Gasparino’s Gossip Column

Charlie Gasparino really wants you to know that Wall Street executives are “nervous” and “feel betrayed” by Barack Obama.

Is that a tiny violin I hear warming up somewheres?

Yesterday, Gasparino tossed off a thin diatribe against the administration’s supposed “big government,” “class warfare,” and “wild-eyed redistribution of wealth.” Okay, it’s a column in the New York Post, but… huh?

It’s always odd to hear rants about the poor rich, especially when they pay the same rate of taxes as the other 99 percent of earners. That is: including all taxes, including Social Security, Medicare, state and local, the top 1 percent pay 30.9 percent of their income in taxes, according to the liberal Citizens for Tax Justice. The bottom 99 percent pays 29.4 percent. Even the lowest-earning fifth of workers pay about 19 percent of their earnings in taxes.

Needless to say, 19 percent is a whole lot more meaningful to someone making $12,000 a year than 31 percent is for someone making $1.45 million.

More problematic journalistically, the only sources here are anonymous Wall Street execs who say they’ve talked to Tim Geithner and Larry Summers and claim the two say they’re being ignored by Obama on spending and that the president is relying primarily on Valerie Jarrett for economic matters. This would be a big story if it were true, but this column just doesn’t have the goods.

Gasparino goes on to praise Robert Rubin. Really. No mention that Rubin played a critical role in enabling the financial crisis.

This Street gossip reminded me of another Gasparino Wall-Street’s a-skeered column, this one back in March. He wrote then that stocks were tanking because Obama was “scaring Wall Street.”

Some of the same keywords are there, too, including “class warfare” and it also had dubious sourcing (emphasis mine):

Thanks to all the class warfare produced by his boss, I’m told, Geithner can’t find qualified people from Wall Street (the folks who know markets better than anyone else) to help solve the crisis. Instead, one saddened Obama supporter from Wall Street told me, “He’s looking at a combination of bureaucrats and academics for these jobs”…

Maybe that’s why, as the president on Tuesday urged people to buy stocks because a bottom was near, the market kept going down all day.

Well, then. I’m told that four days later the Dow kicked off its current 49 percent bull run. The economy only declined 0.7 percent in the second quarter and is widely expected to grow sharply in the third, arguably due to administration moves, at least in part.

Point is, anonymous Wall Street CEO’s aren’t the most credible of sources.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.