Eric Cantor’s own days in Congress may be in the past, but the former U.S. Republican House Majority Leader never really left the Washington scene.
Now a vice chairman of U.S. investment bank Moelis, Mr. Cantor serves as a lobbyist for Wall Street and remains an advocate for the conservative Republican Party’s views on financial reform. He is also helping the Republicans with fund-raising activities ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.
Mr. Cantor stopped by Germany’s financial capital recently for an annual luncheon of the Frankfurt Union International Club. In an interview with Handelsblatt, he had plenty to say not just about U.S. politics, but the state of the global financial sector.
Handelsblatt: Mr Cantor, is the general public in the U.S. still as angry with the banks as when the financial crisis began?
Eric Cantor: After the start of the financial crisis, the Occupy Wall Street protest movement significantly influenced the president, the Democratic Party and its policies. The Republican majority in the Senate and in Congress concentrates on offering the American people better opportunities in life. Everyone must have the chance to get right to the top. This should also be the message from the presidential candidate in next year’s election.
Does that mean investment bankers are no longer criticized as strongly as they were shortly after the outbreak of the crisis in 2008?
At the moment a lot of people in business who are successful are facing criticism. Sure, there are large wealth gaps among the population. That’s something we need to address. But the best way to go about that is if every individual has a good chance of attaining prosperity.
Will social mobility be the top issue in the U.S. elections next year?
It will be important, but there are other issues. The election will have a much stronger focus on foreign policy than the last two campaign periods. It will be about problems such as the violent conflicts in Syria, problems that the Obama administration is not attempting to solve.
Could you imagine being part of the government after the election – as Secretary of the Treasury, for example?