Did you see the reporting Think Progress did on the secret Koch meeting between industry leaders and conservative reporters/think tankers that broke last week? Great stuff.
“Understanding and Addressing Threats to American Free Enterprise and Prosperity” is the name of the event that was hosted, and the event material (pdf) argues: “‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’ That question was posed by a member of our network of business and philanthropic leaders, who are dedicated to defending our free society. We cannot rely on politicians to do so, so it is up to us to combat what is now the greatest assault on American freedom and prosperity in our lifetimes.”
The event was from June 26th to June 28th, and the political battle at that point was the reconciliation of the financial reform bills. The night before, June 25th, was the compromise on Section 716, the derivatives spin-out rule. Around June 21st the Durbin interchange amendment reached agreement. I’d really like to hear from those who spoke at the event, Tim Carney above all, whether or not the financial reform battle was spoke of as a the road to serfdom event, if getting resolution authority, a streamlined set of consumer regulations, derivatives reform and trying to remove conflicts in the securitization process was part of “the greatest assault on American freedom and prosperity in our lifetimes.”
Because Tim Carney, reflecting on speaking at the event, looked out onto the audience and thought “These businessmen, as far as I could tell, mostly owned their own businesses.” I’m looking at the guest list, and I’m seeing that it is roughly 25% bankers and financial elite. There are individuals from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, so a cool $55 billion dollars of TARP money (plus whatever is going on at the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities) is sitting out in the audience watching Tim and other speakers argue that the financial reform bill…what?
Regardless of your thoughts on Dodd-Frank, the status-quo couldn’t have been more favorable to the concentration of power in the financial sector. Fighting for the status quo seemed to be what many conservatives were doing, arguing against Dodd-Frank without providing an alternative other than “let’s do 2008 again but this time let the economy collapse. Trust us, everything could have gotten through bankruptcy in two weeks.”
Attendance By Sector
But anyway, the Think Progress had a list of the attendees at the bottom of their post, and most had an “Industry” classification. The “Industry” classification was added by Think Progress, and a random sampling by me to Google shows that it is accurate.
I wanted to see how the attendance broke down by sector. To start, I removed those I’d consider non-industry and instead in the ideas/advocacy/writing area. That includes people without any industry affiliation, and people with the industry affiliation of: Media, Non-For-Profit, Think-Tank, Advocacy, Policy Analyst, Government, Lobbyist.
Next, scanning the list, I broke the industries into six sectors. Here are the sectors, along with what industries went with each in my spreadsheet:
Financial: Banking, Finance, Financial Services, Investment, Investment Banking, Investment Services, Real Estate, Auto Sales (32 total)
Energy: Coal, Energy, Fuel Oil, Koch Industries, Natural Gas, Oil (34 total)
Health Care: Biomed, Insurance, Health Care, Research/Development (7 total)
Manufacturing: Manufacturing, Manufacturing/Services, Shipping/Commerce, Chemicals and Manufacturing, Goods, Goods/Manufacturing (16 total)
Retail/Services: Goods/Services, Retail, Services, Restauranteur (13 total)
Other: Advertising, Attorney, Business, Education, Consultant, Construction, Technology. (18 total)
Not perfect. Should Koch Industries be considered a financial firm? I kept each industry to only one sector. And here is their representation at the meeting:
That’s a lot of people from the financial sector, especially given how much energy was centered around fighting Wall Street Reform on the right over 2009-2010, and presumably overturning it and weakening it will be on the agenda in 2011. I broke down the financial sector into a few categories, though mind you there is going to be huge overlap between banking/finance/investments. I just wanted to see how Real Estate does among representation:
As I wanted to mention about Bob Perry, GOP Donor, Real Estate is really represented among this group. Almost 25%! That is what jumped out at me the most. Good luck getting serious zoning, housing subsidies, etc. reform through the conservative movement in the next decade.
There’s also more people from energy, and making sure any type of mechanism for pricing pollution was defeated during the summer of 2010 had to be a the front of the discussion and planning. It’s worth noting that energy as a sector had a really great run under Bush. We discussed here, in a thread I really want to investigate more, that starting after 2000, we radically accelerated the amount of private fixed asset investment in oil and gas extraction in the United States. Here’s a graph from that post:
What jumps out at you from the invitation list?