Another Wall Street titan speaks out against socialism.
One day after JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon attacked socialism in his annual shareholder letter, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr and the former head of AIG, said he is “very much opposed to” the idealism that is increasingly embraced by some Democratic Party members and young people across the country.
“I'm not for socialism, in any form,” the 93-year-old insurance legend told reporters on the sidelines of the C100 Annual Conference in New York on Friday. “Look at Venezuela. Broke. It is the wrong strategy for the economy.”
With the largest oil reserves in the world, the Latin American country has seen its crude output plummet during the two-decade-long socialist "Bolivarian Revolution”. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has put the military in charge of the oil industry. Greenberg added that Russia’s experiment with socialism didn’t pan out very well, either.
He criticized young Americans for calling for democratic socialism values, but did not name prominent advocates of it including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Many young people who're Democrats politically, don't understand what socialism really means, and what the impact would be on the country and in our lives,” Greenberg said. “The young people want to become a go-to government. Some things they say are bewildering. That’s not what America is about.”
Greenberg is most known for building AIG into a financial-services powerhouse, but he was ousted in March 2005 over civil accounting fraud charges, before AIG was rescued by the U.S. government during the financial crisis. Greenberg has embarked on a decade-long legal battle with the New York Attorney General and recently launched another fight to take down the Marin Act.
While opposing socialism, Greenberg praised the way President Donald Trump manages the economy.
“Trump has done a great deal economically with the United States. Our growth has been very good overall. It's too early to tell yet how successful it will be,” Greenberg said, adding that measures like the tax cuts are providing short-term relief. “Overall I give him pretty good grades on how we manage the economy.”
“So don't toy with socialism. The country is doing very well,” Greenberg said. “Stick with what's working now, not what you think would work.”
Krystal Hu covers technology and China for Yahoo Finance. Write to her via firstname.lastname@example.org