Two billionaires, the head of Goldman Sachs and a politician walk into a bar. Actually, this isn’t the start of a joke, but a recent forum on “small business”, sponsored by Goldman and Bloomberg News. Maybe it is a joke, because billionaire bon vivant Michael Bloomberg kicked off the discussion by noting that “the economy is in very good shape.” What color is the sky in Bloomberg’s world?
Actually, that question answers itself, as Bloomberg has already revealed himself to be a disciple of both the climate change and gun control cults. In his remarks below, Bloomberg outs himself as a high-priest of the cult believing that the Fed printing press is strengthening the economy.
Two of Bloomberg’s fellow panelists, Lloyd Blankenfein and Warren Buffett, would no doubt agree with him. According to the Federal Reserve itself, families at the highest end of the income curve enjoyed significant gains over the past three years while the rest of America lost ground. The stock market has hit new highs, because even fictional money has to go somewhere. The prices of luxury assets soar, even as the number of Americans with full-time jobs reaches historic lows.
Perhaps the most bizarre point in the exchange is the discussion Blankenfein and Bloomberg have about “potato chips” and “pickles.” Bloomberg’s point is something about how technology is great and important, but we still need these snack items and their availability is the sign of a strong economy. Or, something. As I said, it is bizarre.
The three plutocrats are joined in their discussion by a politician. In this case, GOP MI Gov. Rick Synder, who is locked in a competitive reelection campaign. Politicians love to wax lyrically about “small business,” but the insights 2.5 billionaires would have on the subject is surely limited. Even this is probably overly charitable if their remarks are premised on the idea that the economy is “very strong.”
Earlier this year, Brookings Institution released a study showing that, for the first time in US history, the number of businesses closing exceeds the number being created. No doubt, pickle and potato chip companies continue to thrive, however.
One has to wonder, what exactly is Synder doing on this panel? He is wearing the requisite politician’s uniform, i.e. blue-oxford button-down and blue blazer. The rest of the politician’s manual seems to have done missing from his nightstand, though. Appearing with three plutocrats to discuss the strong economy is certainly an odd way to campaign for votes in Michigan. Campaigning in the UP, successful politicians don’t normally use the line, “As I was recently discussing with my friend Mike Bloomberg.”
There really are two Americas. I just never realized one of them had so completely slipped the bands of reality.