This morning, Politico’s Ben White hosted his second Morning Money Breakfast Briefing, this time live from the Mayflower Hotel with Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs.
The two had an expected chat about the recovering economy, Washington’s role in the marketplace, the “too big to fail” mentality, immigration and a front-page NY Times story published today about Blankfein’s counterpart eying the top job, among other things.
Blankfein said the Times must have run out of Goldman stories to write and that the piece was “just gossip,” adding that he had no intention of leaving the company soon.
Wishing you would have been there? Don’t worry, we got up early to go so you didn’t have to, and here are few things we learned:
— The Mayflower Hotel has excellent coffee
— White and company like to be fashionably late (event was scheduled to start at 8 a.m., White finally took the stage at 8:13 a.m.)
— Blankfein’s first job was selling hot dogs in Yankee Stadium, where he apparently carried a “800 pound” pot of boiling water and hot dogs through the stands.
— White’s favorite word is “um.”
— White’s second favorite word: “uh.”
— Blankfein’s favorite word is volatility.
— You get a free copy of Politico when you go to one of their events.
— Dennis, an economic policy think-tanker who asked a “question” from the crowd, does not appreciate Goldman’s actions in the 2008 financial collapse, and wanted Blankfein to know it (he went on a long-winded rant which, as Blankfein pointed out, didn’t “have any question marks”).
— According to Blankfein, “expertness” is a word.
Blankfein went on to criticize the “anti-compromise” environment in Washington, calling it a “poison” that makes economic recovery more difficult. He added that he thinks governmental paralysis is among the biggest threats to our currently economy, along with China’s “volatile” economy and the financial recovery in Europe.
Scolding the media
Overall, Blankfein was optimistic about the economy and markets, and said that the media should be, too, instead of flooding the public with negative stories. He remarked that the economy is as much a social science as it is a science, and some of the slow recovery can be attributed to public uncertainty. Improving the public sentiment, Blankfein claimed, was a crucial part of growing the economy.
Citing the history of his predecessors, White asked Blankfein about the possibility of him having a career in public service after leaving Goldman Sachs.
“I just really don’t think about it,” Blankfein said. “People think about it on my behalf.”
He added that his current role was so consuming that he doesn’t have time to think about the possibility of entering the public sector, though he suspects that when he’s done at Goldman, he may decide to go that route.