In an impressive rant at a Senate hearing this afternoon, Thom Tillis somehow managed to cite Ayn Rand and go on a tirade against the demonization of Goldman Sachs, citing their apparent commitment to employing “the little guy,” the Huffington post reported.
“I feel like sometimes I’m living a reality TV version of Atlas Shrugged,” Tillis quipped during the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee for chairing the Securities and Exchange Commission. “There are a lot of people in this Congress that want to beat down job creators and employers. People want to demonize Goldman Sachs. That’s an easy thing to do, right? Just beat up on a financial services institution. An institution that’s committed to, let me look at the general numbers here ― they have 36,500 employees. There’s probably a lot of little guys in there. They’ve contributed billions of dollars to nonprofits.”
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s pick is a Wall Street attorney who, as HuffPo previously reported, played a starring role in Goldman’s 2008 bailout.
“Any financial services executive or anybody in a financial services business that
badly needs to suffer the consequences,” he remarked. “But if we just make the American people think that they’re all bad, you are hurting the little guy.”
Tillis bizarrely repeated this “little guy” Goldman Sachs claim a number of times, with no apparent sense of the irony of his own literary citation. As reporter Zach Carter put it,
Still, Tillis’ most grievous error at the hearing was one of literary interpretation. Tillis simply does not understand the book he referenced during his tirade. Atlas Shrugged is a novel about a railroad tycoon who has an affair with a married steel magnate before joining a clan of very bright rich people who go on “strike,” letting society collapse without their talents while they enjoy the ubermensch lifestyle in a peaceful valley.
Atlas Shrugged is not a novel about all the charities supported by good-hearted corporations. Its heroes literally abandon society to chaos and destruction rather than deploy their talents for the public good. Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged, would not have approved of Goldman’s philanthropic work, because she believed all charitable activity fostered weakness and opposed it on principle. She literally wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness, which celebrates people who act in their own interests at the expense of their communities.
It’s not exactly an alien worldview on Wall Street.
Maybe we were better off when Tillis was avoiding, you know, everyone.