This morning I was listening to a discussion on NPR. Tom Ashbrook kept asking callers whether Occupy Wall Street was this year’s answer to the Tea Party — sort of the other side acting up.
But I was particularly interested in what one of the callers said about a me-too “Occupy Wall Street” demonstration he’d witnessed in Nashville. He said he saw Tea Partiers participating, “in absolute accord with the message, that it’s not about Republicans or Democrats, it’s about corruption…,” referring to the “criminal activity on Wall Street,” which he (the caller) says caused him to lose so much of the value of his home.
One of the guests on the show observed that left or right, the growing objection appears to be with bigness — big gummint, big business, big media.
Yep. Populism is populism, when you scrape off all the external trappings. To a certain extent, anyway.
I don’t think the Occupiers I’ve heard–I caught most of Tom Ashbrook–are upset with bigness, except when they are told an institution is too big to fail, but that their unemployment benefits are being paid despite their being offered to come back from a layoff—which is not true, Jim DeMint. Little people are being hurt, true, but c’mon–there’s a real problem here with “too big to fail”–I agree that the institutions were too big to fail, but THEY MUST BE REGULATED thoroughly if this is so!
Yeah, I’m still confused about that. If they were “too big to fail,” how come they were failing.
OK, I’m being slightly facetious. But hey, the newspaper industry used to be pretty big. But when it started failing, it just went ahead and failed. So, that’s my frame of reference.
And we actually produced something every day. Instead of just moving money around. Or moving around vague concepts that represented moving money around. Or traded in things that referred to moving around vague concepts that represented, in theory, money. In the abstract.
I like people who have no understanding of their own culpablity. It’s us – there is no them here.
@ Brad — The newspaper industry has not failed yet, and it is hardly the economic driver that these financial institutions are.
@Mark– High finance is an area that requires a lot more brainpower and education than many voters have, and those who have it are insufficiently numerous to change things and/or not adversely affected by it. A lot of this problem happened back in the 80s with all the measures taken to insulate management from the shareholders, and to oppose them, you had to be aware and have a dog in the fight, pretty much. Too many people drank the free-market Kool Aid — I even bought into it to a great extent–without adequate awareness of the consequences such as distributional inequities and market swings, or deluding themselves that they were immune from them, or with adequate capital to insulate themselves from them.
Most of the people who understand enough about the situation have no motivation to correct it. Instead,they exploit it.
When I see “nexus” mentioned in a title, I think of Star Trek “Generations” when Captain Picard meets Captain Kirk to defeat Soran.
The Sarbanes-Oxley legislation was a result of the Enron meltdown. Some things have not changed: Greed will always be greed. I hope that something can be done about the financial collaspe, but Congress can’t legislate against folly. After all, those in DC are idiots!
It’s all a question of one’s number – what they think they need to live.
Wall Street does a yeoman’s job of convincing people that they are bound in golden handcuffs. Whatever one takes home is thought to be never enough – even when it’s 10, 20 or 30 times a Senator’s income.
Wall Street fears a riot of the people far more than negative legislation; most of the people who rake it in are very aware that in different circumstances their livelihood would be nothing like what they have fallen into – brains, education and will aside.
When I lived in Chicago in the 80s, there were a fair number of former commodities traders who took the money and ran, retiring at 30 or so. I don’t know if there are Wall Street types who do so in any number.
What I do know is that until enough people who have the brainpower and education to comprehend what’s going on, and who do not like what’s going on, pay attention and speak out, we will continue to have bread and circuses (I’m looking at top five baseball movies here) for the masses, while the rich get richer.