[video] Blankfein: "The entitlements and what people think that they're going to get... they're not going to get it"
[I'm embedding this video even though it's hosed; I tried it to times and it's not Blankfein but Gaza. Maybe CBS will fix it. But you can read the transcript below.]
Golden Sacks CEO Lloyd Blankfein interviewed by a fawning CBS:
An interview with Lloyd Blankfein is as rare as a look inside the Goldman Sachs money machine. He showed us one of seven trading floors at his Manhattan headquarters [where the lights were kept on while the rest of New York went dark in Hurricane Sandy, an apt metaphor]. Goldman is one of America's most successful investment banks. It had net earnings of $4.4 billion dollars last year. When we asked Blankfein how to reduce the federal budget deficit, he went straight for the subject politicians don't want to talk about.
BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations -- the entitlements and what people think that they're going to get, because it's not going to -- they're not going to get it.
PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?
BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. ... So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
PELLEY: Because we can't afford them going forward?
BLANKFEIN: Because we can't afford them.
But we can afford $17 trillion in bailouts, and we can afford to lend to the banks at zero percent so they can lend back to us at loanshark rates. Alrighty, then.
Now, to be fair, which I always try to be, Blankfein appears to genuinely believe he's not destroying
the "safety net" social insurance, and doesn't want to do that, because (reading between the lines) the consequence would be social unrest. He's right on the second, wrong on the first.
And now, a moment back in time:
The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for Main Street, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”
“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”
Couple of things:
1. Obama supports Blankfein.
2. People who Obama support Blankfein, and they do so not only because Obama looks good with his shirt off, but because they, too, believe what Blankfein believes.
NOTE A big big hat tip to Alexa not only for following this discussion, but for inventing the editorial fomula I just adopted!