Joseph Stiglitz couldn’t believe his ears. Here they were in the White House, with President Bill Clinton asking the chiefs of the US Treasury for guidance on the life and death of America’s economy, when the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers turns to his boss, Secretary Robert Rubin, and says, “What would Goldman think of that?”I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that nothing much has changed. Obama has met with the bankers about the shutdown, and Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein assures us that he and his colleagues will be
Then, at another meeting, Summers said it again: What would Goldman think? A shocked Stiglitz, then Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, told me he'd turned to Summers, and asked if Summers thought it appropriate to decide US economic policy based on “what Goldman thought.” As opposed to say, the facts, or say, the needs of the American public, you know, all that stuff that we heard in Cabinet meetings on The West Wing.
Summers looked at Stiglitz like Stiglitz was some kind of naive fool who’d read too many civics books.
He said Wall Street could help end the standoff, saying the executives “can have an influence. CEOs around the country can have an influence. I think it’s important for them to recognize that this is going to have a profound impact on our economy and their bottom lines, their employees and their shareholders.”. (Hat tip: Sideshow )