Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wall Street hucksters paid billion in bonuses

New York Times Columnist Bob Herbert writes:

We’ve spent the last few decades shoveling money at the rich like there was no tomorrow. We abandoned the poor, put an economic stranglehold on the middle class and all but bankrupted the federal government — while giving the banks and megacorporations and the rest of the swells at the top of the economic pyramid just about everything they’ve wanted.

And we still don’t seem to have learned the proper lessons. We’ve allowed so many people to fall into the terrible abyss of unemployment that no one — not the Obama administration, not the labor unions and most certainly no one in the Republican Party — has a clue about how to put them back to work.

Meanwhile, Wall Street is living it up...

Even as tens of millions of working Americans are struggling to hang onto their jobs and keep a roof over their families’ heads, the wise guys of Wall Street are licking their fat-cat chops over yet another round of obscene multibillion-dollar bonuses — this time thanks to the bailout billions that were sent their way by Uncle Sam, with very little in the way of strings attached.

We need to make some fundamental changes in the way we do things in this country. The gamblers and con artists of the financial sector, the very same clowns who did so much to bring the economy down in the first place, are howling self-righteously over the prospect of regulations aimed at curbing the worst aspects of their excessively risky behavior and preventing them from causing yet another economic meltdown.

We cannot continue transferring the nation’s wealth to those at the apex of the economic pyramid — which is what we have been doing for the past three decades or so — while hoping that someday, maybe, the benefits of that transfer will trickle down in the form of steady employment and improved living standards for the many millions of families struggling to make it from day to day.

That money is never going to trickle down. It’s a fairy tale. We’re crazy to continue believing it.

The entire column is linked.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When did this all start? With Milton Friedman?

The difficulties we are seeing is that we have moved from a cash society to a credit society. The dream and luxuries are all on paper and not in real transactions.

People have been able to become wealthy by extending the real resources that they have.

Financial transactions on Wall Street are nothing more than extensions of credit, similar to people putting more on their credit card.

Wealth has been created over the past thirty years based not on actual goods produced or services performed, but on the belief of value.

Handling credit is different from handling cash. With credit it takes more planning and monitoring than with cash.

The root of the problem is that as individuals and a society, we do not yet know how to handle credit.