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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Romney is Wall Street’s Worst Bet Since the Bet on Subprime'

This is from a much longer Ezra Klein interview of Chrystia Freeland:

‘Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime’, by Ezra Klein: Ezra Klein: You’ve written about the revolt of the very rich against President Obama, and all the money they spent and time they dedicated to defeating him. So what’s the mood in those circles now that they’ve lost?
Chrystia Freeland: There’s a great joke on Wall Street which is that the bet on Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime. But I found the hostility towards Obama astonishing. ... On that Tuesday, the big Romney backers I was talking to were sure he was going to win. They were all flying into Logan Airport for the victory party. There’s this stunned feeling of how could we be so wrong, and a feeling of alienation.
The Romney comments to his donors,... I think they accurately reflected the view of a lot of these money guys. It’s the continuation of this 47 percent idea. They believe that Obama has been shoring up the entitlement society, and if you give enough entitlements to enough people, they’ll vote for you.
EK: Here’s my question about those comments. Romney was promising the very rich either a huge tax cut or, if you believe he would’ve paid for every dime and dollar of his cut, protection from any tax increases. He was promising financiers that he would roll back Dodd-Frank and Sarbanex-Oxley. He was promising current seniors that he wouldn’t touch their benefit. How are these not “gifts”?
CF: Let me be clear that I’m not defending any of them. But I think the way it works — and I think Romney’s comments were very telling in this regard — ...they’re absolutely convinced that they’re not asking for special privileges for themselves. They’re convinced that it just so happens that their self-interest coincides perfectly with the collective interest. That’s where you get this idea of the “job creators”. ... If you’ve developed an ideology that what’s good for you personally also happens to be good for everyone else, that’s quite wonderful because there’s no moral tension. ...
EK: ... From my reporting with the White House, I think the president’s view of the economy is that globalization is here and it’s not going away. The economy rewards high skills more than ever. Automatic and computerization and foreign competition are wiping out many middle class jobs, and while some new ones are created, it’s not at all clear that enough are being created. But in his view, he sees more redistribution as very necessary in this context. He thinks that if the economy is going to grow but the gains won’t be broadly shared, then it’s the government’s role to try and redistribute some, though of course not all, or even most, of those gains.
My experience is that the very rich are open to higher taxes in the context of a deficit deal. ... But they don’t like the idea that their money should be redistributed simply because they have too much of it. They don’t like the idea that, so to speak, they didn’t build all of this, and as such, they need to give back in order to make sure it continues. ... They see it as punishing their success.
CF: I completely agree. ...

    Posted by on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 02:59 PM in Economics, Income Distribution, Politics | Permalink  Comments (67)

          


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