Inspiration For Hollywood’s Gordon Gekko Picks Unlikely Presidential Candidate

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Former corporate raider and inspiration for Oliver Stone’s iconic fictional Wall Street kingpin Gordon Gekko announced his support of Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.

Asher Edelman rose to notoriety in the early 1980s as one of the first corporate raiders, among the company of Carl Icahn, Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken — the latter two were eventually sent to prison for stock fraud and also served as partial-inspirations for Michael Douglas’s Gekko in the movie “Wall Street.”

Edelman, who poured his profits into an expensive art collection and lost much of his net worth over the last decade, says Sanders is the “straight forward” pick for the presidency from an economic standpoint, reports The Daily Beast.

Edelman explained in a CNBC appearance Wednesday that Sanders understands how the American economic system needs to change to best protect consumers and get banks lending to the public.

“Bernie is the only person out there who I think is talking at all about fiscal stimulation and banking rules that will make the banks begin to talk about lending again as opposed to speculation,” Edelman told CNBC. “From an economic point of view, it’s straightforward.”

In the 1980s, Edelman used capital to initiate hostile takeovers of corporations, at which point he would liquidate various aspects of the company for big profits. During his heyday, he even taught a course at Columbia University called, “Corporate Raiding–The Art of War,” and used Sun Tzu’s classic, a favorite of Gekko’s in “Wall Street,” as the course textbook.

The decades have apparently changed him, as the former corporate raider no longer seems enchanted with Gekko’s famous mantra “greed is good,” opting instead for Sanders’ wealth-critical policies. (RELATED: Study: Average American Will Lose Staggering Amount Of Cash Under Sanders’s Tax Plan)

Sanders faces ongoing criticism over his economic agenda, which would cost at least $14 trillion over the next decade. Economists note that taxes would go up for everyone, particularly upper income earners, to pay for programs like free college tuition and social security expansion. Some experts warn that Sanders’ plan would risk economic growth by spiking the top marginal income tax rate to roughly 67 percent to pay for growth in social security, reports The Economist.

Edelman argues the wealthy spend far less of their income than an average middle class consumer, meaning money needs to be redistributed through policies toward the middle class.

“If you look at something called velocity of money – that means how much gets spent and turns around – when you have the top 1 percent getting money, they spend 5, 10 percent of what they earn,” Edelman said on CNBC. “When you have the lower half of the economy, they spend 100 or 110 percent of what they earn.”

That is certainly a break from his former career actions and with the character of Gekko, who famously said in “Wall Street,” “Greed, in all of its forms – greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge – has marked the upward surge of mankind.”

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