Some of the major “buzz” amongst Washington insiders and the national media these days is about a so-called “moderate” group of Democrats who are eschewing extremists on the left of the Democratic Party and making ready to make the “hard choices” on the budget deficit. This relatively new organization is called the Third Way. Since this group is just one more power-elite and Wall Street front group, you can translate “hard choices” to mean “cut the budget deficit on the backs of the middle class by reducing Social Security and Medicare benefits. “Extremist” can be translated to mean any Democrat unwilling to buy into the mean spirited Simpson/Bowles recommendations, e.g. Representative Jan Schakowsky, Senator Sherrod Brown, and all other progressives in the Democratic Party.
Democrats associated with this “let’s whack Social Security” wing of the Democratic Party includes a smattering of rather moderate Democrats plus some very conservative current and past office holders. Past office holders include Blanche Lincoln, Mark Pryor, and our very own Kathleen Sibelius. Current office holders associated with the Third Way include Claire McCaskill, James Clyburn, Kay Hagen, John Dingell, Chris Coons and others.
I can’t find any evidence that these Democrats display much interest in reining in the defense budget or restructuring the tax system in such a manner that it is not rigged against the middle classes. Perhaps that has something to do with the Third Way Board of Trustees – almost all of whom come from Wall Street. The following is the list of the Third Way Board of Trustees:
· John L. Vogelstein: Chairman, New Providence Asset Management, LLC and Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus, LLC
· Bernard L. Schwartz: Chairman & CEO of BLS Investments, LLC. Mr. Schwartz retired in 2006 after 34 years as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Office of Loral Space & Communications Inc. (NASBAQ:LORL)
· David Heller: Global Head of Equity Trading for Goldman Sachs.
· Dwight Anderson: a Principal and Portfolio Manager of Ospraie Management, LLC, an $8billion investment firm focused on four investment strategies in the basic industry and commodities sectors – hedge fund, private equity, incubation/seeding and long only.
· Georgette Bennett: Sociologist, criminologist, and journalist
· Jonathan Cowan: a co-founder of Third Way, has served as a high level bureaucrat in the Clinton administration. With funding from the anti-Social Security billionaire Peter Peterson, founded a Social Security benefits reduction group called Lead or Leave
· Lewis Cullman: Founder and President of Cullman Ventures, Inc.
· John Dyson: Chairman of Millbrook Capital Management, Inc. (MCM) – A hedge fund.
· Robert Dyson: Chairman and CEO of Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp., a privately owned, diversified invest holding company that was founded by his father Charles H. Dyson in 1954.
· Brian Frank: Director and Portfolio Manager at MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm founded by Michael Dell.
· Michael Goldberg: Joined Kelso & Company in 1991 as a Partner and Managing Director. Prior to joining the firm, he spent two years as a Managing Director and co-head of the mergers & acquisitions department at The First Boston Corporation.
· Peter Joseph: Managing Director of Palladium (investment firm).
· General Claudia Kennedy: First woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the U.S. Army.
· Derek Kirkland: Managing Director and Co-Head of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Morgan Stanley’s Financial Institutions Group in Investment Banking
· Reynold Levy: President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
· Daniel Loeb: CEO of Third Point (investment firm). Prior to founding Third Point, Mr. Loeb was Vice President of High Yield sales at Citigroup.
· Thurgood Marshall, Jr.: A Partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, and a Principal of Bingham Consulting Group (lobbyist for Wall Street)
· Herbert Miller: former CEO and Chairman of The Mills Corporation, one of America’s most innovative and successful mall developers and managers
· Michael Novogratz: President and Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC (spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs)
· Andrew Parmentier: Founding and Managing Partner of Height Analytics (has worked in the financial services industry since 1997)
· David Roberts: Senior Managing Director of Angelo, Gordon & Co. (manages the firm’s private equity and special situations area)
· Howard Rossman: President and Founder of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc, and a Vice Chairman of its parent, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc.
· Tim Sweeney: President and CEO of the Denver-based Gill Foundation
· Ted Trimpa: Lawyer active in conservative wing of the Democratic Party
· Barbara Manfrey: Specialist in venture capital and specialized equity investing. A past Partner of Apax Partners & Co. Ventures, a leading worldwide venture capital firm
· Joseph Zimlich: Chief Executive Officer of Bohemian Companies, a group of family-owned real estate and private equity holdings.