Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Wall Street money

Unlike many Americans, Wall Street always votes its self-interest -- and donates to it as well. In 2008, when the Republicans were dead in the water because of George Bush's policies, the financial interests backed Obama and the Democrats. The Dems can't be bought quite as easily as the PTR but they were the only game in town at that point. Wall Street did get several of its own into important positions of power: Larry Summers and Tim Geitner come to mind. They also got continuation of Bush's bailout under the cover of a Democratic administration. And, what they didn't get, which made them warm and fuzzy, was not a single prosecution for financial malfeasance.

But that was then, this is now. By approximately an 8-to-1 margin individuals in the financial community favored Republican PACs or the Romney campaign over Democratic PACs and the Obama campaign. One doesn't know for sure how corporations contributed since PACs don't have to report that, but I think it is safe to say that their proportions would be, if anything, even more tilted toward the PTR. No surprise here since the financial industry is very anxious to suppress Dodd-Frank which, though relatively week, is a major deterrent to its quest to return to pre-Great-Recession days of totally inadequate oversight.

Wall Street is also in love with its captive party, the TeaScreamers. While many people, including the TeaScreamers themselves, believe that the Tea Party is fighting the elite and the wealthy and their bailed out banks, the Wall Street money knows better. Here is some documentation of the many contributions they have made to the Screamers; in particular, the reactionary Koch brothers are big supporters.

Here in Massachusetts, Republican Senator Scott Brown is in a close re-election campaign with Elizabeth Warren. Brown is a canny politician who anticipated Warren's challenge by actually voting for Dodd-Frank after working very hard to water it down as much as possible -- for example, by removing a big chunk of the so-called "Volcker Rule" that would have limited big banks' ability to invest government-backed funds in speculative ventures (e.g. hedge funds): a sort of weakened Glass-Steagull Act. Wall Street understands this, and is supporting Brown in a lop-sided way over Warren.

BTW: This is another example of why one shouldn't vote for Republicans, even "moderate" ones. While Brown voted for (a weakened) Dodd-Frank, he is part of the Republican caucus which threatens nearly everything they don't propose with a fillibuster. This threat is the reason why Warren could not chair the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, authorized by Dodd-Frank and essentially created by her. Brown is an on-again-off-again  advocate of the middle-class, who knows the reality of Massachusetts politics; Warren is the real thing.,


  1. I wouldn't consider Summers and Geithner to be ones of "Wall Street". Neither ever "worked on Wall Street". If you're looking for Wall Street types who've gone to Washington try Steve Rattner, Hank Paulson, Rahm Emmanuel, Jack Lew and John Corzine, to name a few.

    And I wouldn't worry too much about the "individuals in the financial community" (what's your source?) since Obama is hauling in tons more overall money than Romney.

  2. You don't have to have "worked" on Wall Street to be a strong sympathizer. Also, hauling in "tons more overall" is rather vague. I was writing specifically about Wall Street's view of the race, as exhibited by its contributions. Also, PAC and SuperPAC contributions are not lopsided in Obama's favor.

    Otherwise I agree with your comment.

    1. As someone who works on Wall Street it's pretty obvious that there's a lot of money that goes to both parties. Lots of big time Democrat supporters who are at the top of investment banks, hedge funds, etc.