapse of the republic. This disdain is both telling and absurd.
NEW YORK – The narcissism and Panglossian cluelessness of the Wall Street elite is a marvel to behold. Sitting on their perches of power, and enjoying tax breaks, easy money, and soaring stock markets, they are certain that all is best in this best of all possible worlds. Critics must be fools or devils.
When I have mentioned my support for US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in their company, it has been to audible gasps, as if I had invoked Lucifer’s name. They are certain that Sanders is unelectable, or that, if somehow elected, he would bring about the collapse of the republic. To varying degrees, the same sentiments can be found even in “liberal” media outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post.
This disdain is both telling and absurd. In Europe, Sanders would be a mainstream social democrat. He wants to restore some basic decency to American life:
- universal publicly financed health care;
- above-poverty wages for full-time workers, along with
- basic benefits such as family leave for infants and paid leave for illness;
- college education that does not drive young adults into lifelong debt;
- elections that billionaires cannot buy; and
- public policy determined by public opinion, not corporate lobbying (which reached $3.47 billion in the United States in 2019).
The US public supports all these positions by large majorities. Americans want government to ensure health care for all. They want higher taxes on the rich. They want a transition to renewable energy. And they want limits on big money in politics. These are all core Sanders positions, and all are commonplace in Europe. Nonetheless, with each Sanders primary victory, the befuddled Wall Street elite and their favorite pundits puzzle over how an “extremist” like Sanders wins the vote.
An insight into Wall Street’s cluelessness is found in a recent Financial Times interview with Lloyd Blankfein, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs. Blankfein, a billionaire who earned tens of millions of dollars each year, argued that he’s merely “well-to-do,” not rich. More bizarrely, he meant it. You see, Blankfein is a low-single-digit billionaire in an era when more than 50 Americans have a net worth of $10 billion or more. How rich one feels depends on one’s peer group.
The result, however, is the elite’s (and the elite media’s) shocking disregard for the lives of most Americans. They either don’t know or don’t care that tens of millions of Americans lack basic health-care coverage and that medical expenses bankrupt around 500,000 each year, or that one in five US households has zero or negative net worth and that nearly 40% struggle to meet basic needs.
And the elite hardly take notice of the 44 million Americans burdened by student debt totaling $1.6 trillion, a phenomenon essentially unknown in other developed countries. And while stock markets have soared, enriching the elites, suicide rates and other “deaths of despair” (such as opioid overdoses) have also soared, as the working class has fallen further into financial and psychological insecurity.
One reason the elites don’t notice these basic facts is that they haven’t been held to account for a long time. US politicians of both parties have been doing their bidding at least since President Ronald Reagan took office in 1981 and ushered in four decades of tax cuts, union busting, and other perks for the super-rich. The coziness of Wall Street and Washington is well captured in a 2008 photo making the rounds again: Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, and Bill Clinton are golfing together. It’s one big happy family.
Clinton’s chumminess with Wall Street billionaires is telling. This was the norm for Republicans going back to the start of the twentieth century, but Wall Street’s close links with the Democrats are more recent. As a presidential candidate in 1992, Clinton maneuvered to link the Democratic Party to Goldman Sachs through its then-Co-Chair, Robert Rubin, who later became Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury.
With Wall Street backing, Clinton won the presidency. From then on, both parties have been beholden to Wall Street for campaign financing. Barack Obama followed the Clinton playbook in the 2008 election. Once in office, Obama hired Rubin’s acolytes to staff his economic team.
Wall Street has certainly gotten its money’s worth for its campaign outlays. Clinton deregulated financial markets, enabling the rise of behemoths like Citigroup (where Rubin became a director after leaving the White House). Clinton also ended welfare payments for poor single mothers, with damaging effects on young children, and stepped up mass incarceration of young African-American men. Obama, for his part, largely gave a free pass to the bankers who caused the 2008 crash. They received bailout money and invitations to White House dinners, rather than the jail time that many deserved.
With the mega-hubris of a mega-billionaire, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks he can buy the Democratic nomination by spending $1 billion of his $62 billion fortune on campaign ads, and then defeat fellow billionaire Donald Trump in November. This, too, is most likely a case of cluelessness. Bloomberg’s prospects deflated as soon as he appeared on the debate stage with Sanders and the other Democratic candidates, who reminded viewers of Bloomberg’s Republican past, allegations of a hostile work environment for women in Bloomberg’s business, and of his support for harsh police tactics against young African-American and Latino men.
No one should underestimate the deluge of hysteria that Trump and Wall Street will try to whip up against Sanders. Trump accuses Sanders of trying to turn the US into Venezuela, when Canada or Denmark are the obvious comparisons. In the Nevada debate, Bloomberg ludicrously called Sanders’s support for worker representation on corporate boards, as in Germany’s co-determination policy, “communist.”
But American voters are hearing something different: health care, education, decent wages, paid sick leave, renewable energy, and an end to tax breaks and impunity for the super-rich. It all sounds eminently sensible, indeed mainstream, when one cuts through the rhetoric of Wall Street, which is why Sanders has been winning – and can win again in November.
Donald Trump campaigned against Wall Street on behalf of the working class, yet it was empty rhetoric.
Stephen K. Bannon has always been more comfortable when he was trying to tear down institutions — not work inside them.
With his return to Breitbart News, Mr. Bannon will be free to lead the kind of ferocious assault on the political establishment that he relishes, even if sometimes that means turning his wrath on the White House itself.
.. “In many ways, I think I can be more effective fighting from the outside for the agenda President Trump ran on,” he said Friday. “And anyone who stands in our way, we will go to war with.”
Among those already in Mr. Bannon’s sights:
- Speaker Paul D. Ryan;
- Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader;
- the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and
- son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and
- Gary D. Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs who now directs the White House’s National Economic Council.
“The president was buoyed to election by capturing the hearts and minds of a populist, nationalist movement,” Alex Marlow, Breitbart’s editor in chief, said Friday evening. “A lot of it was anti-Wall Street, anti-corporatist, anti-establishment. And now we’re seeing that a lot of these guys remaining inside the White House are exactly the opposite of what we told you you were going to get.”
.. Most immediately, he has told associates that he wants to ensure that any spending resolution approved next month by Congress includes money to begin construction on the wall that Mr. Trump has promised to build on the southern border.
If Congress balks, Mr. Bannon has advised the president to issue a veto, which would trigger a government shutdown.
.. “You can’t play by the Marquess Queensberry’s rules,” he often tells colleagues, using a characteristically colorful historical analogy, in this case to the 19th-century code of conduct for boxing.
.. Mr. Kushner; Ms. Trump; Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser; and Mr. Cohn have all been the target of unrelenting attacks by Breitbart and others on the right for their efforts to draw Mr. Trump to the political center. The site has routinely dismissed Mr. Cohn as a “globalist” and a “swamp creature”; in headlines, his name would sometimes appear bracketed by globe emojis, to underscore the point — also an allusion to the triple parentheses that anti-Semites on social media use to denote Jewish names.
.. “He will use Breitbart as a battering ram,” said Ben Shapiro
.. Unable to talk face-to-face with the president and sensing that his days were numbered, Mr. Bannon began to speak more openly with associates about how effective he could be if he returned to Breitbart