Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders has been talking a lot about all of Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street supporters, but Thursday, a true Wall Street insider came out in support of Sanders, specifically his economic policies. But don’t even think about any accusations of hypocrisy, because this endorsement is the kind that comes with no strings attached, which is to say, there was no money involved.
According to US Uncut, Asher Edelman, the man who inspired the character Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, was “feeling the Bern” during an interview on CNBC’s Fast Money. When asked about the current political race and who he would choose to be the next president of the United States, Edelman did not hesitate.
“Bernie Sanders… No question.”
As Sanders has pointed out many times, most recently in the last two Democratic debates with Hillary Clinton, he has no Super PACs, no ties to Wall Street, and has never made a speech to that financial club he often cites as the cause of the worst recession in America since the Great Depression. So why is a man who inspired a character who became synonymous with corporate greed — “greed is good” as Gekko would say — be supporting the candidate with the most progressive agenda and who constantly criticizes Wall Street and the billionaire class?
It turns out Edelman is not a proponent of the “trickle-down” theory of economics, which says that giving tax breaks to the rich will create wealth at the top end of the financial ladder, and that eventually trickles down to the middle class and those in poverty as new jobs and better wages. A lot of Americans might agree and argue that they are still waiting to be “trickled on” since former President Ronald Reagan first proposed this economic structure. But Edelman says the GOP has it all backwards if they want to turn around our economy, citing the principle of “velocity of money,” which he defined as “how much gets spent and turns around.”
“When you have the top one percent getting money, they spend five, ten percent of what they earn. When you have the lower end of the economy getting money, they spend a hundred, or a hundred and ten percent of what they earn. As you’ve had a transfer of wealth to the top, and a transfer of income to the top, you have a shrinking consumer base, basically, and you have a shrinking velocity of money.”
Since Bernie Sanders is the only candidate advocating for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, applying the principle of velocity of money supports Sanders as the best candidate for the American economy. Edelman even went as far as to say that “from and economic point of view, it’s straightforward.”
Edelman was chosen as the inspiration for Gekko due to the businessman’s fame as a Wall Street player, who now has over 30 years in the investment business and is considered one of the “Godfathers of Wall Street.” Yet despite his perspective from corporate America and a corner office on Wall Street, even Edelman cited Sanders as the man who is best suited to get banks in line and stimulate consumer spending again from a purely business perspective without getting into moral issues regarding the poor or working class. Edelman told CNBC that Sanders’ policies are the path forward for what needs to be done to make America stronger financially.
“Bernie is the only person out there who I think is talking at all about both fiscal stimulation and banking rules that will get the banks to begin to generate lending again as opposed to speculation.”
How’s that for Wall Street support? Politics does make for strange bedfellows sometimes, but when the Godfather of Wall Street supports a liberal, progressive candidate like Bernie Sanders on his economic policies, that may be the best endorsement he’s had yet. Apparently, greed isn’t so good, after all.
[Photo by John Gress/Getty Images]