Wall Street has long since fallen out of love with Barack Obama. Indeed, the industry is firmly behind the Republican ticket for the 2012 presidential elections in November, with donors from Goldman Sachs, JP Chase, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Credit Suisse as Mitt Romney’s top six campaign contributors in 2012, according to OpenSecrets.
Each bank chipped in around $500,000 in the hope that President Romney would treat them with a bit more respect than they have received from the current president, who hurt their feelings when he called them “fat-cat bankers” on 60 Minutes. There is also the hope that Romney may be more amenable to weakening financial reforms introduced in the wake of the crisis.
However, now that the former Bain Capital executive has revealed Paul Ryan as his running mate, the banks find themselves backing one of the most ideological tickets in recent history.
Ryan, a 42-year-old congressman from Wisconsin, has risen the party ranks by championing a budget plan that promises to eliminate America’s deficit by simultaneously cutting taxes and slashing non-defence spending. Both goals are implausible, even in theory, and rest on questionable assumptions about what will cure the economy.
At the Republican convention in Tampa, Ryan’s landmark speech was ridiculed for its inaccuracies and even Fox News described it as “dazzling, deceiving and distracting”. Ouch.
Ryan loathes debt, which is ironic given that he is running alongside a man who specialised at Bain in using debt to invest for growth — the one thing he will be prohibited from doing as president, if the Republicans are taken at their word.
Do Romney and Ryan really have what it takes to revitalise the US economy and job market? We asked our readers last week, and almost half the respondents said they did not, while 35% said they wouldn’t get the chance.
That is a damning verdict, on the face of it, though the Obama-Biden ticket may not have fared much better on the same question. It may well take more than another term for either party to revitalise the US economy.