Former New York city mayor and billionaire majority owner of Bloomberg LP Michael Bloomberg, speaking with fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, Goldman Sachs chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein, and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, credited "two people from Goldman Sachs" and "my friend, Steve Rattner" with saving the U.S. economy from the financial crisis of 2008. The U.S. economy, Bloomberg said, came back from near-collapse because "two people from Goldman, Hank Paulson and Bob Steel, and Steve Rattner, my friend, and a bunch of others who came to Washington...they saved America."
Bloomberg, who was taking part in a group interview on Bloomberg TV to help promote the Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businessess program in Detroit, also said "it's a cheap shot to be able to go after the banks."
Blankfein, sitting a few feet from Bloomberg, was more measured in discussing government regulation of banks saying "a lot of the regulations and things that are impediments to some extent were very much a demand by people who were hurt in the trauma and wanted to make sure it didn't happen again," but that "the pendulum has probably gone a little too far and we have to readjust." He also called for getting rid of "counterproductive" regulation.
Bloomberg's description of how the U.S. dealt with the financial crisis gives great credit to figures in the Bush and Obama administration who responded to the financial crisis after it had already started. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson left his job as chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs in 2006 to become Secretary of the Treasury.
He shepherded the government's extraordniary efforts to support the financial system, including the government takeover of the government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as convincing Congress to pass the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which made hundreds of billions of dollars of direct investments in banks on the precipice of collapse.
The second Goldman Sachs alumnus was Robert Steel, who was a vice chairman at the investment bank and joined the Treasury as Under Secretary of Domestic Finance and later went on to be CEO of Wachovia before it was bought by Wells Fargo and was later a Deputy Mayor under Michael Bloomberg. Steve Rattner, a private equity investor and longtime Democratic donor, ran the Obama administration's task force on the auto industry and helped oversee General Motors and Chrysler's bankruptcies and reorganizations.
Matthew Zeitlin is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Zeitlin reports on Wall Street and big banks.
Contact Matthew Zeitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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