Greg Smith’s New York Times op-ed yesterday — in which he announced his resignation from Goldman Sachs due to the firm’s “toxic and destructive” culture — has garnered lots of reactions. But one of the most curious came this morning from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd that Smith’s op-ed highlights why the government should not have intervened to rescue the American auto industry:
TODD: When you read this op-ed were you getting angry?
AYOTTE: Well, I get angry when I think about bailouts. Bailouts not only for the private sector but also, obviously, for the car companies. I don’t think that’s the right direction for us. And that highlights it, I think that’s what part of the anger was from the Tea Party movement, but also just anger about what’s happening here in Washington with the fiscal state of this country.
For starters, does Ayotte think that the American auto companies were not part of the private sector when they received government aid? But more importantly, does she not recognize the difference between rescuing a vital American manufacturing industry and bailing out banks in order to save the financial system, only to see them go back to the same practices that caused the mess in the first place?
Ayotte’s bizarre connection aside, Smith’s op-ed actually makes the case for the Volcker rule, a restriction on risky trading that’s included in the Dodd-Frank law. The financial industry has been pounding away on the Volcker rule, in an attempt to render it meaningless, which would allow the banks to simply go right back to all the pernicious practices that helped bring the economy to the brink of collapse.