If anyone tells you they don’t understand the anger at Wall Street, point them in the direction of Josh Brown at The Reformed Broker. Here’s a taste of Josh Brown’s thinking, excerpted from an interview with American Public Media:
In 2008, the American people were told that if they didn’t bail out the banks, their way of life would never be the same. In no uncertain terms, our leaders told us anything short of saving these insolvent banks would result in a depression to the American public. We had to do it!
At our darkest hour we gave these banks every single thing they asked for. We allowed investment banks to borrow money at zero percent interest rate, directly from the Fed. We gave them taxpayer cash right onto their balance sheets. We allowed them to suspend account rules and pretend that the toxic sludge they were carrying was worth 100 cents on the dollar. Anything to stave off insolvency. We left thousands of executives in place at these firms. Nobody went to jail, not a single perp walk. I can’t even think of a single example of someone being fired. People resigned with full benefits and pensions, as though it were a job well done.
The American taxpayer kicked in over a trillion dollars to help make all of this happen. But the banks didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The banks didn’t seize this opportunity, this second chance to re-enter society as a constructive agent of commerce. Instead, they went back to business as usual. With $20 billion in bonuses paid during 2009. Another $20 billion in bonuses paid in 2010. And they did this with the profits they earned from zero percent interest rates that actually acted as a tax on the rest of the economy.
Instead of coming back and working with this economy to get back on its feet, they hired lobbyists by the dozen to fight tooth and nail against any efforts whatsoever to bring common sense regulation to the financial industry. Instead of coming back and working with the people, they hired an army of robosigners to process millions of foreclosures. In many cases, without even having the proper paperwork to evict the homeowners. Instead, the banks announced layoffs in the tens of thousands, so that executives at the top of the pile could maintain their outrageous levels of compensation.
We bailed out Wall Street to avoid Depression, but three years later, millions of Americans are in a living hell. This is why they’re enraged, this why they’re assembling, this is why they hate you. Why for the first time in 50 years, the people are coming out in the streets and they’re saying, “Enough.”
This short explanation is so full of common sense that I can’t understand why “common sense conservatives” aren’t jumping on the #OWS bandwagon (snark); although Eric Cantor has started to change his tune just a wee bit. Do these folks really posses absolutely no emotional intelligence whatsoever? No wonder the titans of business and industry keep replacing human workers with computers, machines and robots; that, and there’s no pesky healthcare plan to drain profits. Though, sadly for them, even machinery requires upgrades, maintenance and repair.
Winning Progressive suggests that we Occupy Wall Street, and the Voting Booth. Here’s my two cents: In addition to the financial reforms that are sorely needed, I’d like to see the Occupy Movement supporting a nationwide, paper-trailed voting system. Thanks to the Help America Vote Act, our democracy is hackable. Anyone else think that the owners of the companies that manufacture our voting machines might have an agenda?
(Hat tip to Dependable Renegade)