Obama’s Fair-Weather Foes

Oct 2 2012 @ 3:21pm

Chrystia Freeland has a new article on the anti-Obama super rich. In response, Felix Salmon mulls the finance industry's relationship with the president:

During the 2008 election, Obama received significantly more Wall Street money than McCain, for one very good reason: Wall Street trusted him and his egghead technocrat advisers to do whatever was necessary to prevent their world from imploding. And that’s exactly what they did. Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, and the rest of the Obama economic team threw everything they could at the markets: they were the liquidity provider of last resort, they took that role seriously, and they did exactly what was necessary to save the US — and, for that matter, the global — financial system. McCain, by contrast, never came across as being particularly competent on that front, treating the financial crisis more as an excuse for political stunts than as a serious existential threat.

After 2009, however, Wall Street felt that the crisis was over.

Yes, unemployment was still unacceptably high, growth was unacceptably low, and the real economy was still struggling. But never mind that: Wall Street profits were enormous, corporate profits were hitting record highs, and bonus season was just around the corner. America’s financiers no longer needed Washington to save them from ruin; now all they wanted was for Washington to get out of the way, and to let them prosecute their profit-making strategies as aggressively as they wanted. And they were in no mood for gentle reminders from Washington that if it wasn’t for the public sector they’d all have been wiped out.