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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

 
There's No Crying In Galt's Gulch

by digby


I don't know if these people are emotionally stunted adolescents or if they are crudely playing the refs, but this is just pathetic:

On the mental list of slights and outrages that just about every major figure on Wall Street is believed to keep on President Barack Obama, add this one: When he met recently with a group of CEOs at Blair House, there was no representative from any of the six biggest banks in America.

Not one!

"If they don't hate us anymore, why weren't any of us there?" a senior executive at one of the Big Six banks said recently in trying to explain his hostility toward the president.

"It's not so much just this one thing,” he said. “Who cares about one event? It's just the pattern where they tell you things are going to change, that they appreciate what we do, that capital markets are important, but then the actions are different and they continue to want to score political points on us."

Still, the executive understands that it makes political sense for the White House to stiff-arm Wall Street, if not bash it with a massive sledge hammer.

After all, polls suggest most Americans believe Obama has handled the titans of Wall Street with an exceedingly light touch. He supported the deeply unpopular $700-billion bank bailout, pushed a financial reform package that stopped short of breaking up the biggest behemoths and, just this month, signed off on tax cuts for the wealthiest and continued low rates on capital gains and dividends.

And, of course, big-time bonuses at bailed-out banks are back, even as average Americans continue to get tossed out of their homes, corporate America has turned in its most profitable quarter in history and the stock market is at a two-year high.

Yet the executive dislikes Obama with, what seems like, an almost irrational passion. And he is not alone.

Along the gilded corridors of Manhattan's largest banks, hedge funds and private equity firms and inside Washington's financial lobby shops, Obama and the rest of his administration are regarded with a disdain so thick it often blurs to naked loathing, a fact that has significant implications for the president's reelection campaign and his ability to operate over the next two years.

In an effort to understand such animus POLITICO interviewed a dozen senior Wall Street denizens, including C-suite executives, investment bankers, traders and financial lobbyists, who were promised anonymity in return.

Their complaints fell along similar lines: Obama and the White House don't understand how capital markets work, don't like people who make a lot of money and relish using Wall Street as a whipping boy to score points with the left.

"He whipped everyone into a frenzy against us," said one banker.

"It's a bunch of academic lefties down there," said another.

"You say something to them and it just goes into a black hole," said a lobbyist.


I think this tells you more about what's wrong with our economy than any number of graphs and papers. The Master of the Universe are a big bunch of blubbering babies. I honestly couldn't respect them less at this point.

The article must be read in its entirely to get the full picture of the simpering, pouting millionaires and billionaires hysterically lamenting about how mean the big bad pwesident is to them, even as they admit that their big bonuses are back, they got their obscenely low tax rates extended and the markets are roaring. Nobody liiiikes them and they just won't have it!

But here's the sad part:

There’s a precedent for this kind of antagonism – former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"You would really have to go back to 1934 to find a time when Wall Street was this angry at an administration following a crisis that was largely of Wall Street's own making," said Charles Geisst, a financial historian and professor at Manhattan College. "Back then, Wall Street basically went on strike and would not issue bonds for corporations. They stomped their feet like little kids. The same thing is happening now."

But, as Geisst noted, this is not 1934. Not even close. Big banks are not getting broken up. Nothing Obama has done equates to having created the Securities and Exchange Commission.


You know the old saying "if you're going to blamed for it anyway ...."

There are many pathetic sniffles and plaintive wails in this story, but this has to be the most pathetic of all:


But despite recent White House efforts to reach out to Wall Street, bankers believe Obama is much more worried about perceptions on the left.

As evidence, bankers point to recent White House meetings with labor leaders, Geithner's dinner with the heads of progressive groups and Vice President Joe Biden's recent pledge to fight the top-rate tax cuts again in two years.

And it is this, as much as anything, that gets under Wall Street's collective skin.

"All that people in this White House seem to worry about is what The Huffington Post is going to say if they do something, anything, remotely probusiness," one financial executive said. "They really don't care what we think at all."


Imagine that! A politician being more concerned about silly old voters than the few hundred sensitive millionaires whose vast sums of money can't buy them love. Oh the humanity.

I've been writing about this sickening spectacle of Wall Street millionaires and their serious emotional and psychological problems since the beginning of the meltdown. It's one of the most interesting sociological stories of this era and it reveals that far from being the macho, swashbuckling Galtian heroes of Wall Street myth, these Masters of the Universe and nothing more than spoiled little rich boys who throw tantrums when they aren't treated like pampered little princes.

And it finally explains one of the most puzzling aspects of the meltdown: why were the petulant little miscreants so blind that they would kill their golden goose for short term gain? It turns out that it's because they knew that mummy and daddy would buy them another one. But they also think that mummy and daddy should kiss them on the forehead and tell them that they are good little boys and that they can do no wrong. Even the slightest hint that they may not have behaved perfectly is met with spittling rage.

The servants, however, see that Little Lords Goldman and Chase are sociopaths whose killing of the golden goose may be a very disturbing precursor to something much, much worse. But who listens to the help?


Update: And then there's Paul Ryan


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