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JOEL KOTKIN: Is This The End For The Neoliberal World Order?

Whatever his grievous shortcomings, President Trump has succeeded in one thing: smashing the once imposing edifice of neoliberalism. His presidency rejects the neoliberal globalist perspective on trade, immigration and foreign relations, including a penchant for military intervention, that has dominated both parties’ political establishments for well over two decades.

Some of Trump’s actions, notably the proposed tariffs, may be crude and even wrong-headed but other moves, notably focus on China’s buying of American technology assets, expose the fundamental weakness of the neoliberal trade regime. Trump’s policy agenda would never have risen if neoliberalism was able to improve the lives of the vast majority of citizens rather than promote stagnation and downward mobility for a large portion of the population.

Yes, that’s the problem. Plus:

Neoliberal policies have worked well for those in the upper economic, academic, bureaucratic classes and the cosmopolitan places where they predominate. But what works for Manhattan or Palo Alto, as well as Goldman Sachs or Apple, does not help so much residents of declining industrial cities, small towns and villages which suffered millions of lost jobs due to China or NAFTA.

Trump’s support in these locations reflects a broader global phenomenon. Like the Midwestern and southern towns recently denounced by Hillary Clinton as looking “backward,” neoliberal policies have been rejected by similar geographies in the United Kingdom, as seen in the Brexit vote, and powered nationalist parties in such varied places as Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Sweden, Poland and the Netherlands. Most recently Italians, including in the impoverished south, voted largely for anti-immigrant, nationalist and populist parties.

Neoliberal embrace of draconian climate change policies represent one irritant. These tend to hurt natural resource and industrial pursuits that power many smaller city economies. Establishmentarian intellectuals tend to have little regard for the prospects of such places and those who remain in them. Neoliberalism is also associated with uncontrolled mass immigration, which threatens both more conservative cultural norms and the economic prospects of those outside what urbanist Saskia Sassen calls the urban “glamour zone.”

Hence also the move toward splitting up some U.S. states. More on that here.

IT’S THE SPENDING, STUPID: Here Is Goldman’s Chart Showing Why The US Is Headed For “Banana Republic” Status.

Earlier today we discussed a report by Goldman Sachs which, when summarized, suggested that unless something significant changes in the coming years, the current US fiscal policy will lead to a debt catastrophe. In an unprecedented warning, the bank which spawned Trump’s chief economic advisor Gary Cohn, ironically the architect behind Trump’s fiscal strategy, warned that “the continued growth of public debt raises eventual sustainability questions if left unchecked.”

It is worth highlighting that for Goldman to warn that the US fiscal and debt trajectory is unsustainable is quite unprecedented, especially since it is the bank’s former President and COO who has put the US on that path.

And while we urge readers to get acquainted with Goldman’s list of concerns, all of which are very troubling, there is one specific chart which lays out clearly why the US is now headed for “banana republic” status amid developed economies when it comes to US debt sustainability, or in this case lack thereof.

That chart is below, and it shows total projected US Federal Debt on one axis, and US interest expense as a % of GDP on the other. The result is the red dot in the top right.

This year, doing nothing more than paying the interest on the already-accumulated debt will consume nearly every dollar of revenue generated by corporate taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. And we’re not many years away from the vig growing larger than the defense budget.

And this spending spree is absent an economic downturn or a shooting war with a near-peer adversary.

IN NATIONAL REVIEW, OF ALL PLACES: This Thanksgiving, Thank Donald Trump:

This Thanksgiving, Americans in general — and free-market conservatives in particular — have plenty for which to be grateful. And much of it would be absent had the White House’s current occupant not become president on November 8, 2016. The day after Donald J. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, Princeton University economist Paul Krugman called Trump’s victory “the mother of all adverse effects.” He predicted “very probably . . . a global recession, with no end in sight.” • The Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all hit record highs on Tuesday. The Wilshire 5000 Index calculates that some $3.4 trillion in new wealth has been created since President Trump’s inauguration and $5.4 trillion since his election. Fueled by the reality of deregulation, expectations of lower taxes, and a new tone in Washington that applauds free enterprise rather than excoriate it, the economy is on fire. • Atop the second quarter’s 3.1 percent increase in real GDP, and 3.0 in 3Q, the New York Federal Reserve Bank predicts that 4Q output will expand by 3.8 percent. This far outpaces the feeble average-annual GDP growth rate of 1.5 percent on President Obama’s watch. Meanwhile, the IMF expects global GDP to rise by 3.5 percent this year. So much for a Trump-inspired “global recession.”

Unemployment is at 4.1 percent, a 17-year low. New unemployment claims in September were at their most modest since 1974. Goldman Sachs on November 20 “lowered our unemployment rate forecast to 3.7 percent by end-2018 and 3.5 percent by end-2019.” According to the Wall Street powerhouse’s chief economist Jan Hatzius, “Such a scenario would take the U.S. labor market into territory almost never seen outside of a major wartime mobilization.” . . .

• For every new regulation that Trump has imposed, 16 have been erased.

• The FCC has begun to dismantle Obama’s “Net Neutrality” takeover of the Internet, which functioned marvelously, thank you, before his needless e-power-grab.

• Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is on the bench, along with 13 constitutionalist lower-court judges. At this stage in Obama’s presidency, the Senate had confirmed just seven of his district- and circuit-court nominees.

Much more at the link, concluding with this: “The Never Trump faction still claims that the president of the United States ‘is no conservative.’ And yet, with rare deviations (such as free trade), he spends nearly every day implementing the conservative agenda. Ideas that center-Right activists have demanded for decades are becoming public policy, one after another — to the pleasant surprise of even some of Donald J. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters.”

Did I mention this was in National Review, of all places?

MEGAN MCARDLE: Debt Alone Won’t Crush Puerto Rico. Depopulation Is the Curse.

“They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street,” Donald Trump told Geraldo Rivera. “We’re going to have to wipe that out. That’s going to have to be — you know, you can say goodbye to that. I don’t know if it’s Goldman Sachs but whoever it is, you can wave goodbye to that.”

Bond markets didn’t appreciate the verbal wave. The territory’s bonds, already weak from the pounding of Hurricane Maria, fell another 31 percent. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney hastened to say the president didn’t mean what he said. “I wouldn’t take it word for word with that,” he said demurely. Nor should you; as debt expert Cate Long told CNN Money, “Trump does not have the ability to wave a magic wand and wipe out the debt.”

Yet the fact remains that Puerto Rico is not going to be able to pay all of its debts. Prior to the hurricane, the territory had $73 billion in outstanding debt, and a population of 3.4 million people. That’s approximately $21,500 for every man, woman and child on the island – just about enough to buy each of them a brand new Mini Cooper, provided that they don’t insist on the sport package or the heated seats. . . .

And why was the government borrowing so much? For one thing, because the government doesn’t work very well. The operations of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, for example, defy belief: It essentially gave unlimited free power to municipalities and government-owned entities, which used it to do things like operate skating rinks in the tropics. Everywhere you look, you see signs of a government struggling to perform basic tasks: collect taxes, maintain the infrastructure, improve the health system. In the jargon of development economists, the island lacks “state capacity”: It is simply unable to exert the amount of power over its operations that we on the mainland mostly take for granted.

But you can’t entirely blame the Puerto Rican government for the state of the underlying economy, which is what had plunged the island into a bankruptcy crisis even before the hurricane. For that you have to look to the federal government, which eliminated a tax break that had given companies incentives to locate in Puerto Rico, and then oversaw a financial crisis that sent them into an even deeper spiral. We also made sure that a relatively poor island was forced to adopt the federal minimum wage, which was too high for the local labor market. That has contributed to the 11.5 percent unemployment rate. And Puerto Rico uses the U.S. dollar, leaving it unable to adjust monetary policy to overcome economic stagnation.

None of those things will change just because we wipe out the bondholders. And the bondholders are not Puerto Rico’s only creditors; it has an unfunded pension liability of roughly $50 billion. Covering the current liability will consume more 20 percent of the budget.

That figure will only grow, because the biggest problem of all is Puerto Rico’s rapid demographic decline. There has long been a steady migration from Puerto Rico to the mainland. By 2008, there were more Puerto Ricans in the rest of the U.S. than there were in Puerto Rico. But the economic crisis has accelerated that flow to staggering levels.

So I’m guessing that if Steve Bannon were still around, he’d be encouraging Trump to do things that would make Puerto Rico so attractive that not only would people want to stay there, but expat Puerto Ricans would want to return, since most of them vote Democrat, and Puerto Rico doesn’t have any electoral votes. Which would be good for Puerto Rico, and also for Trump. In Bannon’s absence, I’m not sure there’s anyone in the White House who thinks that way.

BLOOMBERG: Obama Goes From White House to Wall Street in Less Than One Year. “Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton.”

Hey, they didn’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

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But it’s yet another argument for my Revolving-Door Surtax.

Flashback: Joe Biden to Goldman Sachs execs: “I’m doing a job interview with you.”

THAT’S WHAT THEY ALWAYS SAY WHEN IT’S HELD BY REPUBLICANS: Labor Leader Sees A White House Of ‘Racists’ and ‘Wall Streeters.’

How is President Goldman-Sachs doing these days, anyway?

CIVIL TRADE WAR? A trade war is brewing inside the White House between rival camps.

Soon after President Trump took office, an executive order was quietly drafted to suspend talks with China on an obscure but potentially far-reaching treaty about bilateral investment.

After eight years and two dozen rounds of negotiations, the treaty terms were almost in final form. Pulling out after so much time and effort would send a clear message that the Trump administration meant to take a new and tougher approach to China.

But the executive order never even got to the president’s desk. It was quietly shelved, according to sources inside and outside the White House, at the behest of former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, now Trump’s top economic advisor.

Killing the order was a small victory for a White House faction that supports free trade and the global economy. But it was only an opening skirmish in what promises to be a long and bitter struggle over trade policy that so far is being waged behind the scenes in the Trump administration.

“Personnel is policy,” but like in any Administration, not all of Trump’s personnel support the same policy.

HAVE YOU HUGGED A FRACKER TODAY? Oil touches three-month lows, as U.S. supply swells.

The price has fallen by more than 8 percent since last Monday, its biggest week-on-week drop in four months, and analysts said the slide may not have much further to run.

“The market is bearish because sentiment has turned. The risk is still towards the downside, but we are nowhere near the precipice,” PVM Oil Associates Tamas Varga said.

Goldman Sachs said in a note it remained “very confident” about commodity prices and maintained its price forecast of $57.50 a barrel for WTI in the second quarter.

U.S. drillers added oil rigs for an eighth consecutive week, Baker Hughes said on Friday, lifting spending to benefit from an earlier recovery in crude prices since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to cut output. [RIG/U]

OPEC and other major oil producers including Russia reached an agreement late last year to rein in production by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

Although OPEC states have been complying with supply curbs, led by Saudi Arabia, it has not been enough to overshadow a rise in U.S. inventories to a new high.

I had been assured by no less than the (former) President of the United States that we “can’t just drill our way out to lower gas prices.”

What a noob.

But if we really want lower gas prices, let’s open another oil refinery or two and do something about the country’s crazy patchwork quilt of gasoline blends.

THOMAS FRANK: The intolerance of the left: Trump’s win as seen from Walt Disney’s hometown; Ivy League graduates micromanaging the country – that’s how some in Marceline, Missouri, saw the status quo.

By and large, these were men who had voted for Trump, but few of them seemed to really support him in the full sense of the word. They were apprehensive about his presidency, they didn’t know what to expect from it, but many of them had made the choice anyway.

Why? One of the men present told me you could summarize it with a single word: “Hillary!” Another described it with a variant on Trump’s famous proposition to black voters, which these white people clearly felt applied to them, too: “Whaddaya got to lose by making a change?”

Certain predictable conservative issues came up: meddlesome government, for example. Farmers these men knew of complained bitterly about the Environmental Protection Agency. Small bankers, too, were said to feel micromanaged. “We don’t like to be told what to do, how to do it,” someone said.

But it was not all standard-issue Republican talking points. These men groused about how big banks avoided being taken over by the FDIC, they used “Goldman Sachs” as verbal shorthand for wealth and influence, and I even heard complaints about billionaires controlling the state’s political process.

What did crop up persistently when I talked to this group was a disgust with the perceived moral haughtiness of liberals. More than one member of the club referred to himself as one of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”, for example. There was resentment of “Ivy League graduates” who felt entitled to “micromanage the rest of the country”. The man who told me that – a fellow wearing a US Army Retired cap – also told me that “if you want to be an obnoxious slob, you have a right to be one”.

This right-to-obnoxiousness raises a fascinating point: these men saw liberals as loudmouthed Pharisees, intolerant moralists who demanded that the rest of the nation snap into line – an exact reverse of the John Ashcroft stereotype liberals used to hold of conservatives.

Well, the shoe fits.

UPDATE: Brendan O’Neill on Facebook: “I wonder if those arguing that America has gone fascist and Islamophobia is rampant and Trump is an illegitimate president who should not be indulged by other world leaders realise how much they are confirming Trump voters’ view that a morally haughty liberal elite has replaced politics with hissy fits and has become so arrogant it thinks everything that doesn’t conform to its worldview is Nazism? I’m against Trump’s executive order, but this reaction… it is an own goal of epic proportions.”

HMM:

HMM: Trump considering Goldman Sachs president for top post.

President-elect Donald Trump is considering Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn for a senior administration job, possibly as director of the Office of Management and Budget, several sources close to the situation said on Wednesday.

People familiar with the matter say Cohn’s meeting with Trump on Tuesday included talks about a potential job in the new administration, possibly to run OMB, a sprawling office that will handle much of Trump’s budget policy after he takes office in January.

Cohn, who is friendly with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington, is a longtime commodities trader who became Goldman’s president and co-chief operating officer in 2006. He has long been the heir apparent to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

EXCUSES: Obama goes ‘Full Bernie’: Goldman-Sachs speeches killed millionaire Hillary’s campaign. “Here we see the beleaguered president, watching his legacy fade into the sunset, settling into his natural habitat.”

SUN TZU SAYS: The best strategy is to attack your enemy’s strategy. The Dems’ strategy is to divide us into ethnic (read: racist) and special interest (read: Goldman Sachs) camps. Instead, Donald Trump calls for a “new deal” for black Americans.

“My deal is grounded in three promises: safe communities, great education, and high-paying jobs,” Trump said, speaking off what appeared to be scripted remarks. “Whether you vote for me or not, I will be your greatest champion. We live in a very divided country and I will be your greatest champion…African-American citizens have sacrificed so much for our nation. They fought and died in every war since the Revolution and from the pews and the picket lines, they’ve lifted up the conscience of our country in the long march for civil rights. Yet too many African-Americans have been left behind.”

OK. “Scripted remarks” is a giveaway we’re dealing with a bigoted reporter. Who’s more scripted than Hillary? But dig the Sun Tzu: Trump’s New Deal is a direct challenge to the crooked Democrats’ evil (hey, it is evil) and racist strategy of division and ritual hate. (Institutionalized hatred is evil — and that’s part of their game.) Challenging this scheme of hate and division is long over due. The Democrats’ strategy has damaged American politics.

SHOCK: KAEPERNICK ENDORSES TRUMP, DEMANDS REPUBLICAN MAYOR IN SAN FRANCISCO.

At least, that’s how I’m reading this AP headline: “Kaepernick Will Sit Through Anthem Until There’s Change,” given that Hillary is running as Obama’s third term, and San Francisco, which has recently been struck with allegations of racism in its police department, hasn’t had a Republican mayor since about the time the Beatles arrived in America. Otherwise he’s just engaging in kabuki, a sort of one-man version of Occupy Wall Street, which never raised much of a ruckus over President Goldman Sachs during their protests.

So, just how much change would you like, Mr. Kaepernick?

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SALON: Americans deserve more than an apology for the foreclosure fraud epidemic.

“I lost my home of 30 years to fraudclosure.”

“I have been fighting this bank for over five years now. I am finally losing everything to their fraud.”

“We feel captive in our own home.”

This is a sampling of what I have awakened to practically every day for the past few months, since my book “Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street’s Great Foreclosure Fraud” came out. Hundreds of people have emailed me, sent me letters, attended my public events, to relate their personal horror stories of foreclosure and dispossession. They come from across America, from different social and economic backgrounds. Some lost everything, and some haven’t given up.

Hey, they don’t call Barack Obama “President Goldman Sachs” for nothing — but is America (including Salon writers) ready for Madam President Goldman Sachs?

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CNBC: Wall Street is giving up on Donald Trump.

But Wall Street gave up on Republicans in 2008. They’d rather have President Goldman Sachs and his handpicked successor.

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(Via Newsalert.)

JUST CALL HIM VICE-PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: Tim Kaine, Clinton’s VP pick, is a Democrat Wall Street can like.

TRUMP TWEETS, “Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.”

But isn’t that exactly who Occupy endorsed? At no point in 2012 did the leftwing movement call for the ouster of President Goldman Sachs while protesting and pooping on police cars.

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HEY, THEY DON’T CALL HIM PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS FOR NOTHING: Income for top 1% in America rose twice as fast in 2015 as it did for the remaining 99%.

FRASER NELSON: A Very British Revolution.

The world is looking at Britain and asking: What on Earth just happened? Those who run Britain are asking the same question.

Never has there been a greater coalition of the establishment than that assembled by Prime Minister David Cameron for his referendum campaign to keep the U.K. in the European Union. There was almost every Westminster party leader, most of their troops and almost every trade union and employers’ federation. There were retired spy chiefs, historians, football clubs, national treasures like Stephen Hawking and divinities like Keira Knightley. And some global glamour too: President Barack Obama flew to London to do his bit, and Goldman Sachs opened its checkbook.

And none of it worked. The opinion polls barely moved over the course of the campaign, and 52% of Britons voted to leave the EU. That slender majority was probably the biggest slap in the face ever delivered to the British establishment in the history of universal suffrage. . . .

The Brexit campaign started as a cry for liberty, perhaps articulated most clearly by Michael Gove, the British justice secretary (and, on this issue, the most prominent dissenter in Mr. Cameron’s cabinet). Mr. Gove offered practical examples of the problems of EU membership. As a minister, he said, he deals constantly with edicts and regulations framed at the European level—rules that he doesn’t want and can’t change. These were rules that no one in Britain asked for, rules promulgated by officials whose names Brits don’t know, people whom they never elected and cannot remove from office. Yet they become the law of the land. Much of what we think of as British democracy, Mr. Gove argued, is now no such thing.

Instead of grumbling about the things we can’t change, Mr. Gove said, it was time to follow “the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back” and “become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.” Many of the Brexiteers think that Britain voted this week to follow a template set in 1776 on the other side of the Atlantic.

We need more of this spirit, on both sides of the Atlantic.

WHY ARE DEMOCRAT-RUN INDUSTRIES SUCH CESSPITS OF SEXUAL PREDATION? Goldman Sachs hired prostitutes to win Libyan business, court told.

Will any journalists ask President Goldman Sachs or his designated successor about this story? (A rhetorical question, I know, I know.)

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ANALYSIS: TRUE, DEPENDING ON WHAT THE MEANING OF ‘IS’ IS. Why Both Clintons Are Such Unapologetic Liars.

Related: Hillary Clinton: I Am Goldman Sachs’ ‘Partner in Government.’

No doubt, the investment firm is hoping for a smooth transition of power, from one President Goldman Sachs to another.

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TRANSPARENCY IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Clinton doubling down on transcripts.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is doubling down on a strategy of not releasing transcripts of speeches she gave to Goldman Sachs and other investment banks.

Clinton has refused to release any of the transcripts in the face of a pressure campaign from rival candidate Bernie Sanders, who has relentlessly attacked the Democratic front-runner as being too closely tied to Wall Street.

“She’s not going to basically create a standard that isn’t applied to anyone else in this race,” said one longtime Clinton ally and confidante of her position on releasing the transcripts.

The issue has been an effective line of attack from Sanders, who has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls.

It also appears to have hurt Clinton, who has seen her favorability rating in polls drop below 50 percent. Just as bad, Clinton has seen her marks fall with Americans when they are asked whether they trust her or see her as honest.

If she were a Republican, they would have mysteriously “leaked” by now.

HILLARY GOLDMAN-SACHS CLINTON: Clinton faces tough questions on Wall Street speeches.

Hillary Clinton deflected a call from a Nevada voter to release transcripts of her speeches to Wall Street groups and pushed back at accusations that her reluctance to make those documents public was just “political rhetoric.”

“I am happy to release anything I have when everyone else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including Sen. Sanders,” she said during Thursday’s MSNBC Democratic presidential town hall, referring to rival candidate Bernie Sanders.

“I was the candidate who went to Wall Street before the crash. I was the candidate who said to them, ‘You are wrecking our economy.’ ”

Clinton opponents have coalesced around a call for her to release transcripts from paid speeches she gave to major Wall Street firms. They say it will shed light on how tough she would be with the banking sector as president.

But the audience member, an avowed Sanders supporter, questioned her trustworthiness on the issue by referencing her shift on gay marriage.

“I do respect you very much,” the voter said. “In fact, only a decade ago, I was a very big supporter of yourself and your husband.

“It actually broke my heart when you said marriage was between a man and a woman. How can we trust that this isn’t just more political rhetoric? Please just release those transcripts so we know exactly where you stand.”

Clinton pushed back against the characterization and defended of her change of heart on gay marriage by noting endorsements from pro-LGBT groups.

Those are her principles, and if you don’t like them, she has others.

THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES OUT, EVENTUALLY: For habitual liars–like the Clintons– this is a very scary prospect. Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller opines, “This Might be Why Hillary Won’t Release Her Goldman Sachs Speech Transcripts.”

As Hillary Clinton resists calls to release transcripts from her paid Goldman Sachs speeches, details of those events are emerging, and they aren’t good for the Democratic presidential candidate.

“It was pretty glowing about us,” one attendee at an Oct. 2013 Goldman Sachs event in Arizona told Politico about Clinton’s speech, which earned the former secretary of state $225,000. “It’s so far from what she sounds like as a candidate now. It was like a rah-rah speech. She sounded more like a Goldman Sachs managing director.” . . .

Clinton does have the ability to release the transcripts if she chooses.

Her speaking contracts — which went through the Harry Walker Agency — stipulate that the speeches be transcribed and that she retain rights to them.

She won’t be voluntarily releasing these transcripts. I am waiting for the audience-generated videos to emerge. I bet they’re worth a lot of money.

RELATED: Bill Clinton accuser Kathleen Willey to campaign against Hillary: “Willey is joining the Rape Accountability Project for Education PAC, or RAPE PAC, as its paid national spokeswoman, Reuters reported Monday. She will give public remarks and appear in political advertisements detailing claims of Bill Clinton’s past sexual misconduct.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION:

Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, combined to earn more than $153 million in paid speeches from 2001 until Hillary Clinton launched her presidential campaign last spring, a CNN analysis shows.

In total, the two gave 729 speeches from February 2001 until May, receiving an average payday of $210,795 for each address. The two also reported at least $7.7 million for at least 39 speeches to big banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic 2016 front-runner, collecting at least $1.8 million for at least eight speeches to big banks.

Scott Johnson comments: “There’s a joke in there somewhere — probably more than one — but I am afraid the big joke is on us.”

BIDEN TO GOLDMAN SACHS EXECS: ‘I’M DOING A JOB INTERVIEW WITH YOU.’

Joe’s been rehearsing for that that gig since January of 2009; hasn’t he passed the audition yet?

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Related: Glenn on employing the Pigouvian tax to slow the revolving door between Big Government and Big Business: “When the post-government-employment goodies are less good, they’ll pose less of a temptation.”

Not to mention, it’s the patriotic thing to do — just ask Biden himself!

HILLARY’S WALL STREET TRUST GAP, as explored in New York magazine:

This is a candidate who has racked up millions of dollars in speaking fees from financial firms, along with millions more in campaign contributions. That is to say nothing of the money raked in by her husband. (Or the culpability-by-osmosis many progressives assign to her for the regulatory policy decisions made by Bill’s administration.) All those dollars have left her open to skepticism from progressives and to repeated broadsides from Bernie Sanders, among others. “The truth is, you can’t change a corrupt system by taking its money,” Sanders says in one advertisement, even if he refrains from saying Clinton’s name.

Clinton has thus far not always responded elegantly or convincingly to the charge that she’s on Wall Street’s side. During the Democratic debate in Iowa, Sanders lambasted her over her Wall Street cash: “Let’s not be naive about it,” he said. “Over her political career, why has Wall Street been a major, the major campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? Now, maybe they’re dumb and they don’t know what they’re going to get, but I don’t think so.”

Curiously, CTRL-F “Goldman” brings up zero returns in the article, as Goldman Sachs looks to keep its lock on the White House in 2017

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JERSEY SURE: Mark Steyn explores the weird dissembling throughout yesterday by Washington Post “fact checker” Glenn Kessler in response to Trump’s remark that watched on TV “thousands” of Jersey City Muslims celebrating the carnage caused by radical Islam on 9/11:

The past is another country, wrote E M Forster, and the immediate post-9/11 period was a very different land from today’s America. Here, for example, is bigshot mainstream liberal Jonathan Alter writing in Newsweek (then owned by The Washington Post) that there were Muslim schoolchildren in the New York area who had prior knowledge of 9/11.

But the moment passed, and liberals stopped writing such stories, and then denied such stories had ever been written. And year on year more of the specifics of that day were disappeared – starting with the images of the men and women who hurled themselves from the upper floors of the Twin Towers for the chance to spend their final moments falling through clean, bright sky rather than in that hellish inferno. A soft-focus blur, a generalized sadness, a yellow ribbon or two is all that remains. Yet there were Muslims who cheered 9/11 in Oslo and in Yorkshire, and if like Donald Trump you live in New York City, you would have read and heard similar stories from your own neighborhood.

Big Government’s Joel Pollak suggests one possible source for Trump’s statement — in addition to the above MSM articles found by Steyn and Power Line’s John Hinderaker, Trump is “confusing rumors about Jersey City with actual, televised Palestinian celebrations abroad:”

Many Americans remember images like those below, of Palestinians literally dancing in the streets and handing out candy to celebrate the death of thousands of Americans.

These celebrations did not represent all Arabs or Muslims, but they were certainly not isolated (nor were they confined to Arabs and Muslims; some leftists savored the spectacle as well). The footage caused so much public relations damage to the Palestinian cause that Yasser Arafat faked a blood donation in an attempt to save face.

If there had been celebrations like that in the U.S., they would have drawn instant attention and outrage. As John Hinderaker notes at Powerline, the Washington Post reported on Sep. 18, 2011 that “law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.” That seems to provide at least some basis for Trump’s claim that celebrations happened.

As Mark Steyn concludes his article, “There are two competing narratives here:”

If you loathe Trump, the story is: Trump’s suggestion of terrorist sympathizers among American Muslims is outrageous. But, if you’re minded to support Trump, the story is: Obama’s and Hillary’s and Kerry’s assertion that there are no terrorist sympathizers among Muslims is not only ludicrous but mendacious and deeply weird in its relentless insistence. Glenn Kessler’s “fact-check” confirms the latter.

Until the primary elections play themselves out in the coming months, low-information undecided voters are currently stuck between a choice of two highly flawed candidates leading their respective parties, each a product of years spent cocooned in the New York media bubble and its myopic funhouse mirrors. One made his money in New York real estate, the other through massive contributions from the media and Wall Street (including the Obama enablers at Goldman Sachs). Both in their own way are prone to speak in outrageous hyperbole because they have little fear of serious repercussions from their wild utterances. But as Steyn writes, given a choice between two crazed exaggerations — one where “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrated on September 11th and another where “Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” and given our current president’s ongoing escape into fantasyland, who would you count on to keep you safe in the coming years?

‘LACK OF ENTHUSIASM’ MAY DOOM DOWAGER EMPRESS OF CHAPPAQUA’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: As Michael Walsh spots, even her cheerleaders at the New York Times are forced to grit their teeth and write:

But Mrs. Clinton has a striking problem with young voters. A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that a solid plurality of young voters has a negative view of Mrs. Clinton. She did even worse in a Bloomberg Politics national poll. Here is a result to unnerve her Brooklyn campaign headquarters: Both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton get a 60 percent favorable rating with 18-to-29-year-olds. She gets 35 percent approval and 57 percent unfavorable.

Betsy Newmark spots the Times adding this black mark against Hillary as well:

Though she criticizes the American economy as being “rigged” for the rich*, Mrs. Clinton has lost some support recently from party members who think she would go easy on Wall Street excess if elected.

President Goldman Sachs going easy on Wall Street? Heaven forefend!

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* To be fair, Hillary may have stumbled onto something here, but not in the way she thinks.

CLINTON TELLS GOP HOW TO DEFEAT HER: “Her answers were terrible, but they were terrible because there are no better ones. And this is the Republican opening: She cannot move very far away from the president, because she was his diplomatic steward for four years,” John Podhoretz writes in the New York Post.

At Hot Air, Jazz Shaw notes “Clinton delivers bizarre performance in CBS Dem debate,” including this bit of clumsy tap-dancing from inside the exoskeleton:

The most bizarre part of the entire evening, however, had to be when Sanders challenged Clinton about all the Wall Street money she’s taken. She launched into an answer which invoked 9/11 and how proud she was to help them rebuild after the attacks.

“I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is.”

“I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild,” said Clinton, who represented New York from 2001 to 2009. “That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

At that point I was just staring at the television screen speechless. I was sort of hoping that Dickerson’s next question would be whether or not Hillary was smelling burnt hair at the moment because it sounded as if she’d had a stroke. I clearly wasn’t the only one, either. The bizarre, rambling 9/11 answer led to jaws dropping all over Twitter (you can see a list from the RNC here) including the Daily Beast:

“Clinton Is Having As Bad A Night As She Could Be Expected To Have, With ISIS Not America’s Fight And 9/11 Is Why I Took Wall Street $$” (Twitter.com, 11/14/15)

Which is yet another way that Hillary isn’t moving very far away from President Goldman Sachs:
PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

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BERNIE SANDERS IS THE MOST PROMINENT CONSPIRACY THEORIST IN AMERICA, Rich Lowry writes at the Politico:

He runs around the country alleging that the economy is “rigged” — a term borrowed from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — by what he calls “the billionaire class.”

Sanders doesn’t mean this metaphorically. It’s not a poetic exaggeration. He’s dead serious. As he put it in his speech at Liberty University a couple of months ago, our economy is “designed by the wealthiest people in this country to benefit the wealthiest people in this country at the expense of everybody else.”

Designed. Per Sanders, the wealthy have built and maintained a self-serving system of income inequality at the cost of the 99 percent. As he has put it: “This is a rigged economy — heads they win, tails you lose.”

But when will he start attacking President Goldman Sachs by name, and his would-be successor?

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

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Related: Fellow socialist Bill de Blasio endorses Hillary over Bernie, oddly enough.

(Via Betsy Newmark.)

THE PRICE OF CRONYISM: Joel Kotkin: How Big Government And Big Business Stick It To Small U.S. Businesses.

Rather than a new age of democratic capitalism imagined by Reagan era conservatives, we increasingly live in a world dominated by large companies. The overall revenues of Fortune 500 companies have risen from 58 percent of nominal GDP in 1994 to 73 percent in 2013. At the same time, small business start-ups have declined as a portion of all business growth, from 50 percent in the early ’80s to 35 percent in 2010. Indeed, a 2014 Brookings report (PDF) revealed that small business “dynamism,” measured by the growth of new firms compared with the closing of older ones, has declined significantly over the past decade, with more firms closing than starting for the first time in a quarter century. Only 35 percent of small business owners, according to a recent survey by the National Small Business Association, express optimism about the economy.

This decline in entrepreneurial activity marks a historic turnaround. Start up rateshave fallen for young people in particular, dropping to the lowest levels in a quarter century. At the same time the welfare state has expanded dramatically to the point that nearly half of all Americans now get payments from the federal government, notably through Medicare and Social Security. At the same time, the lack of grassroots economic activity may contribute to labor participation rates, now the lowest in almost four decades.

The Obama administration’s progressive-sounding rhetoricmay offend some of the thinner-skinned members of the oligarchy, but his economic policies—the bank bailouts, super-low interest rates, and growing federal power—have also improved the balance sheets of the corporate hegemons and the super-rich. In contrast, these policies do little, or less than little, for the yeoman class. Money today is made far more easily today by playing games with the market than making or selling on Main Street.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

Luckily, if we elect Hillary things will be completely different! See:

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WOMAN OF THE PEOPLE: More CEOs donate to Clinton than to any GOP candidate.

The GOP is often considered the party of business — but it looks like the nation’s CEOs may not agree.

Hillary Clinton has received more donations from CEOs than any Republican candidate so far this year, according to a Big Crunch analysis of the last complete batch of individual Federal Election Commission records.

More than 760 people have given to Clinton’s campaign and identified their occupations as “CEO” or a variation of “chief executive” — that’s about as many CEO backers as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz combined.

They know that her class-warfare rhetoric is just a smokescreen for feathering their nest in exchange for donations and speaking fees. Just like President Goldman Sachs. Or, should I say, President Goldman Sachs The First.

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Related: Everyday Americans: Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Bankrolled by Corporate Law Firms, Lobbyists, Wall Street Banks, Ivy League Stiffs.

MORE CEOS DONATE TO CLINTON THAN TO ANY GOP CANDIDATE: What else would you expect for the next potential President Goldman Sachs?

hillary_goldman_sachs_logo_7-17-15-1       

CORNEL WEST: OBAMA ‘NOT MLK’ FOR COZYING TO WALL STREET, DRONE ‘WAR CRIMES.’

Hey the cognitive dissonance inherent in corporatism and the Gleichschaltung. can be brutal — it’s not easy being President Goldman Sachs.

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

(As Hillary may discover — along with her more rabid leftwing supporters — starting in 2017.)

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PROGRESSIVES’ CAUSE DU JOUR: HATING ISRAEL: The Progressive Left and Israel’s Right to Exist

A small incident during Bernie Sanders’ recent talk at the University of Chicago reveals how the progressive left has turned against Israel. The venue was the largest on campus, and it was packed with enthusiastic supporters. During a Q&A, one student said that he and his friends liked Bernie’s progressive politics but didn’t much like his views on the Middle East. Bernie’s response, and the crowd’s, are worth pondering.

First of all, Bernie said, Israel has a right to exist. It was supposed to be an applause line, but it fell flat. There was only a smattering. That changed when he said he strongly favored a Palestinian state. For that, the applause was loud and sustained.

It’s only a small incident, but it captures a movement that has been developing for years at elite universities and is now spreading to cultural and media institutions. Their views are surely encouraged by President Obama’s diffidence toward the Jewish state. But he is less a leader than an accurate weather gauge. The left loves Israel about as much as it loves fracking, the Keystone pipeline, Goldman Sachs, voter IDs, Clarence Thomas, and deer hunting.

Actually, progressives would probably prefer to go deer hunting with Clarence Thomas than admit that Israel is a democratic ally whose existence is, in large part, the product of a Holocaust that killed an estimated six million Jews and rendered hundreds of thousands more refugees.  Indeed, it is not unusual to still hear “history deniers” disclaim that the Holocaust even happened, or believe it is greatly exaggerated.

Jewish “victimhood” after the Holocaust is irrelevant to the progressives, who only acknowledge the “victimhood” of Arabs. The covert anti-Semitism is patent, but progressives will never admit it, lest they lose the political support of American Jews.

Haters gonna hate, I know, but progressives lack self-awareness of their hatred, and instead project it onto others with whom they disagree.

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS HARDEST HIT: Wall Street’s latest panic: Trump could win:

The CEO of one large Wall Street firm, who declined to be identified by name criticizing the GOP front-runner, said the assumption in the financial industry remains that something will eventually knock Trump off and send voters toward a more establishment candidate. But that assumption is no longer held with strong conviction. And a dozen Wall Street executives interviewed for this article could not say what might dent Trump’s appeal or when it might happen.

“I don’t know anyone who is a Donald Trump supporter. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who is a Donald Trump supporter. They are like this huge mystery group,” the CEO said. [Shades of Pauline Kael! — Ed] “So it’s a combination of shock and bewilderment. No one really knows why this is happening. But my own belief is that the laws of gravity will apply and those who are prepared to run the marathon will benefit when Trump drops out at mile 22. Right now people think Trump is pretty hilarious but the longer it goes on the more frightening it gets.”

The latest frightening broadside for the Wall Street class came on Sunday when Trump said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that executive pay in America is “a complete joke” and promised to raise taxes on “the hedge fund guys.” In a statement sent to POLITICO on Monday from his campaign, Trump relished in the attacks from Wall Street, singling out both Bush and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, another favorite on Wall Street.

“Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will continue to let Wall Street and the ‘hedge fund guys’ rip off the people by paying no or very little in taxes,” Trump said. “They have total and complete control of Hillary, Jeb and others running. My campaign is self- funded. The only people that have control of me are the people of the United States.”

By the time of the 2008 election, Wall Street abandoned Republicans, preferring Michael Bloomberg’s nanny state and Barack Obama’s arugula to the GOP’s traditional values, as Kevin D. Williamson wrote the following year:

Wall Street isn’t politically agnostic, and there’s more to its politics than money. Culture matters, and you won’t find a lot of Pentecostal churches in Greenwich, Conn. Wall Street guys, for the most part, do not have time for social conservatives. “Of course these guys aren’t conservative,” says one longtime bond trader. “Why the [expletive deleted] would they be? We’re talking about guys who live in Manhattan, guys with manicures and eight-figure bank balances. And their wives–their wives aren’t showing up at parents’ day at Brearley with a Sarah Palin button. It’d be like showing up in flip-flops from Wal-Mart. Like showing up in a [rather lengthier expletive deleted] tracksuit.”

This cultural divide is particularly visible in New York City politics. “Ten to 15 years ago, half of the Upper East Side [officeholders] were Republican,” says John Mills, executive vice president of the Lexington Democratic Club. “There’s not one Republican there now. Abortion and gay rights are two of the biggest issues, and there are a lot of Jewish voters here not comfortable with Christian conservatives.”

Wall Street has no love for the southern, rural, and evangelical. But it’s not just the Jesus stuff–the southern and rural parts matter, too: Republican congressmen tend to represent places like Glasscock County, Texas, America’s most Republican jurisdiction, which reliably gives 90-odd percent of its votes to the GOP. Those districts are not going to feel the pain of the financial markets the way New York, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut are. The bailout is not very popular in farm country. Wall Street knew there was a gathering storm in the markets, and it didn’t want to find itself at the mercy of small-town and rural Republicans’ riding to the rescue.

And thus, the birth of the man Glenn likes to call “President Goldman Sachs.”

As Kevin noted, Wall Street abandoned the American heartland in 2008, so it shouldn’t be at all surprised to discover that someone showing up with an anti-Wall Street message resonates with voters there. I’m disappointed it’s a rather punitive and populist message than a conservative one, but historically, fire and brimstone populism has always allowed a candidate to position himself as the champion to a large group of disenfranchised voters.

“THE LAST DECADE COULD BE DESCRIBED AS THE COMEBACK OF SOCIALISM,” Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation writes:

Wall Street is acting as though more government intervention will calm financial markets, when it is excessive intervention of government that created the crisis in the first place. Greece is socialism on steroids — a place where the government gives a lot of things away for free, few people work, and millions receive government pensions, paychecks or welfare benefits. Fifty percent of young people don’t have a job and over half of Greeks retire before age 60. The wagon is full and no one is left to pull it. Now Greece thinks that the Germans or the, EU, the IMF or the United States is going to pay for it all. The crash is coming very soon and the standard of living in Greece will surely plummet. Thank you, socialism.

But there are so many more dominoes that could come crashing down. Almost all of Europe is a financial sink hole. The debts as a share of gross domestic product are 100 percent or more and the public spending as a share of GDP is now just shy of 50 percent.

Pundits on the left such as Paul Krugman can only lamely respond to the European meltdown by arguing that there is “too much austerity” even as debt loads keeps rising every year. The one nation in Europe that didn’t use massive Keynesian stimulus, Germany, is the one place where the economy is still functioning.

We shouldn’t discount two subsets of socialism – corporatism and the Gleichschaltung. And speaking of both of them, back in October of 2008, Jeff Dobbs morphed Goldman Sachs’ and Obama’s logo together, which Glenn has run numerous times over the last several years to highlight Obama’s cozy relationship with Wall Street in general, and that brokerage firm specifically. Dobbs has updated his Photoshop with a new version:

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Let’s hope it won’t be getting a regular workout after November of 2016.

RELATED: “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. made hundreds of partners rich when it went public in 1999. Its performance since then has turned Lloyd Blankfein into a billionaire.” It helps to have friends in high places.

DEMS VENT HILLARY FRUSTRATIONS IN NEW VIDEO; ‘SHE DODGES AN ANSWER ON EVERYTHING:’

“Whenever asked any, even slightly controversial question, Hillary Clinton will constantly vacillate on it. She dodges an answer on almost everything.”

When compared to Clinton, another Democrat said Sanders is “talking straight about what’s needed.”

“My perception is he doesn’t need to test his policy positions or what he stands for before he says something and I find that trustworthy,” she told PJ Media.

A Northern Virginia Democratic voter said Sanders speaks the truth regardless of the subject, contrary to Clinton. He said it is “very hard “ to support Clinton as “the Wall Street candidate.”

But wouldn’t that make for the appropriate level of continuity with President Goldman-Sachs?

LAWS ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Obama Administration Refuses To Follow Law Banning Government Contracts To Companies Who Engaged In Tax Inversions. And notice how quick President Goldman Sachs is to protect the fatcats’ interests when it matters.

POLITICO: Where Was Obama When The Middle Class Needed Him?

The past six years have seen a series of hits to middle-class economic security in the form of radical changes in healthcare; decreased pension guarantees from companies; less job security; and volatility in financial markets that has made retirement planning challenging. Cap that off with the massive hit to financial net worth because of the bursting of the housing bubble and you have a recipe for roiling discontent. Washington, meanwhile, anchored by the Obama administration, is widely seen as having done precious little other than shore up the financial system and the banks in 2009.

When it comes to the economy, in fact, Obama arguably has spent most of his presidency focused either on the needs of the very poor (the uninsured) or the very rich (Wall Street’s banks, which were nursed back to health).

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS HAS BEEN GOOD FOR WALL STREET, BUT NOT FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS. EVEN MIDDLE-CLASS BLACKS ARE SUFFERING.

African Americans for decades flocked to Prince George’s County to be part of a phenomenon that has been rare in American history: a community that grew more upscale as it became more black.

The county became a national symbol of the American Dream with a black twist. Families moved into expansive new homes, with rolling lawns, nearby golf courses and, most of all, neighbors who looked like them. In the early 2000s, home prices soared — some well beyond $1 million — allowing many African Americans to build the kind of wealth their elders could only imagine.

But today, the nation’s highest-income majority-black county stands out for a different reason — its residents have lost far more wealth than families in neighboring, majority-white suburbs. And while every one of these surrounding counties is enjoying a strong rebound in housing prices and their economies, Prince George’s is lagging far behind, and local economists say a full recovery appears unlikely anytime soon.

The same reversal of fortune is playing out across the country as black families who worked painstakingly to climb into the middle class are seeing their financial foundation for future generations collapse. Although African Americans have made once-unthinkable political and social gains since the civil rights era, the severe and continuing damage wrought by the downturn — an entire generation of wealth was wiped out — has raised a vexing question: Why don’t black middle-class families enjoy the same level of economic security as their white counterparts?

Hopey-changey!

LIFE IN THE OBAMA ERA: Poverty Number Highest Since Records Were Kept:

The official U.S. unemployment rate has indeed fallen steadily during the past few years, but the economic recovery has created the fewest jobs relative to the previous employment peak of any prior recovery. The labor-force participation rate recently touched a 36-year low of 62.7%. The number of Americans not in the labor force set a record high of 92.6 million in September. Part-time work and long-term unemployment are still well above levels from before the financial crisis.

Worse, middle-class incomes continue to fall during the recovery, losing even more ground than during the December 2007 to June 2009 recession. The number in poverty has also continued to soar, to about 50 million Americans. That is the highest level in the more than 50 years that the U.S. Census has been tracking poverty. Income inequality has risen more in the past few years than at any recent time.

Related: Number of Ultra Rich Increased 6% in 2014.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

HEY THEY DON’T CALL HIM PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS FOR NOTHING, YOU KNOW: Forget the 1%: It is the 0.01% who are really getting ahead in America.

JOEL KOTKIN: Democrats Move Left.

Much has been written about the right-ward shift of the Republican Party, but far less about a mounting left-wing movement among Democrats. While the media tends to dismiss the right-wingers of the GOP as “wingnuts,” it typically refrains from categorizing even the extreme left of the Democratic Party in a similar manner.

President Barack Obama has accelerated this leftward trend in two ways. First, his administration, particularly in contrast to that of former President Bill Clinton, has laid the rhetorical basis for a move to the left by shifting the party agenda on social, environmental and economic policies. Clinton may have declared that “the era of big government is over,” but under Obama an ever-expanding federal government has become the essential raison d’être for the party.

Yet if Obama’s soaring rhetoric set the stage, his weak record of achievement has sparked mounting concern among left-leaning activists. Obama’s success has hinged in part on the far-left portions of the party controlling their more-fevered passions, particularly about ever-increasing income inequality and bans on fossil fuel use.

But now many on the political left are openly critical of the president, notably for his close ties to the moguls of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. These moguls have been the predominant beneficiaries of his economic policies while middle-class incomes have continued to languish – and even fall.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, FROM PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS? I MEAN, REALLY. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? In 8 Econ Recoveries from 1949 to 2000, Bottom 99% Got Over 1/2 of Income Gains. In this Recovery, 99% get measly 5%.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Tapes showing meek oversight of Goldman are about to rock Wall Street.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

MAYBE THIS IS WHY OBAMA’S POLLING BADLY EVEN IN BLUE STATES: William Galston: The Recovery That Left Out Almost Everybody.

More than five years after the official end of the recession, the Public Religion Research Institute finds, only 21% of Americans believe the recession has ended.

Two recent reports help explain the disconnect between the official jobs numbers and the economic experience of most Americans. Every fall, the U.S. Commerce Department issues a detailed analysis of trends in income, poverty and health insurance. Although economists have some technical quibbles with the Commerce data, the broad trends are unmistakable.

This year’s report found that median household income was $51,939 in 2013, 8% lower than in 2007, the last year before the recession. Households in the middle of the income distribution earned about $4,500 less last year than they had six years earlier. No wonder 56% of Americans told the Pew Research Center that their incomes were falling behind the cost of living.

The Federal Reserve’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances confirms these findings. Between 2010 and 2013, the Fed reports, median family income fell by 5%, even though average family income rose by 4%. This is, note the authors, “consistent with increasing income concentration during this period.” Only families in the top 10%, with annual incomes averaging nearly $400,000, saw gains during these three years.

So President Goldman Sachs delivered big returns to the fatcats, at the expense of everyone else. Go figure.

CORNEL WEST IS NOT SO HAPPY: “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency”

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

JOEL KOTKIN: Dawn of the Age of Oligarchy: the Alliance between Government and the 1%.

When our current President was elected, many progressives saw the dawning of a new epoch, a more egalitarian and more just Age of Obama. Instead we have witnessed the emergence of the Age of Oligarchy.

The outlines of this new epoch are clear in numerous ways. There is the diminished role for small business, greater concentration of financial assets, and a troubling decline in home ownership. On a cultural level, there is a general malaise about the prospect for upward mobility for future generations.

Not everyone is suffering in this new age. For the entitled few, these have been the best of times. With ever more concentration of key industries, ever greater advantage of capital over labor, and soaring real estate values in swanky places such as Manhattan or San Francisco which , as one journalist put it, constitute “vast gated communities where the one percent reproduces itself.” The top hundred firms on the Fortune 500 list has revenues, in adjusted dollars, eight times those during the supposed big-business heyday of the 1960s.

This shift towards oligarchy well precedes President Obama’s tenure. It was born from a confluence of forces: globalization, the financialization of the economy, and the shift towards digital technology. Obama is not entirely to blame, it is more than a bit ironic that these measurements have worsened under an Administration that has proclaimed income inequality abhorrent.

Despite this administration’s occasional rhetorical flourishes against oligarchy, we have seen a rapid concentration of wealth and depressed conditions for the middle class under Obama. The stimulus, with its emphasis on public sector jobs, did little for Main Street. And under the banner of environmentalism, green cronyism has helped fatten the bank accounts of investment bankers and tech moguls at great public expense.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing. But read the whole thing.

BETRAYAL! Lefties Aghast as Leaked Global Trade Deal Turns Out To Be About . . . Financial Deregulation. Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

TO MY KNOWLEDGE, HE’S NEVER FALSELY CLAIMED NATIVE AMERICAN ANCESTRY: Is Dave Brat the “Elizabeth Warren of the Right”?

It’s certainly possible to take the Warren analogy too far; Brat doesn’t have the same devoted following as Warren or her Ivy League academic prestige, and he lacks a parallel position within the conservative firmament. But it’s not a bad comparison, as far as it goes. And it touches on some of the ways that liberal populism and conservative or libertarian-tinged populism often overlap—the distrust of elites, frustration with those in power, and anger over the ways that big government and big business, so often assumed to be titanic opponents, work in tandem against the interests of the masses.

It also suggests the political power of this populist critique, even on the right. In recent years, liberals have successfully channeled anger against the joining of businesses interests and political power, but Republican politicians have not been nearly as effective in their attempts to do so, despite the current of anti-elite sentiment that runs through the Tea Party. There are many reasons why the GOP hasn’t been as successful (its reliance on corporate donors, its professional connections with corporate lobbying groups, the fact that many of its candidates are themselves part of the business class), but one reason why is that criticism of business, big or small, is simply not part of the identity the GOP has built for itself over the last several decades. That’s not the language it speaks; the GOP is the party that represents business, not the party that criticizes corporate power.

Dave Brat, on the other hand, knew how to speak that language, and it turned out to be particularly effective against an eager, ambitious establishmentarian widely viewed as out of touch with the local interests of his constituents.

It’s paywalled, but Kimberley Strassel makes a similar point in the WSJ. Excerpt:

Mr. Brat reprised his themes for Fox News’s Sean Hannity the night of his victory, explaining: “We need to take free markets seriously. That means we have to put an end to all these tax credits and tax deductions and loopholes. [Michigan Rep.] Dave Camp had a good bill which simplified the tax code and had a Reagan-esque 10 and 25 percent rate. That made sense and it was going to be pro-growth.” This clearly resonated with the 56% of voters who chose to rout a sitting majority leader. . . .

Mr. Brat openly derided “Making Life Work,” referring to its “catchy little phrases to compete with Democrats for votes.” As he told Mr. Hannity: “I do not want the federal government trying to make my life work.” Mr. Brat also ably tied together the cronyism/complexity/growth arguments to make the case for real tax reform (rather than Democrat-lite tax spending).

The hallmark of conservative policy innovation is the use of markets to limit government and expand citizen freedom and choice. That’s reform. The lesson of the Brat-Cantor race is that the traditional reform concept is still popular (and populist). At least when it’s delivered with economic understanding and conviction.

Given that President Goldman Sachs is in the pocket of Wall Street, and that the Dems are championing policies that benefit the very rich and the very poor at the expense of the middle class, this would seem to be a fruitful line of attack.

And, unsurprisingly: The House GOP Represents More Low-Wage Workers Than Do Democrats. Check out the map.

Related: Ed Morrissey: The Absurdity Of Leadership Fights In An Era Of Populism. “Cantor became part of the institutions rather than someone who could represent his district’s interests in contrast to them. Cantor missed the populist swing in his district, and the House GOP seems to be missing it in general.”

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: Obama subsidizes private jets for high-flyers abroad.

HEY, THEY DON’T CALL OBAMA PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS FOR NOTHING: Eric Holder Gives Pass to Banking Criminals at Credit Suisse. “When it comes to the Tea Party, Obama’s IRS probes private citizens beyond the legal limits. But when it comes to Swiss banks engaged in widespread criminal conduct, Eric Holder’s Justice Department turns a blind eye.”

JAMES TARANTO: 1930-Something: Old-school leftists are unhappy with Obama’s America.

Reed disdains what he calls “the cult of the most oppressed,” the idea “that there’s something about the purity of these oppressed people that has the power to condense the mass uprising. I’ve often compared it to the cargo cults. . . . As my dad used to say, ‘If oppression conferred heightened political consciousness there would be a People’s Republic of Mississippi.’ ” (This all seems a bit out of place in Salon, whose usual stock in trade is exotic identity-based grievances. Last week the site ran an article by Randa Jarrar, an Arab-American novelist, titled “Why I Can’t Stand White Belly Dancers.”)

Conservatives share Reed’s and Frank’s aversion to identity politics, though of course for different reasons. They (we) see it as anathema to the classical liberal ideas of individual freedom and equality of opportunity. Reed pointedly rejects what he calls “a neoliberal understanding of an equality of opportunity.”

What Reed wishes for instead, in his Harper’s article, is a radical “redistributive vision,” which “requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement.” There’s more than a bit of nostalgia here: He opens by observing that the left “crested in influence between 1935 and 1945, when it anchored a coalition centered in the labor movement,” and that “at the federal level its high point may have come in 1944, when FDR propounded what he called ‘a second Bill of Rights,’ ” including “the right to a ‘useful and remunerative job,’ ‘adequate medical care,’ and ‘adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.’ “

What we actually have is a coalition of Wall Street — they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing — and gentry liberals, with enough minorities included as electoral fodder to provide key votes. But look who’s getting richer these days. It’s the .1 percent. A few rubes are just starting to catch on.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The Rope to Hang Them: John Podesta’s corporate donors are hoping to buy political protection.

President Obama is calling in the political cavalry, notably John Podesta, who was Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff before he became America’s most powerful unelected liberal by founding the Center for American Progress. So it’s instructive to inspect the list of corporate donors that Mr. Podesta’s think tank released last month.

Mr. Podesta founded the alternative to the Heritage Foundation in 2003, but it has long resisted disclosing its donor list. The motivation to do so now seems to be that it would be embarrassing to keep mum amid the current Democratic political campaign against businesses that give to conservative candidates or causes. All the more so with Mr. Podesta in the West Wing. . . .

Whatever the motive, the list of 58 corporate donors is revealing about the ways of the modern regulatory state. It certainly blows apart the myth that corporate America is “conservative” in any modern political sense of that word. It’s more accurate to say that Fortune FT.T +8.00% 500 CEOs think they must buy political protection from the left. So it’s no surprise to see the list is heavily weighted toward the most politicized parts of the economy.

Health insurers are there in force (eight), befitting their new role as public health utilities. That includes the insurance lobby, America’s Health Insurance Plans, whose silence amid the make-it-up-as-you-go start of the ObamaCare shows it is now essentially a business partner of the Obama Administration.

Also Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Apple, General Electric, Google, Facebook. Keep this in mind.

THE OBAMA ECONOMY AND A NEW ARISTOCRACY: Is Downton Abbey The Future Of The US Economy?

Steinsson and Nakamura aren’t the only ones looking to employ people in service jobs. While they seem to pay people for one-off tasks or on a part-time basis, the WSJ reports that demand for full-time live-in domestic help is growing rapidly, including for chefs, housekeepers, estate managers, and even maids and butlers. The return of butlers and maids is attention grabbing enough, but the story is full of many other eye-popping details. The pay, for instance, can rise as high as 200,000 dollars thousand a year for a butler, and some agencies say families have begun to build separate kitchens in their houses for the kitchen staff in order to maintain family privacy.

These Downton-esque luxuries may seen irrelevant to the wider trends deciding the future of American employment, but in fact they represent the growing class of service jobs that could become a significant part of our economy, especially if we find ways to facilitate the transition to a service-based economy. As manufacturing and clerical jobs decline, creating enough demand for service labor will push wages up to good levels. It is the relationship of supply and demand which is fundamentally behind the stagnant wages we see today. Figuring out how to change that will get living standards moving in the right direction again.

There’s nothing dishonorable about domestic service, but this isn’t the Hope And Change we were promised. Then again, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

NOPE. NOT AT ALL. NEXT QUESTION? Does Hillary Clinton’s Enthusiasm for Profit Extend Beyond Her Own Earnings? “The news that Hillary Clinton has earned what the Washington Post characterized as ‘close to $500,000’ for two recent speeches to Goldman Sachs is generating a certain amount of excitement.” So if Hillary’s elected, President Goldman Sachs The First will be replaced by President Goldman Sachs The Second. Guess I’ll need to redo this logo a bit if that happens.

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

TEXAN’S PLAN PUTS WALL STREET ON EDGE:

During Jeb Hensarling’s first congressional bid, a man at a campaign stop in Athens, Texas, asked the Republican if he was “pro-business.”

“No,” the candidate replied, drawing curious stares from local business leaders who had gathered to hear him speak, a former Hensarling aide recalled. “I’m not pro-business. I’m pro-free enterprise.”

Now, more than a decade later, that distinction has Wall Street on edge. The new chairman of the House financial services committee wants to limit taxpayers’ exposure to banking, insurance and mortgage lending by unwinding government control of institutions and programs the private sector depends on, from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to flood insurance.

Banks and other large financial institutions are particularly concerned because Mr. Hensarling plans to push legislation that could require them to hold significantly more capital and establish new barriers between their federally insured deposits and other activities, including trading and investment banking.

“A great case can be made that we need greater capital and liquidity standards,” the conservative 55-year-old Texan said in a recent interview. “Certainly, we have to do a better job ring-fencing, fire-walling—whatever metaphor you want to use—between an insured depository institution and a noninsured investment bank.”

I doubt President Goldman-Sachs approves. But faster, please.

PRESIDENTGOLDMANSACHS

NOTHING BUT CRONIES ALL THE WAY DOWN: As Matt Drudge notes in his paraphrase of this Bloomberg article, “Warren Buffett to Pay $0 to Be Among Goldman Sach’s Top Shareholders…”

Goldman Sachs — why does that name ring a bell?

THIS NEWS WILL PLAY WELL AT THE CORNER: Duran Duran’s John Taylor: Biden a ‘D*ck’ in Debate, Likes Ryan.

Bruce Springteen will be touring for Obama, but then, like President Goldman Sachs, he’s pretty much an old-line One Percent establishment guy anyhow.

 

 

FINALLY, OCCUPY WALL STREET HAS A CANDIDATE THEY CAN BELIEVE IN:

“New book shows U.S. top earners pay larger share of taxes than any other industrialized nation”

— Kerry Picket of the Washington Times today.

● Mitt Romney to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on taxes, “I want high income people to continue to pay the same share they do today.” 

— Headline on CNN Website today.

Forget President Goldman Sachs. If OWS really wants to stick it to the man, there’s only once choice for them in this election.

President Goldman Sachs

JUST ANOTHER DAY FOR PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: “Tim Geithner, the US Treasury secretary, acted to shield Citigroup’s bondholders and management from accountability at the height of the financial crisis while taxpayers were left on the hook, a former US bank regulator has alleged,” according to the Financial Times.

FLASHBACK: How Wall Street Occupied the White House.

CHARLES GASPARINO: The Party Of Wall Street:

Among the many falsehoods pushed at last week’s Democratic Convention is that this is the party of the people, unafraid to hold Corporate America responsible for its many ills.

Judging by the records of the last two Democratic administrations, just the opposite appears to be true. Certainly, President Obama and, to some extent, Bill Clinton like to talk a good game in terms of class warfare, but under both men, real corporate crime-fighting has been at best a side issue — despite the immense amounts of white-collar fraud their administrations faced. In fact, neither Obama nor Clinton can hold a candle to the corporate crime-fighting record of George W. Bush, that supposed lapdog for large corporate interests.

Consider: As we near the four-year anniversary of the financial crisis, not a single Wall Street fat cat has been charged with violations of securities laws in connection with the 2008 collapse.

Then we have the outlandish case of MF Global, the brokerage firm run into the ground nearly a year ago by Obama’s pal and campaign-cash bundler, Jon Corzine. It isn’t just that the former Goldman Sachs CEO and New Jersey governor took outsized trading risks that destroyed the firm; his firm appears to have misused and lost $1.6 billion in customer funds in the process.

Under securities laws, those customer funds were supposed to be kept sacrosanct — yet not a single MF Global employee, much less Corzine, has been charged in the matter by the Obama Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Talking populism, practicing corporatism.

IT’S A GOOD ARGUMENT, AND IT HAS THE ADVANTAGE OF BEING TRUE: Super-PAC ads look to tie Obama to Wall Street and turn off his supporters.

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

ED DRISCOLL: President Goldman Sachs Presents ‘The Muppet Show,’ Sponsored by GE.

Consider this another example of Blair’s Law: Goldman Sachs, the company that thinks of its customers as “muppets,” is deeply in bed with the Obama administration, right down to their fundraising operations. The leader of said administration thinks of most Americans as lethargic bitter clingers, typical white people, who’ve acted stupidly, who’ve become soft, and who have lost their imagination and willingness to go along with the big government projects he envisions for them. (“What about more smart grids?” “We need more moon shot!”) And the above articles appear on a subsidiary Website of General Electric, whose CEO is Obama’s “Jobs Czar,” when he’s not sending GE’s own jobs to China, and whose on-air talent at the sister network to CNBC thinks of half the American people in arguably even worse terms than Obama himself does.

Read the whole thing.

Plus: “Barack Obama’s reelection campaign has released the most recent list of names of fundraising bundlers. On that list is Jon Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey and embattled money man, the former head of MF Global.”

THE NATION SAYS THAT THE REAL HILARY ROSEN SCANDAL is that she’s just another of the many corporate whores who have surrounded Obama:

Per a senior Dem: “Serious Dem operatives are aghast at Hilary Rosen’s misguided attack on Ann Romney’s work history. She and others at PR firm SKD Knickerbocker have represented many clients that have raised hackles with senior White House staff. It’s an open secret in the Dem consultant community that SKD has been signing up clients based on ‘perceived White House access’ tied to prior relationships and employment.”

As we’ve reported, SKDKnickerbocker is led by a team of former Democratic operatives and key White House figures. But instead of promoting a progressive agenda, or even an Obama agenda, these consultants score huge contracts by helping corporate interests lobby for policies that are not in line with the public interest. Many SKDKnickerbocker employees, including Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director, are also frequent White House visitors.

We’ve compiled a partial list of SKDKnickerbocker’s clients. Since the firm refuses to register as an ordinary lobbying firm, we don’t know their full roster of clients.

My favorite: “SKDKnickerbocker was hired to push for billions in tax breaks for already profitable corporations.”

Then, of course, there’s her history as an attack dog for the music industry. Well, what do you expect? They don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

This kind of climate comes down from the top. Related: Why Hilary Rosen visited at the White House. Including 5 meetings with President Goldman Sachs.

BLOOMBERG: Obama Relies on Debt Collectors Profiting From Student Loan Woe. “With $67 billion of student loans in default, the Education Department is turning to an army of private debt-collection companies to put the squeeze on borrowers. Working on commissions that totaled about $1 billion last year, these government contractors face growing complaints that they are violating federal laws by insisting on stiff payments, even when borrowers’ incomes make them eligible for leniency. . . . In failing health, after contracting hepatitis from a blood transfusion, Campos pleaded with Pioneer, owned by SLM Corp. (SLM), the nation’s largest student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae. He left a $40,000-a-year job at the Massachusetts health department when he got too sick to work and waited for a liver transplant. The 52-year-old former busboy, a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 1990s from Cambridge College in Massachusetts.”

Occupy the Department of Education! Or, you know, the White House. Just the kind of behavior you’d expect from the administration of President Goldman Sachs! (Bumped).

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Noticed your post regarding student loan providers engaging in hard-headed collection practices. You might want to also consider another feature of student loans that I believe resembles loan-sharking. After graduation, many students consolidate their loans into a single loan. This is because each year a student is in school, a new loan is made. Sometimes there are multiple loans in a single year, due to different kinds of eligibility, etc. This means that a graduating student can often have a half-dozen or more individual loans to manage. Student loan providers helpfully allow consolidation of all these loans into a single loan with a fixed interest rate. Now here’s the rub. Once consolidated, the loans cannot be refinanced and the borrower is locked to the same interest rate no matter how low market rates might go. There have been bills introduced to allow student loan refinancing, but so far the lenders have lobbied heavily against allowing the practice and the bills have failed. This means that a student who borrowed during a period of high rates is locked to those rates, potentially for decades, without any real recourse.

No name on this one. I am in administration now.

A report from the Dark Side!

BLOOMBERG: Obama Relies on Debt Collectors Profiting From Student Loan Woe. “With $67 billion of student loans in default, the Education Department is turning to an army of private debt-collection companies to put the squeeze on borrowers. Working on commissions that totaled about $1 billion last year, these government contractors face growing complaints that they are violating federal laws by insisting on stiff payments, even when borrowers’ incomes make them eligible for leniency. . . . In failing health, after contracting hepatitis from a blood transfusion, Campos pleaded with Pioneer, owned by SLM Corp. (SLM), the nation’s largest student-loan company better known as Sallie Mae. He left a $40,000-a-year job at the Massachusetts health department when he got too sick to work and waited for a liver transplant. The 52-year-old former busboy, a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the 1990s from Cambridge College in Massachusetts.”

Occupy the Department of Education! Or, you know, the White House. Just the kind of behavior you’d expect from the administration of President Goldman Sachs!

SO WHEN DOES PRESIDENT OBAMA CALL GREG SMITH TO TELL HIM HIS PARENTS SHOULD BE PROUD?

You mean President Goldman Sachs? Not likely.

KEVIN WILLIAMSON ON Wall Street and Crony Capitalism.

For a few measly millions, Wall Street not only bought itself a president, but got the start-up firm of B. H. Obama & Co. LLC to throw a cabinet into the deal, too — on remarkably generous terms. President Obama, for a guy prone to delivering prim and smug little homilies denouncing greed, greed, greed — the only of the seven deadly sins that truly offends Democrats (though Mrs. Obama has done some desultory work on gluttony) — is strangely comfortable among the Gordon Gekkos of this world. Shall we have a partial roll call? Beat the drum slowly and call out the names: With unemployment still topping 9 percent, the catastatic world economy teetering on the brink of another, even larger financial catastrophe, and trillion-dollar U.S. deficits as far as the green-shaded eye can see, let’s hear it for Obama’s first National Economic Council director, Lawrence Summers (of hedge-fund giant D. E. Shaw and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz), who has had some nice paydays courtesy of Lehman Bros., JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup. Let’s hear it for Citigroup’s Michael Froman, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national-security adviser for international economic affairs, for Hartford Financial’s Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury secretary, for JPMorgan’s William Daley, Obama’s chief of staff, and for his predecessor, Rahm Emanuel of Wasserstein Perella. Let’s hear it for Fannie Mae’s Tom Donilon, national-security adviser. (No, seriously: One of the luminous interstellar geniuses who brought Fannie Mae to its current aphotic state of affairs, upside down to the tune of trillions of dollars, is running national security, and the former director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, was on the board of IndyMac when it finally went toes up — sleep tight, America!) And, lest we forget, let’s have three big, sloppy cheers for economic-transition team leaders Robert Rubin (Goldman Sachs, Citigroup) and folksy tax enthusiast/ghoulish billionaire vulture Warren Buffett.

That’s a pretty fantastic lineup, from Wall Street’s point of view, but the real bonus turned out to be Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, who came up through the ranks as part of the bipartisan Robert Rubin–Hank Paulson–Citigroup–Goldman Sachs cabal. Geithner, a government-and-academe man from way back, never really worked on Wall Street, though he once was offered a gig as CEO of Citigroup, which apparently thought he did an outstanding job as chairman of the New York Fed, where one of his main tasks was regulating Citigroup — until it collapsed into the yawning suckhole of its own cavernous ineptitude, at which point Geithner’s main job became shoveling tens of billions of federal dollars into Citigroup, in an ingeniously structured investment that allowed the government to buy a 27 percent share in the bank, for which it paid more than the entire market value of the bank. If you can’t figure out why you’d pay 100-plus percent of a bank’s value for 27 percent of it, then you just don’t understand high finance or high politics.

Read the whole thing.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? So America has a President Goldman Sachs, Italy has a Prime Minister Goldman Sachs, and the European Central Bank will now be headed by a former Goldman Sachs banker.

THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER ON PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: President Obama walks on both sides of Wall Street.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets grief from a lot of conservatives for having changed his position over the years on important issues like abortion and government-run health care. But Romney is a rank amateur compared to the doubletalk coming from President Obama on the topic of Wall Street. On the one hand, there is the former community organizer Obama. This Obama has made it clear in recent weeks that he is at one with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying, for example, when ABC asked how he viewed the demonstrators, that “the most important thing we can do right now is those of us in leadership letting people know that we understand their struggles and we are on their side. …”

But then there is the Obama who is more than happy to accept high-dollar contributions from every Gordon Gecko on Wall Street. As the Washington Post recently reported, Obama has accepted more money — more than $15.6 million — from these people than all of the Republican presidential aspirants combined.

As I keep saying: They don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: Wall Street has already made more money under Obama than it did in Bush’s two terms. “Behind this turnaround, in significant measure, are government policies.”

#OCCUPYFAIL: Walter Russell Mead: Occupy Blue Wall Street. “Members of what Howard Dean likes to call ‘the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party’ prefer not to think too much about Blue Wall Street and its role in the Democratic coalition, but particularly as times get tougher for the blue social model, it is Blue Wall Street that makes things work and calls the shots. For Blue Wall Street the conflict between the interests of the private sector and the power of the government does not really exist. The symbiosis between Blue Wall Street and the state is strong and deep. The pension funds, bond issues and other financial transactions that blue city and state governments need helps nourish Blue Wall Street; Blue Wall Street helps integrate the policy agenda of other government focused interest groups with larger national priorities and movements. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the archetypes of this symbiosis: they are government-backed forces in the capital markets built around support for the single most important American social program of the blue period: home ownership. . . . Blue Wall Street benefits much more from the blue social model than the other elements in the coalition. Five figure cop salaries and low six figure salaries for goo-goo social engineers pale before the seven, eight, nine and ten figure paydays on the Street. There is a direct connection between those big paydays and the connection between big finance, big government and Democratic (as well as Republican) interest group politics. Good relations with politicians help make money: ask the leadership of Goldman Sachs.”

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

THE CORZINE SCANDAL: Another Black Eye For Blue Wall Street. “Remember two years ago when President Obama was vigorously campaigning in New Jersey, hoping that the Democratic Party wouldn’t face a humiliating gubernatorial defeat? Maybe he should have campaigned harder. If nothing else, it might have kept Democratic candidate for Governor Jon Corzine away from MF Global. The company’s recklessness—with clients’ money, no less—is precisely the kind of story that the Democratic Party doesn’t want as Wall Street stands occupied. (Via Meadia hopes by the way that this was all a terrible misunderstanding and that Governor Corzine’s reputation will somehow emerge intact from the debacle, but at this point we aren’t holding our breath.)”

Plus this: “The Democrats can bark at Blue Wall Street, but they cannot really bite. A few little puppy nips, perhaps, but any efforts by the Democrats to throw Wall Street under the bus will fail. Blue Wall Street is the bus, and it refuses to roll over itself.”

Hey, they don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

UPDATE: Crony Capitalism: Corzine used leverage to keep regulators from investigating MF Global. Plus: “Mona Charen notes that this makes Barack Obama’s attack on Republicans look more like a case of projection.”

NO, NO, YOU’RE ONLY SUPPOSED TO BRING THE PITCHFORKS TO OPPONENTS OF THE REGIME! Protesters Occupy GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s Connecticut Front Lawn. “Occupy Wall Street protesters took a field trip from Zuccotti Park on Saturday morning, all the way to the wealthy suburban enclave of New Canaan, Conn., where they took their anger at income and tax disparity to GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s front lawn.”

I have to admit that In the land of the free, they tax me but not G.E.! is sorta catchy. No word on what President Goldman Sachs thought about this, but I note that the group involved, Working Families, is an offshoot of the ACORN group that was disbanded after a teen-prostitute scandal.

Plus, this pic from reader Steve Judkins shows the wave of anger that’s spreading across America.

UPDATE: “Glenn Beck Gets Results.” Heh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: “We Are The 5 Percent.” (Background here for those who don’t get it. Yeah, it’s kinda arcane . . . )

#OWSBLOWBACK: Protester: fundraisers tie Obama to ‘money elite’. Gee, do you think?

Kevin Zeese observed to WMAL.com that “President Obama, with his one billion dollar campaign, is holding fundraisers that cost $38,500 to get into.” Zeese noted that the fundraiser cost is “higher than the median individual income for Americans, which is $1,000 less.” He added that such a fundraiser “puts Obama out of touch with the people and very much in touch with the money elite.”

President Obama has raised over $64 million so far for his reelection campaign. Charlie Spiering of The Washington Examiner recently detailed a two day, seven fundraiser cash-crawl by Obama that included a stop at one of those high-dollar fundraisers.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., lectured the Occupy Wall Streeters a couple days ago, saying they made him ‘unhappy’ for not supporting Democrats in 2010.

They don’t call him President Goldman Sachs for nothing.

PRESIDENT GOLDMAN SACHS: Obama Has More Cash From Wall Street Than All GOP Hopefuls Combined. “Obama has brought in more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and other financial service companies than all of the GOP candidates combined, according to a Washington Post analysis of contribution data.”

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: Sharpton: “If you won’t get the jobs bill done in the suite, we will get the jobs bill done in the street!”

Up yours, Al, you pathetic Jew-hating demagogue. And together with the anti-semitism we’ve seen elsewhere, this kind of talk is making me ready to call for a temporary suspension of Godwin’s Law. But beware of other legal issues.

Related: Nazis and Communists Throw Their Support Behind Occupy Wall Street Movements.

Also: Video: Occupy Portland Protesters Sing…”F*ck the USA”.

And: Obama Campaign Seeks To Capitalize On Anti-Wall Street Anger. President Goldman Sachs thinks the protesters will be useful. So what does that make them?

And where’s ThinkProgress?

UPDATE: Reader Antoinette Aubert writes: “The problem with calling everyone you disagree with a Nazi is that it makes the term meaningless. On the other hand when a group of people blame all the world’s problems on a small Jewish cabal and yell for all the Jews to get out of the country, well that IS the meaning of Nazi.”

Close enough for government work, anyway.

YA THINK? In Private, Bankers Dismiss Protesters As Unsophisticated.

“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”

He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.

Generally, bankers dismiss the protesters as gullible and unsophisticated. Not many are willing to say this out loud, for fear of drawing public ire — or the masses to their doorsteps. “Anybody who dismisses them publicly is putting a bull’s-eye on their back,” the hedge fund manager said.

I’m dismissing them publicly. They’re tools of President Goldman Sachs. The bankers have much to answer for, but these people aren’t even smart enough to ask the questions. And if I were the Wall Streeters, I’d be negotiating a move to Dallas, as rumor has it they’re considering.

WASHINGTON POST HEADLINE: Raj Rajaratnam, hedge fund billionaire, gets 11-year sentence for insider trading.

What the story doesn’t mention: Raj Rajaratnam Big Democratic Booster.

UPDATE: Other Wall Street fraudsters who donate to Dems. Bernie Madoff, for example, gave a lot.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mike Lupica goes after President Goldman Sachs. “When do they head to Washington and start yelling about a President who often looks like the Fundraiser-in-Chief, trying to keep his job backed by what might become the richest campaign in history, in a jobless country going broke. It’s why you wonder if there will come a day when the house that Occupy Wall Street is standing in front of isn’t Jamie Dimon’s on Park Ave., it is the White House.”

MICHAEL WALSH: COMPARE AND CONTRAST: “About the only thing the Tea Party and the unwashed rabble occupying Zuccotti Park have in common is their deep loathing for the financial and political nomenklatura who precipitated the economic collapse of 2008 and — thanks to their generous campaign donations to politicians — have emerged unscathed while the rest of us suffer. Any other resemblance is purely coincidental.”

President Goldman Sachs was unavailable for comment.

Related: WaPo: Occupy Wall Street protests reveal liberal tensions. “How good can Obama be when he needs so much Wall Street money?”

RECOVERY BUMMER (CONT’D): Recession Officially Over, US Incomes Kept Falling. “Between June 2009, when the recession officially ended, and June 2011, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent, to $49,909, according to a study by two former Census Bureau officials. During the recession — from December 2007 to June 2009 — household income fell 3.2 percent. The finding helps explain why Americans’ attitudes toward the economy, the country’s direction and its political leaders have continued to sour even as the economy has been growing.”

Hey, Goldman Sachs is doing okay.

MARK STEYN: ANARCHISTS FOR BIG GOVERNMENT. “Underneath the familiar props of radical chic that hasn’t been either radical or chic in half a century, the zombie youth of the Big Sloth movement are a ludicrous paradox.”

This parody, seen on Facebook, says it all . . .

As I keep pointing out, if you’re not protesting against President Goldman Sachs, you’re not protesting against “Wall Street.” You’re just a hack. Sorry.

UPDATE: Reader Eliot Picard writes:

In observing the Occupy protests, including milling about the crowds in Boston near my office, it is quite apparent that the student loan debt bomb is probably the main impetus for these actions. It goes without saying that the students and former students facing non-bankruptable debt and minimal job prospects have a legitimate grievance although we may certainly disagree on what needs to be done. One question that keeps occurring to me is whether the colleges and universities that encourage degrees in various useless humanities disciplines bear some significant responsibility for this crisis.

One can only assume that presidents, deans, provosts, etc. know fully well that there is a limited market for degrees in Wommyn’s Studies, Language Arts and the like. My mother, ever the incisive wit, G-d bless her, called the graduates of such programs “unemployable at a higher level”. Indeed, when I finished a double major B.A. in Biology and Philosophy (Rensselaer Polytech, class of 1990) and expressed interest in graduate level philosophy I was told that the school had shut down the Ph.D. program to discourage students from doing much more in the field that I had done already. Clearly RPI knew that allowing and encouraging such a path of study was tantamount to academic malpractice. This sort of sane pedagogical judgement, from which I benefitted in my impetuous youth, has been missing across the rest of academia.

Is there some room for legal action to “claw back” arguably misspent tuition dollars from the universities (IANAL so forgive my obvious misuse of that term). I cannot but think that there has to be some sanction against those universities and their officials who were more than happy to take the big tuition checks while failing to look after the interests of the students in their charge.

One suspects that if this were deemed likely, the AAUP wouldn’t be endorsing the protests. But, of course, that’s right. If any other industry lured 18-year-olds into lifetime debt based on misrepresentations about the value of what it was selling, the executives would already be social pariahs and criminal defendants. I’m in favor of allowing student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy, and of forcing the universities to eat part of it in the process. I also think that prospective students should be informed of the percentage of enrolees who graduate, the average indebtedness of graduates (dropouts), and the percentage of that debt that is in default, or over 60 days late. Perhaps this could be subdivided by major to provide a more useful picture of what people are getting into.

BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY:

The Obama administration has become a house of mirrors.

Wall Street is the wicked enemy.

Geithner is Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs is everywhere in the Obama admin.

Rise up against the evil bankers!

Pay off the evil bankers!

The evil bankers must direct our economy policy or we are doomed!

Like I said yesterday: If you’re not protesting against President Goldman Sachs, you’re not protesting against “Wall Street.” You’re just a hack. Sorry.

SURE, WHY NOT? What We Really Need is Anti-Corporate Anarchy, With Our ‘Organizers and the Law Team’ Writing Our Demands. “Anarchy — you keep using that word. I do not think it means…No, actually, you’re using absolutely spot-on, even if you don’t know it.” It’s not anarchy until it’s been through the approved committee process.

But really: If you’re not protesting against President Goldman Sachs, you’re not protesting against “Wall Street.” You’re just a hack. Sorry. “The modern anarchists are just the far-left’s muscle. Look at when and where they show up, who they march with and for, and how carefully the press ignores them and their acts.”

A RESPONSE to some Occupy Wall Street demands.

My question is, why aren’t they presenting their demands to President Goldman Sachs at the White House? Where do they think Obama’s campaign donations came from? Who has gotten rich — and bailed out — under his Administration?

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Obama Should Return Wall Street Contributions:

President Obama took his case for vastly increasing federal power over financial institutions to Wall Street yesterday, but he forgot something while packing for the trip. He should have taken with him all those bags of dirty money he received on the campaign trail in 2008 from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms whose greedy ways he claims led the nation’s economy into the Great Recession. Since Obama received nearly a million dollars in contributions from Goldman Sachs executives in 2007 and 2008, maybe all those bags of filthy Wall Street lucre wouldn’t fit on Air Force One. More likely, the dirty money stayed in the White House because Obama and his fellow Democrats want to keep having it both ways on Wall Street.

Read the whole thing.

MATT WELCH: The Real Reason Americans Are Angry: It’s The Big Government, Stupid:

It’s been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama’s health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it.

“Racial anxiety,” guessed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

“Nihilism,” theorized Time’s Joe Klein.

“The crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy,” historian Rick Perlstein proclaimed in the Washington Post.

While the commentariat’s condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama’s room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren’t very keen about the government barging into their lives. . . . This isn’t about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. A majority oppose Obama’s policies because they fly in the face of this country’s bedrock values of personal liberty and limited government. Robbing Peter to pay Goldman Sachs does violence to that fundamentally American ethos.

Read the whole thing.

WHO’S IN BED WITH WALL STREET?

Perhaps the “deregulation” he refers to is the unregulated market of credit-default swaps. This was a derivative security that banks and investors used to insure against credit defaults. He should know that former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, described by President Clinton as the greatest treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton, pushed his Citigroup bank to pursue these instruments and aggressively invest in sub-prime mortgages. Today, Citigroup is on the verge of bankruptcy. Prior to Citigroup, Mr. Rubin was with Goldman Sachs. (Former Treasury Secretary Paulson was also with Goldman Sachs. Wonder if they knew each other.)

Is there a connection between the Democratic Party, New York state and Wall Street? There are two U.S. senators from New York, and one was Hillary Clinton. The other is Chuck Schumer. When you are a senator from New York and the financial capital of the world is located in your home state, you must develop a cozy relationship with Wall Street. You don’t oppose your banker friends because your political success is tied to Wall Street. So you sort of develop a two-faced persona. You deride Wall Street in front of the cameras, but you have wine and cheese with them while in Manhattan.

Plus this: “About the same time, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd received a below-market interest rate for one of his mortgages.” Really? Why didn’t that make the news?