Are the anti-Wall Street protestors demonstrating against themselves? The richest and most prominent Wall Street executives overwhelmingly supported and bankrolled Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.
And on Wall Street, little distinction is made between liberal Democrats and avowedly socialist activist groups. The big banks financed ACORN. Although ACORN has disbanded in the wake of scandal, the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, formerly headed by White House Chief of Staff William Daley, continues to fund similar groups committed to undermining capitalism and debasing democracy.
Goldman Sachs and other big financial institutions lobbied for Dodd-Frank, which institutionalizes the “too big to fail” policy. In doing so, Goldman and the others support the same type of politically directed capital allocation as advocated by the people in the streets.
The Fortune 500 companies are headed by executives, many of whom attended elite liberal universities and came of age during the late 60s and early 70s. Many of them are not particularly sympathetic to capitalism or traditional American values.
I doubt the protestors resent much about PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. She gave a commencement speech in 2005 in which she asserted that our nation’s foreign policy has been characterized by America giving “a middle finger” to the rest of the world. PepsiCo has funded groups headed by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well groups that lobby for gay marriage. PepsiCo is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, which lobbies for cap and trade legislation.
What is remarkable is not Ms. Nooyi’s viewpoints or affiliations, but the fact that they are fairly typical of today’s corporate executive. Moreover, Corporate America seldom funds or allies itself with groups promoting free enterprise.
Even companies that still incite the ire of the Left have pretty much embraced the Left’s agenda. Walmart supported ObamaCare, as well as cap and trade. It has adopted a series of “green” initiatives which it is now forcing down the throats of its thousands of suppliers. Talk about corporate power.
The anti-Wall Street protests are street theater. It is for the TV cameras. In reality, the Left commands real power in the financial community through union pension and benefit funds.
In January, an analyst at private equity firm Blackstone had the temerity to suggest that public sector employment benefits might have to be trimmed. The union response was swift. Blackstone, which manages billions in union pension funds, soon after issued a statement asserting that “a pension is a promise” and opposing the “scapegoating” of public employees. Stephen Schwarzman, the Chairman of Blackstone, is one of Wall Street’s few Republicans.
The Left seems to have finally realized the saliency of the Wall Street bailouts as a political issue, but they are late to the party. It was the bailouts, more than any other single issue, that propelled the emergence of the Tea Party movement.