Guess which President has raked in the most Wall Street bucks in a generation?

posted at 11:25 am on October 10, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

While the professional Left trashes Wall Street, they might want to consider how their current President got elected.  The Sunlight Foundation reports that Barack Obama didn’t just win the Wall Street sweepstakes in 2008 over John McCain — he’s done better at getting Wall Street cash than any other President in the last 20 years:

Despite his rhetorical attacks on Wall Street, a study by the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Project shows that President Barack Obama has received more money from Wall Street than any other politician over the past 20 years, including former President George W. Bush.

In 2008, Wall Street’s largesse accounted for 20 percent of Obama’s total take, according to Reuters. …

By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.

Goldman Sachs contributed slightly over $1 million to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, compared with a little over $394,600 to the 2004 Bush campaign. Citigroup gave $736,771 to Obama in 2008, compared with $320,820 to Bush in 2004. Executives and others connected with the Swiss bank UBS AG donated $539,424 to Obama’s 2008 campaign, compared with $416,950 to Bush in 2004. And JP Morgan Chase gave Obama’s campaign $808,799 in 2008, but did not show up among Bush’s top donors in 2004, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That’s not limited to the 2008 cycle, either.  The same people under attack from Obama’s political allies are still lining up to dump cash on the incumbent — or at least were:

So far Wall Street has raised $7.2 million in the current electoral cycle for President Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama’s 2012 Wall Street bundlers include people like Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs CEO and former New Jersey governor; Azita Raji, a former investment banker for JP Morgan; and Charles Myers, an executive with the investment bank Evercore Partners.

Those figures predate Obama’s sudden class-warrior pose of the last four weeks, though.  After watching Obama incite these demonstrations aimed at intimidating investors and financiers, I wonder just how anxious they will be to continue funding Obama’s campaign.  That impact won’t be clear until the 4th quarter numbers are released in January, but don’t be surprised if all of these “Occupy” protests don’t push those contributors towards an eventual Republican nominee — or maybe even a particular contender, perhaps one that comes from their world.  Hmmmm.

In my maiden column for The Fiscal Times, I look at the eruption of class warfare in American politics and the irony of a generation shaped by Steve Jobs attacking the very investor market and private-property rights that made Jobs’ success possible:

As we honor Jobs, there is no small irony in the fact that Wall Street protests are coinciding with his death. Jobs was hardly a financial wallflower: Besides his extensive holdings in and control of Apple (part of a fortune estimated at more than $6.5 billion to $7 billion by Forbes), he was the largest individual shareholder in Disney, thanks to the sale of Pixar a few years ago, and a member of its board as well. It’s likely that a large number of the youthful protesters in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations rely on products Jobs either invented or improved; many might even be using iPhones and iPads to help coordinate their efforts. None of that would have been possible without capital risk-taking and Wall Street investment in Apple, among other companies.

Think of the world before Jobs, before a handful of bright young minds began exploring the potential of small, relatively inexpensive computing. Communication meant either writing letters or picking up a phone – with service largely provided by a national monopoly. Having access to research materials meant buying an encyclopedia and subscribing to yearbooks for updates to already obsolete data, or spending plenty of time at the local library. News from around the world came to most people either from the only major newspaper in town or one of three national broadcast networks. Social networking meant going to cocktail parties and company events.

Compared with today, that sounds positively medieval, doesn’t it? …

Contrast the explosive success of personal computing, which lacked heavy government direction, to that of solar and wind power. Federal and state governments have subsidized and regulated these industries for decades, and they have deliberately handicapped other traditional energy-production technologies to make the renewables more competitive. According to Reason Magazine, each megawatt-hour of energy produced by wind and solar power in 2007 was delivered via more than $20 ofgovernment subsidies, as opposed to $2 for nuclear power and a dollar or less for coal and oil – most of those in the form of tax incentives rather than direct subsidies.

With all of that effort over several decades, are we closer to mass-produced solar and wind power? Have these industries even matured to the point of producing jobs? The industries that Jobs, Gates, and their colleagues created through private-sector innovation based on technological success employ millions of people around the world. In 2009, President Obama got $38.6 billion in job-stimulus funding to create a “green jobs” explosion that would also employ millions. Thirty months later, we have spent $17.2 billion of those funds, and created less than 3,600 jobs, roughly at a cost of $4.85 million per position.

Capital markets drive innovation, create and expand industries, and can rapidly improve our lives — if we keep government out of the way, and certainly out of the position of distorting markets to favor losers over productive use of capital and especially redistributive policies. As Wall Street has learned, three years of accelerated redistribution didn’t satisfy the Left — it only drove them to demand more of it. Time to end the war on capital by defunding the anti-capitalists.

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