Thursday, May 7, 2009

So Let's Raise Hell

Wall Street Died And Went to Heaven
Rodney Spoilt, a charmer and a cheat, went broke one day when several of his buncos blew up in his face. No problemo. He went to fabulously rich uncle Chauncey Cashcow and took out a “loan” to tide him over. Don’t worry, Unc said, there’s plenty more where that came from. So just go about your business, whatever it may be. And don’t forget to quaff plenty of La Tache and Margaux while you’re at it.
That’s the Vanity Fair version of the happy circumstances on Wall Street at the moment. Whatever pecuniary problems you may have, rest assured that you don’t have to worry a whit about the masters of the universe. They’ve attained nirvana. There has never been a more perfect time on the planet for the big buck boys.
The government gives them gobs of money. They invest some and keep the rest. How much? No one’s really counting. If the investments pay, they keep the proceeds. If they tank, the government covers their losses and gives them more spondulicks with which to speculate.
This ‘crisis” stopgap is supposed to be “regulated” at some time in the future. But then again it may not be--at least, not seriously so. Some Dems and virtually all Reps believe that the free market goose must be indulged, even if it now devours golden eggs instead of laying them. To do otherwise would be “socialistic.”
So it’s like Bonnie and Clyde being told that they will no longer have to rob banks because an ATM will be reserved for them to make withdrawals whenever the fancy strikes.
They say the great unwashed are seething at this scheme. Every poll and survey rates the great bank bailout as about as popular as swine flu. But Barack Obama, the guy who approved it, still tops the hit parade of politicians. And there are naught but scattered protests out in the heartland. When do folks really start putting their (dearth of) money where their mouth is?
A Depression baby, I was raised on tales of people who were poor but politicized. Their activism was the sunlight glinting through the gray clouds of misery. Everyone was marching, picketing, sitting in, throwing rent parties, planting veggie gardens, joining movements. When families were dispossessed hundreds showed up to defy the sheriff and move the furniture back into the house. It was all very social, if not to say socialistic.
Now it seems everyone is having their own private little depression alone at home. The jobless and foreclosed are mistakenly blaming themselves instead of the system. Or they think a rising stock market is a sign of recovery. Or they’re hoping that Obama, Geithner, Summers, Goldman and Sachs will make everything okay again. Or, worst of all, they’re paying attention to yahoo magpies like Beck, Limbaugh and Hannity who will only lead them deeper into the slough of stupidity. Come on, people. The least you can do is rent the Grapes of Wrath and get a bit worked up.