On Thursday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo appeared as a guest and recounted some of President Obama's anti-business, anti-wealthy stands as she informed host Joe Scarborough and the panel why some see Obama as anti-business despite his support of bailouts on Wall Street. Responding to Scarborough's declaration that "there has been a redistribution of wealth since Barack Obama has ... been President, it’s the largest redistribution of wealth in the history of mankind, but it’s gone from main street to Wall Street. If I were a Wall Street banker, I’d love this guy," Bartiromo responded:
No, I mean, I don’t see it that way. ... I think that at the end of the day, there has been a feeling out there that he’s anti-business, that there are higher taxes on business and they’re coming, even higher taxes are coming on business and on the wealthiest individuals and the highest earners, so that hasn’t changed.
After Scarborough persisted, Bartimoro added:
No, I don’t see it that way because I think that he is still attacking high earners and big business in other ways, so, I mean, I think that he’s still wanting a bigger bite in terms of ownership of business, whether it’s financial services, whether it’s health care, other areas, and I also think that he’s attacking big bonuses and putting taxes on it, so I don’t see it that way. I think, yeah, he’s got to figure out a way to somehow backpedal away from this to keep those donors in place, but I don’t think the ideology has changed at all.
Earlier in the show, during a discussion with the New York Observer's Joe Conason about President Obama's recent attempts to make nice with Wall Street, Scarborough had described Obama's policies as not "taking from the rich and giving to the poor," but rather the opposite:
JOE CONASON, NEW YORK OBSERVER: Well, because he’s not a radical or a socialist, despite all the propaganda.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, socialists usually take from the rich and give to the poor. He’s taking from the middle class and giving it to the big banks. As Jon Stewart said, "If he’s a socialist, he’s a dyslexic socialist."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Thursday, February 11, Morning Joe on MSNBC:
MIKE BRZEZINSKI: Anticipating backlash from those comments, the White House has quickly issued a statement. A spokesman says the full extent of the interview shows the President’s commitment to change the culture on Wall Street by allowing shareholders more say over executive compensation. And I also want to say, you know, somebody ought to just look at the people receiving these bonuses and giving them because that’s just, I mean, you know, how much do these people need, seriously?
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The President, it seems to me, the President has struck the right tone now after that initial statement because I think most Americans – and, Joe, I think you’d even agree with me – most Americans don’t want the federal government telling-
SCARBOROUGH: -a company you can give this much of a bonus, but you can’t, but if they require these huge corporations to empower their shareholders like they do in other countries to determine, they can set, let the shareholders set the salaries.
CONASON: Right, you notice in other countries we don’t have these disparities.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. If I’m a shareholder of Goldman-Sachs and I think that this guy has done a great job, and they come to me and say let’s give him a $20 million bonus, we have the debate, well, what if we don’t give him the bonus?
CONASON: Right, will he go somewhere else?
SCARBOROUGH: He goes somewhere else, right. So, but let’s empower the shareholders, and I think the President’s got it right here.
CONASON: He does, and, but there’s another factor, Joe. As you know, this is all complicated by the federal government’s virtual ownership of some of these companies and its subsidies to them or their counterparties over the past couple of years. This is not a simply, you know, well, we don’t want to control corporations and not let them pay big bonuses.
CONASON: We, there is a culture on Wall Street that’s a cowboy culture, and I think the President has said rightly that it needs to be reined in because it’s a danger to everybody, and then they expect us to bail them out. So this is the context of these remarks.
SCARBOROUGH: And I’ve got to say I think there are a lot of bankers on Wall Street even that understand that it’s a cowboy culture down there.
CONASON: Undoubtedly, undoubtedly.
SCARBOROUGH: We’ve had, and again, I just have to keep saying this for my conservative brethren that say, well, let’s not step in now – a crash in ‘87, a crash in ‘98, ‘99, 2000, you had Enron in 2001, WorldCom in 2002, Fannie and Freddie in ‘03 and ‘04, and then the bottom fell out of the entire system in ‘08, don’t tell, I mean, if you don’t want to go in and take an aggressive stand against that type of cowboy culture, then you are not a conservative, you’re a radical.
SCARBOROUGH: And, again, if we empower the shareholders who have a stake in this thing because, Joe, like you said, they don’t have these disparities in other countries across Europe.
CONASON: No, European corporations don’t see these kinds of disparities with these bad incentives for the management. Management is much more reined in in those countries, and it’s one of the reasons why they haven’t tanked as badly as we have.
SCARBOROUGH: And the reason for that, Mika, is, again, they allow their shareholders to be empowered and make these decisions.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: The dirty little secret about Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, it was funded in large part by Wall Street.
JOE CONASON, NEW YORK OBSERVER: Absolutely.
SCARBOROUGH: He got a lot more money from Wall Street than Republicans did.
CONASON: But that’s because the Republicans had gone so far off the rails, Joe. I mean, you know, nominating Sarah Palin for Vice President just made people-
SCARBOROUGH: Right, but I’m explaining, though-
CONASON: -who worry about, you know, responsible government think, hey, we can’t have this, you know.
SCARBOROUGH: Right, but I’m explaining why Barack Obama is sort of trying to play with Wall Street while acting tough against Wall Street.
CONASON: Well, because he’s not a radical or a socialist, despite all the propaganda.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, socialists usually take from the rich and give to the poor. He’s taking from the middle class and giving it to the big banks. As Jon Stewart said, "If he’s a socialist, he’s a dyslexic socialist."
JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, Mika, let me tell you what’s going on here. I’ve been hearing from Wall Street, well, and this has been going on. I’ve been hearing from Wall Street for some time, people that have voted Democratic, people that were huge Barack Obama supporters, that they’re not going to support him again. And they see him as an enemy of free enterprise, they see him as an enemy of big business, and so they’ve been actively looking for another vehicle.
The dirty little secret of this change campaign and this hope campaign, is the fact that Barack Obama got more campaign cash from Wall Street, from hedge fund guys, from these moneyed interests than any other candidate in the history of U.S. politics. And so, Maria-
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Are you seeing a connection between this story and that?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, yes, and, in fact, Maria, I"ve been asking myself, well, how’s the President going to turn, because they know that what fueled that campaign – he raised $650 million, more than Bush and Kerry combined – what fueled that campaign in large part was Wall Street money, was Goldman-Sachs money, was J.P. Morgan money, was hedge fund money. And I knew he had to make the turn at some time. I just didn’t know he would make it-
MARIA BARTIROMO: I don’t view this as a 360-degree turn. I think that there are ideologies in place-
SCARBOROUGH: No, but he’s playing, he’s paying, though, to the street-
BARTIROMO: Yeah. No, for sure, I mean, I agree he’s got to find some way to make these people happy so that they do give him the money again because there are a lot of people on Wall Street and in business increasingly that have said to me actually, "I don’t know that I would vote the same today given the fact that we did not expect he was so much to the left, and we did not expect that there was going to be such a big bite in business." I mean, that’s a fact. There are a lot of people out there who have said-
SCARBOROUGH: But herein lies the problem: Wall Street’s angry with him because they think he’s a socialist. Main street’s angry with Barack Obama because they think he’s taken all of their money and given it to Wall Street. This guy’s getting hit from both sides.
BARTIROMO: Yeah, but, you now what, I would, I would not write off the class warfare because I think it continues. I think there are ideologies in place that there is a feeling that redistribution of wealth will continue throughout this presidency. And that’s the bottom line. So, yeah, he can try and back out of it, but I think it’s going to be very difficult.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Maria, the redistribution, as our friend, Andrew Ross Sorken, with the New York Times, and the author of Too Big to Fail, said, he said, yes, there has been a redistribution of wealth since Barack Obama has been running for President, been President, it’s the largest redistribution of wealth in the history of mankind, but it’s gone from main street to Wall Street. If I were a Wall Street banker, I’d love this guy. I get to gamble with Americans’ money, I made billions over the past year, and, you know, he’s sort of timid, now he’s saying you can keep your bonuses.
BARTIROMO: No, I mean, I don’t see it that way. I don’t see it that, you know, if I’m a Wall Street guy I would love this guy. I mean, I think that at the end of the day, there has been a feeling out there that he’s anti-business, that there are higher taxes on business and they’re coming, even higher taxes are coming on business and on the wealthiest individuals and the highest earners, so that hasn’t changed. He has to figure out a way to back out of such a strong position so that he does keep those people in his corner as far as money-raising is concerned. I don’t think this was the beginning of it because I don’t think it’s an actual change at all.
SCARBOROUGH: I’m trying to understand because you work down on Wall Street every day and you understand this better than do I. I understand that people have been running around screaming, "Socialist, socialist, socialist," in Barack Obama’s general direction. And, my God, you know every morning I come out here and say I don’t like his economic policies, but if I’ m on Wall Street, I would like the fact that this guy continued the policies of George W. Bush on the bailouts. So don’t they? Doesn’t he get any credit for taking all of that money from main street and shuttling it to Wall Street and basically saying we’re going to take care of you, whatever you need you got?
BARTIROMO: No, I don’t see it that way because I think that he is still attacking high earners and big business in other ways, so, I mean, I think that he’s still wanting a bigger bite in terms of ownership of business, whether it’s financial services, whether it’s health care, other areas, and I also think that he’s attacking big bonuses and putting taxes on it, so I don’t see it that way. I think, yeah, he’s got to figure out a way to somehow backpedal away from this to keep those donors in place, but I don’t think the ideology has changed at all.