Former Goldman Sachs employee, TARP overseer, and treasury employee during the Bush administration turned investment banker takes to the Washington Post to lecture the little people on entitlement spending:
The fiscal crisis in Europe has awoken Americans to the enormous challenge we face from entitlements. The promises our country has made over the past few decades, combined with changing demographics and rising costs, have put us on a path to national insolvency. Unless we control our deficits we will face stifled economic growth and impaired standards of living, perhaps even as soon as a few years from now. Most economists agree that raising taxes cannot pay for these commitments; entitlements must be cut. Before we can embrace any reform proposals, however, we must understand the influence our culture has on our decision making.
A nation’s culture can have a profound impact on its competitiveness. Our shared beliefs in free markets, fair play and the rule of law inspire entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and give global investors confidence to bring their money to America. These beliefs have passed from citizen to citizen, from generation to generation. They have strengthened over our history and brought an important competitive edge to the United States.
Our belief in free markets is founded on the idea that each individual acting in his or her self-interest will lead to a superior outcome for the whole. The financial crisis has reminded us that free markets are not perfect — but they do allocate capital better than any other system we know. A “me first” mentality usually makes markets more efficient.
But this “me first” mentality can also lead to shortsighted political decision making. Most Americans agree that we need more energy from clean sources, such as wind power — until someone proposes installing a transmission line near their homes. Most people are against earmarks — unless it is their representative scoring money for their district.
Got it? The genius of the free market is that it only really works when those at the top have a “me first” attitude and give themselves massive bonuses while railing against the inheritance tax and paying nothing in taxes because of our current tax system (capital gains). When you folks look forward to 300 bucks every couple of weeks from the social security you paid into your entire lives that was spent financing tax cuts for the rich and foriegn wars, then you’re just being selfish.
I seriously hope Neel Kashkari chokes to death on caviar.