Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Not Over Her Head

A very credible and accomplished journalist on the matter of business economics:
It's probably overhyped only slightly. Dayen was referring to the leaked transcript of internal Facebook meetings of July, when Mark Zuckerberg remarked

So there might be a political movement where people are angry at the tech companies or are worried about concentration or worried about different issues and worried that they’re not being handled well. That doesn’t mean that, even if there’s anger and that you have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies ... I mean, if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. I mean, that’s not the position that you want to be in when you’re, you know, I mean … it’s like, we care about our country and want to work with our government and do good things. But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.

If Mark Zuckerberg is wary (as he should be) of a Warren presidency, he has plenty of company. Less than a week ago, CNBC reported

Some big bank executives and hedge fund managers have been stunned by Warren’s ascent, and they are primed to resist her.

“They will not support her. It would be like shutting down their industry,” an executive at one of the nation’s largest banks told CNBC, also speaking on condition of anonymity. This person said Warren’s policies could be worse for Wall Street than those of President Barack Obama, who signed the Dodd-Frank bank regulation bill in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.

Given that the Administration's motto of "look forward, not backward" on torture was reflected in its approach to the financial services industry, it must take a real sense of entitlement for Wall Street professionals to complain about Obama's policies. Moreover, stock prices rose 182% while Obama was president, more than during any other recent president other than Bill Clinton.


The business community’s unease about Warren’s candidacy has surged in tandem with her campaign’s momentum. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said earlier this month that he’s heard from Wall Street executives that they believe Warren has “got to be stopped.”
A couple of months ago, when it appeared that Joe Biden's main rival for the Democratic nomination was Bernie Sanders, no such panic publicly arose among major executives in the financial industry. Perhaps they did not see Sanders as much of a threat to Biden or the media ignored their concern about the Vermont senator.

Still, the remarks of Harry Reid, who as Senate Majority Leader recruited Elizabeth Warren as a member of the board overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, suggest that the former bankruptcy law professor from Oklahoma by way of Harvard University knows a thing or two about business and economics. A few weeks ago, Alex Thompson in Politico Magazine noted

“One thing about her conversations with Summers and with Geithner, they couldn’t talk over her head,” says Reid, adding that Summers, a former Treasury secretary and president of Harvard University, wasn’t used to that. “I met with Summers many, many times and, frankly, he talked about a lot of things I didn’t quite comprehend. But with her, that wasn’t the case.”

It's critical that the business titans the next Democratic president must confront understand that they are not playing exclusively on their own turf, that the President has the knowledge and background to stand face-to-face with them. Of Elizabeth Warren, there can be no doubt.

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