Tom Steyer has the exemplar Wall Street resume — Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale undergrad, Stanford MBA, Goldman Sachs, hedge fund magnate.
But these days Steyer — who has an estimated $US1.5 billion fortune — spends his time doing non-billionaire things, like chilling out in San Francisco and driving a hybrid Honda Accord.
More than that, Steyer has been “waging political warfare against climate-change deniers, eco-antagonists, and oil-industry sympathizer,” according to a new profile from Men’s Journal’s Joe Hagan.
Most of the article is about Steyer’s activism against the Keystone Pipeline, but he also had some rather populist things to say about the financial crisis. From Men’s Journal:
When I bring up the controversial role of Goldman Sachs in the 2008 financial crisis, when then treasury secretary Hank Paulson, a former Goldman CEO and a pal of Steyer’s, appeared to favour his old firm during the multibillion-dollar bailout, inspiring the 99 per cent backlash, Steyer admits that his former employer “got deferential access and deferential outcomes, and that anybody who doesn’t get that is a f–king idiot.”
It’s a surprising populist outburst coming from a former Goldman Sachs man. But in the same breath, Steyer says Paulson did a good job and, all things considered, everything worked out pretty well for the U.S. economy. And anyway, “that’s the power of finance in the world,” he says, shrugging. “You’re fighting city hall.”
It’s a more candid response than you’ll hear from a lot of people on Wall Street.