Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE were two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in recent history because no matter who was elected, America was getting a presidential Cabinet filled with millionaires and billionaires rife with conflicts of interest.
Donald Trump’s administration picks thus far have proven his populist campaign founded on “making America great again” for working and middle class Americans was a Trojan horse to further spread oligarchy and continue the pervasive trend of pawning off political power and influence to dubious corporate and wealthy entities, including Goldman Sachs.
Gary Cohn is now Trump’s third Goldman Sachs executive to be offered an administrative position, to head the National Economic Council. Cohn is a former prolific donor to the Democrats before transitioning donations to the GOP a few years ago. When Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonFive takeaways from Arizona's audit results Virginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees MORE was elected in 1992, he also selected a former Goldman Sachs banker for the exact same position, Robert Rubin, who would later serve as Clinton’s Treasury Secretary.
Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Stephen Bannon was appointed as Trump’s chief strategist, and Goldman Sachs partner Steven Mnuchin was nominated for treasury Secretary.
Trump economic adviser Anthony Scaramucci worked for Goldman Sachs as a vice president of wealth management. Overall, Trump’s administration picks have embodied the insider elitist status quo his outsider campaign marketed themselves against.
The tradition of providing Goldman Sachs alums with political power and influence in every newly elected White House administration is being continued by Trump contrary to his rhetoric against Wall Street and Hillary Clinton’s strong ties to it.
One of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE’s top donors was Goldman Sachs, and the Wall Street firm and other big banks unduly influenced in his administration. Former Goldman Sachs employee Elena Kagan was appointed Solicitor General when Obama took office, and she was also speculated as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
From the bailout of the big banks during Obama’s administration, Goldman Sachs received $20 billion in taxpayer cash, which it used to provide their top execs with $5 billion in bonuses during the first few months of 2010.
Obama’s Treasury secretary appointed a former Goldman Sachs chief economist as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Obama’s former chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received $3,000 a month to introduce people to Goldman Sachs while serving as Bill Clinton’s chief fundraiser.
Goldman Sachs partner Gary Gensler was appointed as Obama’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission head. Tom Donilon, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, received $4 million representing Goldman Sachs as an attorney.
Former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson served as George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary. A former deputy secretary of State and U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush, Robert Zoellick served as a managing director for Goldman Sachs before Bush’s appointment. He is currently the chairman of Goldman Sachs’ international advisors. Goldman Sachs bankers were Jeb Bush’s most prolific donors during his failed presidential campaign this past election.
At least 30 ex-government officials are registered as lobbyists for Goldman Sachs, including a staffer of former Congressman Barney Frank, co-author of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Wall Street firms heavily invested in to water down.
“It is amazing to me the degree to which, say, Goldman Sachs is intertwined with the Treasury, and how they’re — there don’t seem to be any independent voices in the thick of the decision-making,” said former Wall Street trader and author of “Liar’s Poker” during an interview with CNN regarding the government’s rescue efforts of Wall Street after the 2008 economic recession they caused:
“The decision-making is all being done by people who one way or another might expect to make a lot of money from Goldman Sachs in the future.”
Goldman Sachs is one of the most heavily invested financial firms in the federal government, whether it manifests in the form of campaign donations, hiring former government officials as lobbyists, or having former employees receive appointments to powerful cabinet positions.
This revolving door is a severe impediment to enacting meaningful financial regulations and reining in Wall Street’s greed and excess because those placed in charge of leading these reforms are deeply imbedded in Goldman Sachs’ World.
Michael Sainato is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian and the Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter @msainat1.
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