Goldman Sachs’ Stock and Political Influence Are Both on the Rise

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38812-goldman-sachs-stock-influence-in-trump-administration-both-on-the-rise

Gary Cohn, the longtime second-in-command of Goldman Sachs and President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for director of the National Economic Council, at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, on December 13, 2016. (Photo: Sam Hodgson / The New York Times) President-elect Donald Trump has yet to provide tangible assurances that he won’t use the presidency to boost his personal profits. Meanwhile, one major American bank, which doesn’t have to provide such assurances, is already cashing in "big league" on Trump’s win last month — an event followed by high-profile government appointments for executives of the firm. Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs has seen its stock prices ascend by 33 percent since Election Day, and is responsible for the lion’s share of the gains on the Dow Jones Industrial Average over that time. As The Hill noted on Tuesday, Goldman alone accounted for nearly a quarter of the 1,700 points the Dow has climbed since Trump’s election. The Dow is an index of stock prices from 30 major American companies. Markets have reacted favorably to the ascendance of a billionaire real estate mogul and businessman to the White House. And Trump’s appointments of notable bankers, businessmen, and billionaires lent credence to the hopeful thinking coming from corporate America — particularly at Goldman. Three former members of the investment bank have been tapped to join the Trump administration. Goldman’s president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn was picked to lead the incoming president’s National Economic Council. Steve Mnuchin, who worked at Goldman for almost two decades, was nominated to be Treasury Secretary. Trump’s closest White House adviser, meanwhile, will be Steve Bannon — another Goldman alumnus. Goldman’s rising profitability could provide political fodder to Democrats that have, so far, been unable to tie the President-elect to the extremely unpopular banking class. According to a June survey by Edison Research, and released on the National Public Radio show Marketplace, a majority of Americans think Wall Street is harmful. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said the big banks do more to hurt the lives of citizens than help. Those negative views held across party affiliations with 61 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans accusing Wall Street of doing more harm than good. A separate Gallup poll in June found that only 27 percent of Americans have confidence in banks. Donald Trump made use of this distrust throughout the Presidential campaign — during both the primary and the general. Amid the Republican contest, for example, he made much of the ties of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Goldman — via Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and a senatorial campaign loan from the bank that Cruz forgot to disclose. "Was there another loan that Ted Cruz FORGOT to file," Trump tweeted in January. "Goldman Sachs owns him, he will do anything they demand." And after Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed Hillary Clinton, Trump tweeted that it was "like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs." A free, independent press is essential in times like this. Support a news source you can trust — click here to donate and help Truthout keep publishing in 2017.

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