The latest sign of Wall Street's antipathy to President Obama is a letter penned by hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb. Formerly one of the president's biggest supporters, Loeb sent a letter to investors Friday criticizing the president's handling of the economy, which, according to Loeb, has led to "unpredictable government regulation." Loeb joins a string of other Wall Street influentials (some of whom supported Obama's 2008 presidential bid) who resent the president's leadership. Why have they soured on Obama? The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin offers this explanation:
The prevailing view is that bankers, hedge fund mangers and traders supported the Obama candidacy because he appealed to their egos.
Mr. Obama was viewed as a member of the elite, an Ivy League graduate (Columbia, class of '83, the same as Mr. Loeb), president of The Harvard Law Review -- he was supposed to be just like them. President Obama was the "intelligent" choice, the same way they felt about themselves. They say that they knew he would seek higher taxes and tighter regulation; that was O.K. What they say they did not realize was that they were going to be painted as villains.
Is Sorkin correct?
- Yes, writes Paul Krugman at The New York Times: "I talked to some financial-industry backers of Obama back during primary season; they really didn't know or care much about policy issues, but were in love with Obama over his style -- and also over the prospect of being in his inner circle, something they knew wouldn't happen with Hillary. Now they're mad because they don't feel that they're getting enough stroking."
- Are You Kidding? It's About Money, Not Insults, writes Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism: "Please. Are you going to seriously tell me big financial players are up in arms because Team Obama occasionally calls them bad names? That explanation is so obviously bogus as to call for a look for the real reason. There's a much more straightforward explanation, and it's called 'follow the money.' ...It's one thing to raise taxes generally, the big boys can stomach that. But it's quite another to raise taxes in a way that targets them. (And note, by the way, that this measure failed, but the industry was still deeply offended at this show of disloyalty)."
- Whatever the Case, I Have Little Sympathy for Wall Street, writes The Reid Report: "Never mind that these guys caused the financial crisis that led to the need for regulation. They wish to be free. Free from government meddling in their fiscal gambling (but not free from getting bailed out if their bets don't pay off.) They long for the days of George W. Bush, when the huddled masses in the country clubs back east could truly yearn to breathe in the sweet air of liberty."