October 11th, 2013
08:18 PM ET

On GPS Sunday: Why is U.S. so polarized? And Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

On GPS this Sunday: Why is Washington so polarized? And what can be done about it? Fareed speaks with three experts: American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and Vanessa Williamson, co-author of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

Also, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein discusses the economy, globalization, and inequality in America.

And in our What in the World segment: Advantage China, as U.S. President Obama misses two big summits in Asia as the stalemate in Washington continued. Could China teach the U.S. a thing or two about dealing with problems responsibly?

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Topics: GPS Show • Politics • United States

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Cathy

    Zones economies, not globalization. Globalization doesn´t work, because there are cultural differences, various interests, conflicts, non-solveable problems, ... that´s why we need to thing about zones economy and alliances. No, China, is certainly not in NATO interest and should not be in US interest.

    October 12, 2013 at 4:56 am |
    • Sciebnce

      But China owns US debt ?

      October 12, 2013 at 6:47 am |
    • ✠RZ✠

      Very well Chaty, and although your perspective might warrant some consideration, Bubba would obviously strongly disagree with you on the issue of trade. And one can only imagine what the Walton's and all their customers might say if you pulled the plug on all this right about now. Not gonna happen. In fact, if you go back a ways, about the only thing that was allowed to pass congress all year was another free trade deal. So of anything, it's still full speed ahead.

      October 12, 2013 at 9:39 am |
      • ✠RZ✠

        ' my bad. Sorry, that should be Cathy.

        October 12, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  2. ✠RZ✠

    I'd like to pose the same question and challenge to Lord Blankfeinship there that I put to Obama back in 2008 regarding "short sale". Why is it not outlawed?!? Clearly, the short sale cannot possibly represent any part of the reasoning for having equity markets in the first place. It is a means to take undue advantage by those having no interest in the welfare of a corporation and much to the chagrin of it's real investors, and further more only facilitates the enormous derivative and hedge fund market. And let's not mention the tax implications, lest I be droned or something.

    October 12, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Steve

      Studies suggest allowing short sales reduces market volatility and increases liquidity.

      October 15, 2013 at 4:42 am |
      • ✠RZ✠

        And so too would a study show that a straw hut provides resistance against a tsunami.

        October 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  3. rightospeak

    The US is polarized because of Thought Police, censorship of the media and blatant propaganda which keeps people in the dark as to the reality that the bankers run this country and NOT for the benefit of Americans.

    October 12, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  4. Paula

    First of all, Mr. Zakaria, why do you have people like Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon on your program pontificating about the state of our economy without challenging them on their role in its near destruction?! And to ask Blankfein to comment on the increase in income inequality without mentioning the role that the banking crisis has played in the redistribution of wealth from the middle and working class to the wealthy is irresponsible and dishonest journalism. I wish you had asked him one simple question when he was going on about "people who make things that others want to buy"–Ok, Lloyd–please tell us what YOU make that qualifies you as one of the "winners?" Mortgage backed securities? Credit default swaps? Because of bankster fraud (his "core business"?), he and his fellow banksters have made millions at the expense of the working people who are paying for government rescue of the banks, without "making" one thing of value. It is very sad and so disappointing to see the level of "journalism" that exists on mainstream t.v. these days.

    October 13, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Satch99

      Thank you Paula,

      You are 100% correct!

      October 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Nancyrm

    One of the experts in this panel commented at the end that because Obamacare was passed when the Democrats were in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, the Republicans were not invested in this legislation and this is a big part of why they are trying to overturn it. In practice, the bill that was passed is overly complicated, helps only a segment of the population get health insurance, and is basically to no one's liking, precisely because it is a product of massive compromises. These compromises were mainly aimed at accommodating the insurance and health care industries, which have "ties" to both parties. The opposing sides who didn't get what they wanted are progressives who wanted a single payer system, and right wing extremists. The right wing extremists aren't mad because the health care bill doesn't reflect their "input" but because it EXISTS. If Republicans had controlled the House when Obamacare was being considered, the result would not be a different bill, but no bill at all.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Paula

      Absolutely correct–but the fact that those kind of baseless comments are made without any attempt to refute them with the simple facts you cite is just another example of the less than stellar job done by most of the mainstream news programs in our country, not just GPS.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Bruce

      My thoughts exactly. Also, with respect to the lame "parliamentary" analogy, what about civil rights legislation, Medicare, Social Security? Are we to assume, if Blankfein's hypothesis is correct, that these too were the result of unfortunate "parliamentary" excesses? Just a clever man doing a verbal tap dance–which is what he is paid to do. The CGI folks provide the world stage for the powerful to pontificate as if it's gospel and the mainstream press eats it up. Is there any wonder audiences turn to the Internet, even with it's potential credibility issues?

      October 13, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  6. PS

    Lloyd demonstrated the hubris of the Big Banks/Investment Firms when responding about questions of Occupy Wall Street by saying Lessons were given, instead of answering the question about what he has learned. This guy has a long over due Perp walk coming. After Goldman was bailed out by the American taxpayers...that is true hubris!

    October 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  7. Cary

    Very disappointing indeed that Zacharia felt he was unable to challenge Blankfein's bold lie that "this is the first time in his lifetime that the U.S. had a 'parliamentary' system."

    Power in the U.S. government has been dominated by his side – Republicans – particularly the 108th and 109th Congress – when they passed Bush tax cuts and other lop-sided laws.

    Blankfein is one of the chief benefactors of those changes, so now he deceitfully does not recall how Congress cut the revenue to a mere 68% of the expenditures (worse if you exclude Social Security and Medicare, financed separately) and created huge deficits to benefit people like him.

    Journalism that does not speak truth to power is no journalism at all.

    October 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  8. Barb in Arizona

    Lloyd Blankfein misses the point about job inequality. American companies award executive compensation at a high ratio to the lowest paid employee. The rate began at 156 times the lowest wage earner in the company in 1979; today the rate is 362 times. Switzerland reports that their rate escalated in the last twenty years, from 1998, a ratio of 14 times to the current level of 93 times, but the Swiss voted on a 2012 referendum allowing investors “say on pay” with binding agreements and limiting pay to 12 times. What doesn't this happen in the U.S.? What makes the value of the CEO exceed their lowest paid employee of making a decent living?

    October 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  9. Donna

    Shame for not suggesting to Lord Blankfein that his answer to the question about growing inequality was inaccurate. And shame for not mentioning the fact that lack of manufacturing is not simply the reason there is growing inequality. And Lord Blankfein was allowed to deflect the idea of income inequality to Africa.

    There is income inequality in the United States because executives pay themselves enormous salaries, Congress doesn't want to raise the minimum wage, and the notion of "corporate citizenship" should include more than the idea that corporations pick and choose which philanthropies they support. Corporate citizenship should ensure that their employees are paid living wages and receive benefits.

    You allowed a representative of Goldman Sachs, who cheated their clients and helped wreck our economy, to laugh at the people's movement, Occupy Wall Street, as if it were a joke. People being unemployed, being underrepresented by their Congress, being pushed to the end of our nation's priorities again and again isn't a laughing matter. I'm outraged.

    October 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  10. Robert Malone

    GPS Editors:

    The most revealing difference between CEO's who run American corporations (Llyod Blankfein) and CEO's who run corporations in Ireland came when Fareed asked the question about rising income inequality. Blankfein went into 'empty' speak by talking about philanthropy as though to address the disastrous gulf between Middle Class incomes and his and his cronies incomes, as though talking about regulations and tax structures that stop the hemorrhaging of wealth from the bottom to the top, was the same as asking for a handout. While the Irish CEO (??? apologies to him) spoke about listening to the people of Ireland.

    Now one may just be a more interested liar than the other but Blankfein does not even care to engage in the debate. Here is a smug arrogant lout (I will use the term 'lout') who should be rotting in a dark cell somewhere for pulling off the biggest bank heist in human history and then mocking the taxpayers who restuffed his vaults with their own hard earned cash and instead he is running Goldman Sachs. What we know about American CEO's and huge corporations is that they have been allowed to rewrite the laws and the tax code so they have all the money and if any of it comes back to the Middle Class it will be in the form of dribbles and drabs of philanthropy. Blankfein is mistaken about that. His protection is dissolving in the Repulbican House.

    October 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  11. mark w debacco

    I caught.the GPS show today and fareed's discussion with the.panel of ceo's. In general I was appauled by the cavalier.and callus discussions about the occupy wall street movement and the grand canyon that is .the growing income inequality gap. I was particularly angered by Mr blankfein's callous remarks about winners and losers. The 1 percent will soon discover how the 99 percent supports the 1 percent.and make the lives of the 1 percent possible. It is time for 100 percent to share in the wealth made.possible by the 99 percent.

    October 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  12. Tim Doorey

    I usually enjoy GPS for its informed commentary and intelligent discussion. However, today I was very uncomfortable and saddened to see a "journalist" and commentator of Fareed Zakaria's stature cozy up and giggle with powerful people like the Goldman Sachs CEO who have been extremely reckless, greedy and clearly lack remorse for the tremendous damage they have done to the world economy and the lives of millions. We have learned nothing from 2008, and with a dysfunctional political system and a fifth estate so pliant and compromised, we are doomed to repeat those mistakes. No wonder the electorate is so cynical.

    October 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  13. j. von hettlingen

    Compared to the shutdown in 1995, the US today is much more polarised. Back then Newt Gingrich seemed to have more backbone than today's John Boehner and Bill Clinton had no problem to reach out to his opponents. Indeed today's situation has much to do with the Tea Baggers' personal resentment towards Obama and he senses that.

    October 14, 2013 at 5:50 am |
  14. Robert Goodman

    A bright man of strong opinions and weak character allows a thug like Blankfein to roll right over him. We did not, as Blankfein blandly asserted, choose higher unemployment. Had not an obstructionist minority in congress rendered an adequate stimulus impossible, unemployment would bevlower, revenues higher and growth more robust.

    Moreover the only grand bargain that is necessary is an adjustment of the tax code including a FICA tax extension to higher incomes. Social security benefits for the vast majority of its recipients should be higher not lower Medicare costs could be reduced by changes to the rules forbidding the agency to bargain with drug companies and by changes to the outrageous patent monopolies that our business owned congress grants, and by active regulation of hospital.

    Zakaria'sbelief that successful brigands deserve to be listened to is pathetic. It suggests that he shares their values.

    October 14, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  15. Bob

    Congress out of control, corporations running the white house and the US. The old ones let the government, steal their so social security out from under them. and remove their pensions. And let the the manufacturing moved to other counties. plus the tax that the US puts on its people never stop growing and place's un-realistic burdens on the voters. The voters had better stand up for your self's. Its time to go to war and take control of congress. And remove and outlaw all lobbyist from the US government!

    October 14, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  16. Suzanne Douglass

    I'm afraid I share the extreme disappointment in Fareed's deferential treatment of Blankfein. His comments actually sent chills down my spine. There is no milk of human kindness on that man and he should have been called on it. Who chose unemployment? His buddies running big business at the insistence of investment bankers like him, paying their measly 15% tax rates and getting Platinum plus healthcare. I'll bet a family of 4 or 5 could live for a year on what Blankfein paid for his dental implants (maybe longer)! And could eat for a week on what he pays for his daily tonsorial services. What a ridiculous schmuck he is with that facial hair. Lloyd, get a life and get a heart....

    October 14, 2013 at 3:53 pm |

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