Wall Street Will Soon Become Insignificant to Our Financial Future
“The reality is that the American overclass has just been on the most amazing feeding frenzy for three decades now, to the extent that they’ve simply lost any sense of proportion, whatsoever. The sense of predatory entitlement has become what water is to fish. It is so much a part of their world view that they no longer even have consciousness of it, or any alternative to it, any more than a tuna ever wonders what it might be like to walk on two legs and breathe air.”
— David Michael Green, “Barack Obama and the Altar of Greed,” Common Dreams, March 20, 2009.
With a large majority of the public in the mood to Merrill Lynch the whole obtuse gaggle of scoundrels on Wall Street, current marquee malefactor AIG (American International Group, Inc.) dispatched its ineffectual new Dollar-A-Year CEO Edward Liddy to Washington last week, apparently just to prove he’s vastly overpaid.
While assuring the Congressional committee that he was there solely to serve virtuous honesty and glassine transparency, he found cause to do a Connecticut Yankee’s imitation of a Mafia kingpin by consulting his attorney before responding to certain questions, no doubt to strike just the right tone of forthright candor.
Liddy’s presentation was comically anemic when it wasn’t blandly soporific. He noted he had kindly asked the ruthless dark dead things who inhabit the senior slots at AIG the Servants of Hades that designed the complicated ‘credit swap’ shell game that caused the firm’s collapse to please voluntarily return half of the bonuses they ‘earned’ for turning AIG into a smoking ruin that had to be bailed out by Uncle Sucker. (Yes, that’s right a Million-Dollar Baby would have to pout with a mere $500K to mollify any hurt feelings after burning down the house by playing with matches. In giddy Liddyland, this passes for sanity.)
The new CEO only displayed human emotion when asked to reveal the names of his employees who insouciantly demanded a hefty tip for giving the customer food poisoning that nearly killed him. Breaking a polite patrician sweat, Liddy seemed most concerned that his fellow well-dressed vermin might be hounded by angry rabble with pitchforks, or, worse, subjected to an interview with Jon Stewart, should their identities be known. He even dolefully cited a missive that had come to his attention wherein the author threatened to garrote with piano wire all the top executives at AIG, which undoubtedly struck foreclosed homeowners and those who have real jobs as extreme only in its leniency.
But Liddy is only the latest dense entry in the line of boneheaded mandarins from the well-heeled meringue on the overcooked American pie, paraded before the cameras and microphones to expose their utter feckless ignorance of how the lower ninety-percent of the citizenry lives, to whom a half-million bucks still sounds like real money, and who would never think of brazenly demanding a bonus after wrecking the company and, in passing, trashing the economy. These creatures are not just in a bubble; they inhabit their own gaseous galaxy.
One wonders what Mr. or Ms. Bailout Bonus tells the kiddies at home, on those rare occasions when they must confront their children without undocumented nannies, private academy deans, or burly bodyguards running interference. “You’ve humiliated me and your family name by showing up in class stoned on drugs, failing every course at school, and copulating with a goat in public here, let me buy you a new car to reward you for your performance!”
For that matter, do aforesaid nannies receive a substantial increase in pay for leaving the infants unfed and unchanged; does the private school get a little extra in the tuition check for sending the scion home beaten and bruised; does the bodyguard experience a windfall for wandering off for a few belts of Rebel Yell when they are supposed to be protecting Mr. Moneybags from the Great Unwashed?
Perhaps if one of the millionaires who maintain a desk in our Congress, and a hand in our wallets, were to put it in these terms to Sky-Box Liddy or one of the other thickheaded private-jetsetters, they would begin to comprehend why the public steams with such rage at rewarding the authors of our financial doom with additional cash when common sense, both of the Tom Paine variety and that of the average working stiff, screams that these overpaid charlatans shouldn’t have jobs at all.
Not that it much matters: We are in a deep financial depression and a reordering of the country is in progress, a shift sure to be as profound as the altering of the national psyche that occurred during the age of apple-sellers, rail tramps and soup-line mendicants of 80 years ago.
In the new era to emerge from the ashes, local handshake capitalism will take precedence over the betting windows of Wall Street; the market will be full of edible vegetables and fruits rather than the kind that invest in gold-plated office bathrooms; and addiction to the ‘long green’ will refer more to the sun or wind-power of renewable energy than inflated paper piled in a bank vault.
And, if there’s any justice, Edward Liddy and his toffy-nosed ilk will be bicycling to and from their court-ordered community service jobs cleaning bedpans for the sick and serving stew to the hungry.
Copyright 2009 R.S. Janes.