Tag: Wall Street
If you have been a regular reader of Daily Kos over the past few years, you will have few earthshaking moments while reading this book - almost all of the points Frank makes have appeared here, in front-page stories and in posts by reader. Nevertheless this book may qualify as essential reading for how much it brings together, and in the fashion it provides a coherent explanation of what has happened, from the strategy and tactics of those who have already destroyed trillions of the wealth of others in America and abroad, in the failure of Obama and Cogressional Democrats to have prevented it from happening and in allowing it - at least until recently - to continue pretty much unabated. Or, as Frank puts it near the end of his Introduction,
This is the story of a swindle that will have terrible consequences down the road. And although it sounds curious to say so, the newest Right has met its goals not by deception alone - although there has benn a great deal of this - but by offering and idealism so powerful that it clouds its partisans' perceptions of reality. (p. 12)
And if there is a key, brief takeaway that can be learned from how they operated, it is found on p. 33:
To play by the rules was a chump's game.
So in a true free market, its executives would get nothing, right? Maybe a note saying "be glad we didn't fire you" and a coupon for a free breakfast at Biscuitville? Instead, here's how our corporatocracy reacts:
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, received a $12.5m (£7.7m) cash bonus for the last financial year, while his total remuneration rose 47% to $33m, according to the company's annual statement to shareholders.For more on how Wall Street rewards its executives at the expense of the middle class, read the Center for American Progress report, Supersize This (PDF).
His son James Murdoch - who is deputy chief operating officer, with responsibility for News Corp's business in Europe and Asia - was awarded a $6m cash bonus as part of an $18m pay package - a 74% rise on his 2010 take-home pay.
We must, each and every one, be smart consumers in the market, and our market choices are defined as true freedom--- they tell us that nanny government distorts the market, is expensive, and interferes with freedom. When an elderly grandmother at a Republican town hall begs her Congressman not to monkey with her Social Security on which she depends, his response is, "When are you going to learn to be personally responsible?"
On the other hand, there is not a demand that institutions like banks and corporations show similar responsibility. While corporations are now officially and legally "people," somehow the concept of personal responsibility stalls out, lost in a protective fog. The idea is that "market forces" compel institutions to certain behavior, and government interference destroys that freedom as defined above. Regulation of, say, exotic mortgages and derivatives is castigated as heretical. Nevertheless, when the stock market goes crazy with volatility, currency markets pummel the dollar, the private sector stops hiring, or there is a sudden public outcry against raising the debt ceiling, these are described as spontaneous outbursts of popular sentiment and public opinion. Thus, banks are not lending money because "they" are afraid of a double dip recession; and reporters say "the market reacted negatively to the jobs report," or to the debt ceiling standoff, or to the retirement of Steve Jobs from Apple.
Next, those banksters on Wall Street butchered these contorted mortgages into their various components parts and, based on so-expert quantitative analyses, took the resultant financial junk food and spread the manure far and wide around the globe, all dressed up as securitized and risk-rated "investments" when they actually were casino bets where, of course, the Wall Street insiders had the advantage, insured as the bets were by global insurance companies through so-called derivatives. When the schemes blew up, we all know how the little folk taxpayers were then dragooned into bailing out the financial geniuses on the theory that only this would prevent a total collapse of Western, no, of the world's, economy.... Now, the other shoe drops.
And what has this corporate money bought for itself, aside from the reality show creation of a boisterous, self-righteous revivalist mob (that pundits desperately treat like a valid political movement operating with a sensible political plan, in an attempt to give it credibility and respect)? The corporate money has bought the selection of several lunatic fringe candidates masquerading as formal Republican candidates----- for example, I keep receiving fund-raising letters from Sharon Angle in Nevada, who plasters in bold letters across the envelope phrases like "I am the official Republican candidate to defeat Harry Reid."