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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

Marty Bannon did all the right things, mostly. He raised five children, lived modestly, worked hard, and bought as much stock in his employer, AT&T, as he could. When AT&T’s stock price plunged in the 2008 economic meltdown, Bannon sold at a loss of more than $100,000, he said.

The stock was then selling for about $29 a share. It’s now around $42. A big mistake bailing out, Bannon admits.

But where was Steve Bannon — his big shot son, a former Goldman Sachs banker and now political adviser to Donald Trump — when he unloaded his life savings at the bottom of the market? Apparently not calling home and saying, “Dad, don’t sell your stock now.” Or the younger Bannon could have sent him the popular essay written in October 2008 by investment guru Warren Buffett. It was titled “Buy American. I Am.”

Instead, Steve Bannon exploited his father’s financial trauma to sell his doctrine of economic nationalism — a mishmash of emotions that blames everyone but oneself.

“The only net worth my father had beside his tiny little house was that AT&T stock,” Steve Bannon told The Wall Street Journal with customary melodrama. “And nobody is held accountable?” He added, “Everything since then has come from there. All of it.”

But actually, immigrants, Muslims, and China did not create the debacle. An orgy of financial speculation fed by deregulation did.

It happens that AT&T also did nothing wrong. It was a solid company caught in the downdraft of a crashing stock market.

Back at the Trump administration, a fourth Goldman alumnus has just been nominated to help oversee the nation’s money. These financiers are not exactly hot to preserve the more recent post-crisis regulations — much less hold anyone accountable for the pain that inevitably follows the loosening of Wall Street’s reins. They also don’t care much for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which shelters ordinary Americans from the financial industry’s worst abuses.

Trump just nominated David Malpass to a prominent position in the Treasury Department. A big supporter of privatizing Social Security in the George W. Bush years, Malpass later served as chief economist at Bear Stearns in the years leading up to the investment bank’s collapse in 2008.

Almost every investor, big or small, lost money in the stock market meltdown. Small investors like Marty Bannon are known for panic selling when stock prices swoon. It is also their habit to buy when prices are high, like now.

Retail investors are believed to be behind the recent stock market gains, according to a report by Bloomberg. The big institutional investors, meanwhile, are backing away. “You can thank the little guy for Dow 20,000,” Bloomberg notes.

It was no coincidence that Bush pushed his plan to let workers divert some of their Social Security taxes into stocks during a market rally. Even back then, some asked how the regular folk would handle it once the stock prices went south. Bush essentially said, “Don’t worry. We won’t let them put the money in risky investments.” It would go into solid, conservative companies — AT&T, for instance.

The public is generally not sophisticated on matters of personal finance. That’s the best reason for leaving Social Security alone as a boring but dependable financial backstop for the American people. Those who choose to invest are usually advised to stick with mutual funds, after checking out the fees they charge.

There’s really nothing in the Bannon program that would make America great again for the little guy. Rather, it’s to make the little guy angry at the wrong people, preferably foreigners. These are diversion tactics. The Marty Bannons of America deserve better.

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13 responses to “Steve Bannon Failed His Father, Not AT&T”

  1. ray says:

    Marty Bannon deserves a better son.

    • The lucky one says:

      Everyone does, well maybe not everyone, from all reports Fred Trump produced pretty much a clone of himself, a greedy narcissist.

  2. dbtheonly says:

    Doesn’t Bannon believe in personal responsibility? Who is responsible for his dad selling at the bottom of the market? Who ought to be responsible?

    • FireBaron says:

      He only believes in personal responsibility when it isn’t related to his own family

      • mary5920 says:

        My boss’ dad also did these kinds of rotten investments for years under the advice of his financial advisor (who was a hard right drumpf supporter) The dad would not listen when my boss tried to help him and suggested that he was being exploited by this guy.
        Don’t know much about Bannon’s dad but he could be just as thick headed as the son. We don’t really know.

        • dbtheonly says:

          But AT&T wasn’t a bad investment. It, like everything else had a rough couple of years.

          Disclosure: it’s the largest individual holding in my retirement account.

          Bannon pere, gave into his fears and sold at an extremely bad time. The article suggests that Bannon fil should have been able to prevent this and had a moral duty to do so. How does one pull that off?

          Do you read the article the same way?

          • mary5920 says:

            I see your point. I was trying to say that sometimes the dad won’t listen to advice. We don’t know whether Steve Bannon tried to help his dad negotiate the market. A lot of people do panic selling. If the dad is anything like his son though, he’s nuts.

  3. Steve Bannon betrayed the trust of his parents by the time he was in college. Not content with being blessed with material wealth, exposure to a good education and the finer things life has to offer, and being raised by parents who struggled so that he might live in comfort, Steve decided to be embrace the darkest element a human being could latch on to—racism, and a godless ambition centered around money.
    Given that toxic exposure, little wonder he represents many of the worst qualities any human could have, aside from going on a methodical quest to kill others.

    • mary5920 says:

      That’s a good summary of the situation. I just got a phone call from an old friend. We have so many good memories of working in a spiritual communal living organization and did service in poor communities (and lived in many) Now this group was not affiliated with the Catholic church, and embraced the motto: Uniting All Faiths. We read the Baghavad Gita, the Koran, and other scriptures and attended services of many, looking at the common thread in each. The sermon on the mount pretty much summarizes the real gold to be found in them all.

      Our call was quite good and we didn’t talk politics because she was dealing with the passing on of her ex husband and father of two of her children. Looking at her facebook page later, I find that she’s returned to her hard right, Catholic ideology though. Grew up as a Navy brat, Irish Catholic, always Republican, and still embraces Cardinal Ratzinger as the true expression of Catholic theology. Abortion is their one and only issue. I do wonder if they’ve ever thought about what happens if they manage to criminalize the procedure once again. I doubt it.

      • Thank you. Mary. I hope you’re able to meet people who have a focus on helping all people regardless of background.

        Being a Baha’i since high school, after my father had become a Baha’i while I was a sophomore, I learned of the Baha’i Faith in Jackson, Miss.

        At that time, Jackson, and the entire state, were at the epicenter of racial turmoil, along with Selma and Birmingham. But there was a group of people, black and white, who were Baha’is and who bucked the trend of Jim Crow without fanfare—just being regular people who met together on a regular basis at a time when interracial gatherings weren’t approved, and could result in injury, or worse.

        But they weren’t deterred. I’ve been a Baha’i ever since, traveling to various countries to meet other Baha’is working to overcome barriers of race, gender prejudice, tribal rivalries, and religious differences. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Baha’is and their friends in Liberia, Nigeria, Brazil, Canada, Oman, and different states in the US.

        I invite you to check out this world-wide community whose activities are centered around the axis of “The Oneness of Humankind”.
        (www.bahai.org)

        My next trip is to visit Cork at the end of May, as a tourist, just to soak up the culture and vibes of the Irish people.

    • dpaano says:

      Someone needs to handcuff him and drag him screaming and hollering out of the Oval Office and AWAY from our already unqualified minority president!

  4. Bill Thompson says:

    Be aware of the direction many want to follow. The father of the “alt right”, the brains in the White House, Steve Bannon’s model must be rejected at all costs. Bannons abrasive brilliance was demonstrated at every stop in his career. His extensive college career, the Navy, Goldman Sachs merger expert , entertainment industry financier, Extreme right wing documentary screenwriter and his leadership at Breitbart news, “the platform of the alt right”. He described himself as a “Leninist”, that wants to ” bring everything crashing down”. His enemies are the establishment, the press, “crony capitalism” and the current world order. Comments like “the press is the enemy of the people” derives its Pedigree straight out of the totalitarian play book. His recent comments at CPAC should send chills down anybody’s spine. “The deconstruction of the administrative state”,(absolutely unbelievable) which explains the majority of the current cabinet appointees. I described them as antimatter. Going back to Star Trek days anytime matter and antimatter touch it results in a nuclear like explosion. Anyone that has listened to this man speak in the past, understands he wants to return the country to a time before FDR. An isolationist society and world order . In other words a white, European, Christian theocracy (Catholics need not apply) where all people compete for survival. No labor rules, no environmental rules, no minimum standards, no school standards, no corporate standards, survival of the fittest. No social security, no Medicare, no Medicaid, it won’t be sold as such, it will be delivered under the guise of preservation. Which will inevitably lead to a system that will allow it to “wither on the vine” as Newt Gingrich once said. A true oligarchy, a return of the robber barons, while holding the Bible in one hand with the flag draped around oneself. Images of this history are well documented. Beware of people that will exploit the discontent of the times. The methods described above work because of the precariousness of the average persons future. Inequality, globalization, tribalism, Powerlessness. And the constant barrage of seemingly democratic failures throughout the world to keep up with digital disruption.

  5. Frank Pig says:

    Investing always has some risk but buying quality stocks and holding them for a long time is still the best advice to give. Warren Buffett has made billions doing just that.
    I have been an investor for 40 years and have followed that strategy and have done very well over time. It is important though to never invest with money you need in the short term as evidenced by the 2008 stock market drop. The smart people bought when everyone else sold.
    You have to believe in America.

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