The weak and the strong

When it comes to Wall Street, it’s time to reverse the roles

Chico resident Dennis Duncan is an investigator with Butte County Children’s Services.

A few years ago, Michael Moore, the guy we all know is some sort of liberal-commie wacko, actually had a weekly network TV show, The Awful Truth. In one of the episodes, he interviewed some powerful Wall Street types and asked them some very basic questions about American history and civics that your typical teenager would know—but they didn’t.

The Eastern financial and media establishment would deem these same types “The Masters of the Universe.” They kept the nation’s economy afloat. They had huge salaries and seven-figure bonuses. And they were worth every damn penny.

Then the economy started to flatline last year. They and only they would have billions of dollars thrown at them with no accountability. Henry Paulson, Bush’s treasury secretary (and one of them not so long ago), made sure of that. He shepherded the easily persuaded Congress, and people who wondered if this was wise were seen as idiots who didn’t get it.

Of course, now we find out that the “liberal-commie wacko” was onto something. Most of these financial advisers are not masters of anything. They had no clue what was coming last year, just as in 1929, 1945, 1980 and 1992. They are very good at counting beans and conniving to acquire more beans, but they don’t grow beans or know anything about the beans themselves.

Some of the vocational ancestors of the current crop of financial gurus jumped out of their high-rise office windows in 1929. Eighty years later, our Wall Street financiers are less committed; they try to escape with golden parachutes. They redecorate their offices or buy jets with taxpayer money. A Florida financial adviser recently emptied his clients’ assets and disappeared, leaving a suicide note. Much of the money belonged to his family. Nice.

We have been told again and again that regulation is bad. The market will take care of itself, we are told. Leave the market to those who are directly involved; they are its caretakers. But when the caretakers don’t really give a damn about the market, but only themselves, what then? When the caretakers are lazy, uninformed and lack the morals necessary to do their job, what then?

Perhaps the answer is easier than we ever imagined. We are the masters of the universe. We own our country, not a cabal of idiots in Italian suits. We have a leader, finally, who knows what it is like to fight for what is right and to succeed in that fight. And, we will be successful in spite of, not because of, the aforementioned wolves in fine clothing.