Senator Marco Rubio has been meeting with some Wall Street big shots – Stephen Schwarzman, Henry Kravis, and top execs at Goldman Sachs — in an effort, according to Politico, “to lock down some of Wall Street’s biggest donors ahead of the 2016 presidential race.” I don’t know what Rubio told them, but the WSJ’s Peggy Noonan suggested that he and other potential GOP 2016ers preach of message of free-market populism:
“I’m going to steer this party away from Wall Street and toward what used to be called Main Street and doesn’t have a name anymore. Our economy won’t take off again until our pigsty of a tax code is cleaned up. People have to feel everyone’s being treated fairly, that the rich aren’t calling the shots and gaming the system. And all future growth could be stymied if you guys make a half-trillion-dollar wrong bet tomorrow because some trader in London was high as a kite on Ambien. That could bring down the system the way it crashed in ’08. So we have to change the system. Too big to fail is too big to live.”
I suppose among the policies that would reinforce such messaging would be a) busting up the biggest banks via some combo of size caps, restructuring, vastly higher equity levels, b) a transaction tax-corporate tax cut swap to deal with high-frequency trading, c) curtailing the tax inducement for excessive financial leverage by scaling back the interest expense deduction.
Make no mistake, this would be a radical departure from the standard GOP financial reform menu. No idea if Rubio has an interest or not. But the Politico piece reminds that pay-to-play rules would hamper Chris Christie and Bobby Jindal in raising Wall Street cash should they run. Perhaps they could turn that liability into an opportunity for some policy creativity.