Insight: The Wall Street disconnect

Comments (212)
Commentorssss wrote:

Isn’t using median income vs average income a more representative view of what most who work on Wall Street earn? The massive salaries of the relatively few skew the average. Using the median salary would yield a more accurate view of the salaries on Wall Street vs other industries.

Nov 18, 2011 7:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
francis55 wrote:

A really insightful article, illustrating a serious divide in perspectives and values. When a small minority has different values from the rest of the population and on the basis of those takes action that is detrimental to everyone else, that’s clearly a case for legislation and imposing sanctions with dissuasive power. Was it Al Capone who said “I am like any other man. All I do is supply a demand.” ?

Nov 18, 2011 7:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
surfish wrote:

OWS gets it!

Nov 18, 2011 7:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
feudi wrote:

Of course there is resentment against Wall Street banks that can borrow billions at zero to 1% while the rest of the public pays those same banks outrageous interest rates for the use of credit. WHY does the public have to pay 12 to 28% interest rates for credit cards? Why do students have to pay 6.8% for student loans? How is that equitable?

Nov 18, 2011 7:48am EST  --  Report as abuse

I disagree with the man in the picture, while it is true that some people have lost their job because they had a voice that reason is on the decline. I think that he is in more danger of losing his job because he probably hasn’t been to work in who knows how long.

Nov 18, 2011 7:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
rickstevens65 wrote:

Steve Miller, chairman of AIG, made similar clueless comments. Yes, this is the same AIG that still owes U.S. taxpayers $50 billion! Read “AIG chairman says that you just don’t get it” on Finance Addict.

Nov 18, 2011 7:55am EST  --  Report as abuse
yrbmegr wrote:

Nobody on Wall Street gets up in the morning and says to themselves, “I could make more money if I could get more people.” They wake up in the morning and say, “How am I going to invest a hundred million dollars today?”

Nov 18, 2011 8:09am EST  --  Report as abuse

If you are going to play the blame game, you have to go to the source of the problem. I isn’t on Wall Street, its on Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, DC. Oh, and when you signed up for your 401K, the part that said you could lose some or all of your investment? They meant it, and you signed off on it.

Nov 18, 2011 8:10am EST  --  Report as abuse
ConchKey wrote:

The ‘American Spring’ is here and is not going away.

Nov 18, 2011 8:13am EST  --  Report as abuse

I’m glad OWS finally understands that the problem is Obama’s policies of bailing out banks and wall street and will run him out of office.

Nov 18, 2011 8:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
ejr1953 wrote:

It’s absolutely inconceivable that the people at Goldman and Citi who sold mortgaged-backed securities to customers, while their companies were short selling those same securities aren’t in jail. To think most American’s put their life’s savings into 401k’s and the captains of finance are not trustworthy with those nest eggs. Until we start sending these thieves to prison, I don’t think they’ll “get it”.

Nov 18, 2011 8:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

OWS doesn’t get it, they should be protesting our ignorant policies and policymakers in Washington.

@feudi…You have to pay high interest rates on credit cards, student loans, and otherwise because some people don’t pay them back. There is a risk premium in there (and obviously for good reason)…open a finance book.

I concede your point that many of the wall street elite live in a bubble and don’t share in the hardship being experienced across much of America and the rest of the globe. In this sense, wall street abnkers dont “get it”.

But what does that matter? they ar enot gong to change their business model, they ar enot going to forgive your loans, and they ar enot going cease their pursuit of profits.

OWS is sorely misguided in that they should be protesting in Washington on K Street and on Capitol Hill. The role Wall Street played in the crisis was, for the most part, completely legal. You can make a moral argument, but the flip side of that coin is the (im)morality of taking a loan you can afford.

In short, Washington is the one who allows for corruption and allows money to control politics. Washington is the one who set up the secondary mortgage market pipeline and specifically called for more subprime loans. Washington is the one who repealled Glass Steagall and allowed investment banks to mix with depository institutions so that when their more risky investments went sour, it was the depositors at risk…that is why they HAD to be bailed out.

If OWS truly understood the root of the issues they would be protest for change in Wahsington, because that is where true change needs to be effected. Wall street has done no differently than EVERY other industry you could name, they play the political game int heir respecrtive industry because that’s largely how winners and losers are made.

#OccupyCapitolHill

Nov 18, 2011 8:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
plubber wrote:

Lift the rock up a little further and you’ll see the infestation living, breeding there!

Nov 18, 2011 8:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
captwasabi wrote:

I am so sick and tired of the lies from liberal media and the OWS. If anyone wants to know who to blame for the economic crisis look no further than our own government. In 1977 liberal Democrats push through the Community Reinvestment Act. This piece of legislation strong-armed banks into lending to high-risk, low-income borrowers the banks would not typically loan too. The mechanism used to strong-arm the banks was the ability to receive favorable decisions on merger & acquisition requests or requests to open new branches. In other words, the liberal progressives felt that the lending industry was not “equitable” and so they sought to make it equitable.

This was further compounded by Republicans who voted to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Both of these events are what ultimately led to the creation of the sub-prime lending market.

A lot of people like to blame the derivatives market but the fact is that these have been a financial tool since at least the 6th century BC in Ancient Greece.

The true blame falls at the feet of our elected officials and yet every two years we elect these same idiots into office.

As for you Feudi, learn the details. Once again we can trace this issue back to the government. What you are talking about is a crisis related program called the Term Securities Lending Facility which allowed banks to borrow money from the Fed for a one time transaction fee instead of paying interest on the loan in order to ensure that the firms had cash on hand to lend, invest and trade. The facility was announced on 3/11/08 and was closed on 2/1/10. There is no longer any such creature as banks borrowing money from the Fed without paying interest. As usual you are the typical citizen, possessing just a small amount of information and being as dangerous as possible with it. Congratulations.

Nov 18, 2011 8:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
Jacob76 wrote:

Remember Darwin. The superior are not just amongst species but within species as well (whether termed 1% or not). Wall Street (and other ‘financiers’ globally) are superior than the other humans and that is why they are where they are. Credit to them for making the State bail them out when things turned against them (2007-08 and numerous times before). If the 99% are equal to them, then why can’t they get the State to bail them out (e.g. forgive their mortgages and other debts)?

History is witness that there are always rulers and those that they rule (a minority numerically are the rulers). What is interesting is that the current rulers have become Global rulers rather than local ones through known history. Current rulers use finance as a medium whereas land ownership, gold wealth etc. was the medium previously.

So stop complaining and work like them. With hard work, cunning and a bit of luck you will become part of the 1%.

Nov 18, 2011 8:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
DeerHunter wrote:

Let me get this right – You feudi – want to borrow at a better rate? Why do you need to borrow – to Live Beyone your Means? To have today day what you should save for?

I live the first 15 years of my adult life under the povertly level. I am now classified as rich by Obama. Get off your lazy rears and earn the money. It is not like grade school where you don’t get a grade. Your grade is your paycheck. Go earn it and stop complaining

Nov 18, 2011 8:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
dizandjerry wrote:

OWS is a CIA operation to distract us from the SOPA bill being passed.

Nov 18, 2011 8:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
captwasabi wrote:

Ejr, how is it theft if no one has the money?

Nov 18, 2011 8:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
Decader wrote:

Why doesn’t this article talk about theft on Wall Street?
Selling toxic assets? Illegal mortgage foreclosures and robo-signing?
Naked short selling?

People aren’t just jealous because of income differences.
During the crash, we bailed out banks while we let people suffer.
And then the banks continued their crooked practices.
Why do we give money to banks to lend back to government at a profit?
We couldn’t even cap bonuses on employees of bailed out banks.
Because Congress & the White House are in the pocket of Wall Street.
None of the needed reforms happened. So it all continues.
Occupy Wall Street came about because our market system and political systems are broken.

This is not class warfare – it’s about fighting back against rampant theft. If our system worked, our D.A.s would be doing this, the FBI would be investigating. Instead we’re cutting deals to let thieves off the hook – billions are stolen but only a $40K inside trade from Martha Stewart can be prosecuted.

Nov 18, 2011 8:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
skyman123 wrote:

The comment by brymegr typifies this complete lack of thought and the disconnect. Where does the money come from? Thin air? Ultimately it comes from *people* so when you get up and say “how am I going to invest” you’re really saying “how am I going to get more money from/for *people*. The fact that you said that shows how shallow you are.

Furthermore, when you lend money out, you’re lending it to *people* because they’ll make the decisions and pay the bills, even if you’re lending money to, say, IBM. The executives are making the decisions NOT “the company”.

Just so we’re clear about where the anger is coming from let’s use the real life example: someone comes in for a loan, in the loan analysis its apparent that this person can’t pay this loan back but your bonus depends on how much money you write for the quarter. So you fudge the figures and the loan goes through. It goes to the bank, who then further fudges it because that person’s bonus depends on how many loans they and package up and sell each month. The agency that buys them and the ratings people say nothing because those people’s pay depend on how many tranches they can sell, so they all do nothing. The loans get stamped AAA and sliced and sold off generating more bonus money. The entire chain gets exposed and then WE…OUR tax dollars that we don’t have and also have to be borrowed go to bail out the very institutions that cheated? With the effect of tossing the people out of their homes and ruining neighborhoods to boot thereby lowering the taxes collected, destroying the construction industry, and killing people’s only real asset value…their house? And people like you think this is somehow a joke and no attack on your institutions or you personally are fair? Really? You have no capacity for truth or self reflection here? Then you now deserve to have this all taken away because all your bonus money is actually dirty. You can’t escape it, it is. Period.

Nov 18, 2011 8:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@ejr1953, if you are getting paid to package MBS as it’s own business, and you have a seperate trading department who sees a bubble and wants to profit from it, where is the illegality in that?

Is it any different than the small town mortgage broker in the strip mall next to Kmart who was underwriting these mortgages to be packaged and sold and then went home and, after deciding the market was unsustainable, began shorting financials, etc.?

Now, there were undoubtedly situations of outright fraud that were illegal and should be prosecuted. But I am afraid you will find the vast majority of activity, in all facets of this bubble and subsequent implosion, was legal.

Again, it is the govenrment who orchestrated the mortgage pipeline to prop up the economy and it is the govenrment who allowed our largest depository insitutions to gamble on riskier investments. The simple solution is that investment banks should be seperate from commercial depository institutions, there would have been no bailout needed…
So, the answer is more regulation you say? Well, have a look at DoddFrank (the two masterminds of the secondary mortgage market pipeline, mind you) – it does not even adress these issues. Instead it is strangling the life out of community banks and will eventually corral more deposits into the big banks hands.

We need regulatory reform, not just “more regulation” . Get rid of the useless stuff and implement effective regulation.

Nov 18, 2011 8:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
mindoculus wrote:

OWS is full of pretensions, lies, and self-delusion. If anything, they’re the 1%, not the Wall-Street types. OWS makes the Tea Party sound intelligent and normal. I’m think that the majority of people don’t want to bother with either extreme, and simply decide matters calmly in the comfort of their own homes and then voice their opinions in the voting booth.

Nov 18, 2011 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
sanitychecker wrote:

I continue to be perplexed and frustrated by the fact that OWS and their supporters are so easily taken in by the false notion that the credit unions are on the side of the people, while the commercial banks are not. I agree that the commercial banks have caused great harm, but so many people don’t seem to understand that the credit unions have been proportionately harmful, too.

The fact is that all banking depends upon taking the money from depositors without their express, written permission, lending that money out, and promising at the same time to return it to the depositors on demand. This formula for ultimately achieving disaster at some point in time is followed and profited by both commercial banks and credit unions.

OWS gets part of it. Now they need to get the rest of it.

Nov 18, 2011 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
Undergrad wrote:

To say that the whining and blame shifting by individuals who have screwed up their own lives to “insensitive” rich people has gotten old is to exceed the bounds of understatement. But it pales in antiquity to the concept that more regulation, more government, new regulations or “reform” instigated by visionary politicians and social activists is going to make things better. The true 99% are those folks who are continuing to go about their daily lives, earning a living, enjoying their families, and holding not a single grudge against “Wall Street,” or corporate America, or anyone else who has nothing at all to do with their personal situation. When people universally “fend for themselves” and take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions, true solutions to their problems will emerge. But the moronic children screaming in the streets for “justice, fraternity and equality” have nothing at all to offer to anyone. IN that they are equaled or surpassed by the chattering nabobs like the authors of this article, who –allegedly intelligent– can’t quite seem to understand why successful people who have accumulated wealth live differently than average people who have not. Wow.

Nov 18, 2011 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
rjames7777 wrote:

The op-ed fails to identify some primary truths:

1. The people who took out mortgages they could not afford knew they could not afford them. They are just as guilty and responsible for the debacle as the people who made the loans. The canard that sub-prime mortgage holders are victims is a necessary cover for the corrupt left-wing politicians who helped orchestrate this swindle of mainstream investors.

2. The excessive compensation enjoyed by the financial services industry are to a large extent the result of an industry which has evolved a way of doing business which guarantees their ability to extract fees and bonuses early, while off-loading risk to others, be they ordinary investors, or to the government.

The solution to this problem will not be found by enacting new regulations, which do nothing more than legitimize an intrinsically corrupt status-quo. The solution (as it almost always is when free-market capitalism is corrupted by it’s practitioners), is competition. The government’s most sacred responsibility as steward of a free-market economy is to insure that the playing field remains level, and that anyone who wishes to may step on to that field and compete. In the United States, our elected officials have abrogated that responsibility, by trading their public trust for payoffs and privileges conferred upon them by corporate opportunists.

Nov 18, 2011 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
wylldsarge wrote:

Well written article on an important topic. I think the attitudes discussed in this article would’ve been much different if the bank bailouts (TARP) didn’t happen. The free market would’ve been allowed to dictate losers at that point and bankers would also be feeling the pain right now. I’m generally not a free market guy but in the future when banks are falling apart, they should probably be allowed to just fail so bad bets can be treated like they are in a Las Vegas casino. Then the reality of having to sell your stuff in order to make ends meet could’ve humbled people who are oblivious to the fact that having two homes is not the norm.

Nov 18, 2011 8:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
johnb9990 wrote:

Paulson the giant cancerous 90 pound tumor is telling you to just stop the chemo therapy and admire how successful he is at eating you alive.

Nov 18, 2011 8:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
Kunst wrote:

“Blame the politicians and policymakers in Washington, many of them say, for encouraging people to buy homes they couldn’t afford and doing nothing to stop or discourage U.S. consumers from piling on more than $10 trillion in household debt.”

Give me a break! Look in the mirror. It was the financial industry that drove both of these phenomena. To the extent that government abetted, it’s because the financial industry urged (and bribed) them to facilitate. The financial industry pushing debt to consumers (hey, college freshman, how about a t-shirt and a credit card?) is 100% analogous to the tobacco industry trying to hook teen-agers on their deadly product.

Nov 18, 2011 8:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
rich_t_ wrote:

I really like the idea of a more fair distribution of wealth, and I think that suggesting it to like-minded people should be a breeze… Can we all give just 1% of our income to folks who have less than us? I think that would not only make the world a much better place, but it would also send the right message to those who have *more* than us — let’s lead by example. My fear is that many in the “occupy movement” only want the money to flow one way — from the top 1% of the USA to the bottom 99% of the USA… I, on the other hand, acknowledge that we live in a global economic community, and *all* of us in the USA have benefitted from the labor practices we’ve encouraged in Asia (where iPhones are made) and Africa and elsewhere, and so I want the money to also flow from us (the “99%”) to *them*! I believe we all need to accept that in addition to being the bottom 99% of the USA, we’re also the top 10% of the world we benefit from, and that status also comes with a responsibility! (An officially poor person in the USA making $10k a year is still better off than close to 90% of the world’s population! See: http://www.globalrichlist.com/ ) So let’s all give 1% away next year. Let’s lead by example, rather than just asking someone else to do so — let’s *really* change the world! And let’s also remember that the “1%” really believe they can’t do with any less than they have, just like most of us do! But the truth is we can all do with less (or a smaller big screen TV) — we have to be better and lead the way!

Nov 18, 2011 8:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
bagart wrote:

All this we know well. Out of topic- to avoid total economic collapse and social unrest in near future legislators should work hard on mechanisms which will allow to 1. bring back jobs (stop outsourcing or tax it accordingly); 2. increase revenue from taxes from the moguls (in Russia in Ukraine they are call appropriately oligarchs- people there long ago understood, that where 1% of population has so inflated gross income, there is not democracy implemented), and proper distribution of money (schools, reorienting work force etc); 3. change banking system and banking regulations, lobbying. Generally- go back to democratic system- which we lost somewhere for benefit of clearly oligarchic system. Ever often we jingling with term capitalism. We lost it long ago. It was stolen from us by 1% of crooks among us. Tax them!

Nov 18, 2011 8:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
Trident4ever wrote:

All debts can be forgiven. The 1% do it all the time — with each other, with other countries when there is an economic crisis. During a depression, lots of debt simply gets wiped off the books.

What the 1% still doesn’t get is that we, the People, the 99%, will no longer allow the 1% to be the only Americans who have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The rest of US, the 99%, are going to have those rights, too, or else.

This Occupy struggle is just like the struggle for civil rights, the struggle to end the Vietnam War, the struggle to end the Iraq War, the struggle for an 8-hour work day, the struggle to pass labor laws restricting the use of child labor, etc.

The 99% will not, cannot go away. We are the People now. Get use to it.

Nov 18, 2011 8:41am EST  --  Report as abuse
vhpeddler wrote:

Kinda like the coke suppliers complaining about the addicts they fostered and telling them to clean up and be like them, supply but not taking part.It’s not my fault, Washington should provide everything so these poor souls wouldn’t have to become users. ???
Sometimes its not everyone else’s fault.

Nov 18, 2011 8:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
colonelP wrote:

Hold on. I think I hear the words “Let them eat cake” wafting out of the executive suites. Soon the words “Off with their heads” will be roaring out of the masses. Ignore reality at your own peril, you 1%ers.

Nov 18, 2011 8:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
skyman123 wrote:

jaham the lack of thought here just astonishes me. Who was the adult in these transactions? If I were an appraiser, and I actually wrote what the value of the house was in my appraisal, how many jobs do you think I would get? If I were a real estate agent that told the sellers what their house was really worth, would I sell anything? If I didn’t approve a certain number of loans at the bank I worked at, and said the truth, would I have been promoted/got a bonus/or even kept my job?

At any time this bubble didn’t need to happen because the institutions…no the PEOPLE committed fraud by even approving the valuations and/or the loans. In 2005 I was looking for property and KNEW that 98% of it was fraudulently priced. When the price effectively means 90% of the people in the market can’t afford a simple house (by looking at the income levels for the market) you can honestly figure it out for yourself, and the banks and everyone else in the chain knew it. But they were reaping great rewards in bonus for keeping this all going, so on it went. If just ONE honest CEO or someone like a Bill Gross said on national TV “We’re OUT of any securities because these are all a house of cards” this would have stopped.

And don’t give me the “blame the victim” thing either. People are generally unsophisticated about these things, and the professional should have said “NO” when a guy making 60k a year is trying to buy a 575000 house. Not say, “well we’ll put you in the 0% loan that will blow up on you in 3 years, but don’t worry houses always go up and you can refinance”. In common terms, that’s a scam. And that’s what happened. So don’t give me this.

Nov 18, 2011 8:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
Indydog wrote:

I’d like to preface my comments by stating; I don’t own any stock, and while I live out in South Central Texas seemingly disconnected from the OWS movement and the hustle-bustle of city life, I do read and follow what’s happening in American and around the world. I’m also a Veteran.

First I’d like to make a quick comment concerning this statement from the article: “Corzine was calling for tighter regulation of Wall Street, even while his firm was borrowing more and more money to bet on some of the riskiest European debt.” My modest understanding of investing in Wall Street and similar stratagies is that you don’t borrow money to gamble. Too much of that has contibuted to America’s economic choas.

But my main point relates more to what average Americans want resolved. Sure, many people want debt forgiveness and mortage modifications, who wouldn’t? But that’s not the real challenge.

American wages have remained stagenant for decades now, and jobs are fewer due to many things including technology advances that replace workers, and adjusting is more difficult than merely wishing it away. I feel a solution to our economic stagnation really resides with employers paying better wages. Certainly employers would feel the burden in the first stage, but once employees have more to spend, more of your products and services will be bought and boost your bottom line, and possibly creating more jobs. As things are now, employees have to seek the lowest price to stretch their dollars, which results in them mostly buying cheap imports. Most dollars you’re paying your employees are going overseas instead of staying in our economy. Our solution certainly requires changes in banking and Wall Street and big business, but the ultimate instigator of change starts with you, the employer, paying a decent wage so your employees can afford living in America.

Nov 18, 2011 8:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
Innocentious wrote:

@feudi

Because only 60% of them ever pay back the money fully. The high interest rate is there in order to balance those who do pay it back 100% with those that declare bankruptcy.

This article makes me laugh, I get nothing. for every person who makes money on Wall Street there are many who do not. In the end the question is investment and using money as a vehicle to generate wealth through the purchase of portions of companies and then the hope that those companies will not only make good business choices but hope to high heaven that they don’t get taxed/sued into oblivion.

Yes demand is soft right now, but the truth is companies and banks are sitting on large sums of money rather than invest it because government is making them nervous.

Finally, ask yourself this question, would you as an independent business owner hire someone from Occupy Wall Street? Think about the message, “You better not be making money off of my labor”, and then explain why people hire other people to do work.

This article believes that large sums of money are a bad thing, the truth is it is a natural thing and eventually it goes away with death. Plus 90% of ‘the rich’ will give back in HUGE ways to the community which simply makes me laugh even harder that they want to strip away the opportunity to allow people to be generous with their wealth by what? Giving it to Government?

OWS does not get it, nor will they until they become employers and see how HARD it is to make money.

Nov 18, 2011 8:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
Banj0man wrote:

Convulsions for social justice happen during recessions. The only thing to protest is the perceived power structure. Tea Party and OccupyWS are identical to the Arab Spring protesters. The common story that the Arabs are protesting dictatorships is not correct. That’s what they have to protest against same as Americans can only protest the current corporate capitalism of popular democracy.

The reason the Arabs are protesting this year instead of during one of the other past 40 years when they had the _same_ dictator is because of the recession. If Wall Street and Koch Bros don’t want the power structure to fall down, then you might want to pay more of ‘your’ hard-earned dollars to support the power structure (which is the thing that allowed you to accumulate the money in the first place).

There is a choice to be made. We can invest in America or Not.
The 2nd choice is if we wish to invest, then we either use money we have (taxes) or money we don’t have (debt).

Nov 18, 2011 8:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
Rantel wrote:

I love those who comment on how wrong “Wall Street” has become, especially those who obscenely profited from their years working in those very same instituions. While they sip their mimosas and wait for their tee times to commence. I would give greater credence to those who have given up their careers “producing nothing” and moved on to more rewarding undertaking. I read this article and some of the commentary reminds me of some Mafia movie narration where the “rat” looks back on all the people he murdered and blames it on the organization.

Nov 18, 2011 8:48am EST  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:

The first rule of Fight Club is……

Nov 18, 2011 8:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
Innocentious wrote:

What I laugh at is that people point to the fact that banks got bail outs, which was by and large mostly a Democrat response. Heck Republicans tried to keep the Darned thing from passing and got excoriated by the press… But whatever. Look the Bailouts to banks suck. However the ’1%’ interest loans that are occurring now is to TRY to get Banks to loan money, however due to new regulations, Banks are afraid to loan ( which goes with the softness of the economy as well ) Finally you do not HAVE to get a loan to create wealth but you have to be willing to go out and work HARD. Nothing stops you from picking up a product and going door to door to sell it, except government. Or using the telephone, well except government… huh weird it seems like most of the obstacles to wealth creations is… well the government.

Nov 18, 2011 8:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
Doublejay wrote:

Typical isn’t it. These parasites on wall street are borrowin money from banks to make their investments and then raking in the money, while the people whose money is in those banks and whose tax dollars went to prop the banks up are the ones hardest hit. Simplest solution I would say is to somehow form a public cooperative where everyone just withdraws their money from the banks and then invest in their own giant policy – in other words a bank run by main street for main streeters. Keep doing that and eventually wall street will melt down because the money will run out and the banks themselves will suddenly realize that their cash cows have grown teeth.

Nov 18, 2011 8:54am EST  --  Report as abuse
stambo2001 wrote:

you APPLY for a mortgage, the bank makes the call as to whether or not to lend you the money, morons. No person just walks into a bank and gets a mortgage upon request. The bank established the policies, on direction from the government, that made risky mortgages possible. The banks grouped up these risky/bad mortgages and turned them into yet another ‘investment’ bundle.

Nov 18, 2011 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
superdynamite wrote:

The problem is not the global market system or global industry that is referred to as “Wall St.”

The problem is that Ben Bernanke (The FED) prints trillions of dollars in bail-out money for failing, floundering financial institutions. Let them FAIL.

FACT: Top graduates of Harvard & Yale are running these failing financial institutions. Ben Bernanke spends trillions (TRILLIONS!!!) to keep these poorly run business afloat because of his ironclad Ivy League ego. In turn he is destroying the WORLD ECONOMY.

Bernanke doesn’t have the aptitude to manage a starbucks, let alone run the FED.

Nov 18, 2011 8:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
mayfrock wrote:

The reason the news of the financial crisis hasn’t hit the Wall Street bankers is because they all watch FOX and think its the real news!!!

Nov 18, 2011 9:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
CtracyIII wrote:

Very well done. What is incredibly ironic is the intense dependence Wall Street has with Main Street and vice versa. Without Main Street customers big retail banks and business would not exist so Wall Street would have nothing to invest in. Without Wall Street, companies would have fewer sources for capital and have less money to hire those who live on Main Street.

Apparently Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns wasn’t a strong enough message.

Nov 18, 2011 9:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
debig wrote:

A few things. The overall point of these protests isn’t about class war. It’s about not being taken advantage of by the people with the money and power to dictate the policy to do so. Most of us don’t care how much you tax the rich or the poor.. the tax rates aren’t going to solve the major problems.

The one thing that is absurd is these bankers yelling “Get a Job” at us protestors. Two funny facts… 1) Most of us have jobs and join the protests after work (myself included). 2) These Wall Street jobs only exist because government took my hard-earned tax dollars and gave them to the banks… so really… if it wasn’t for us.. they’d be out on the street! Their jobs don’t even exist in a sane reality!

Nov 18, 2011 9:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
rangerover411 wrote:

Wall Street is oblivious to the wake up call it’s receiving. Comments here and elsewhere show some people believe they’re entitled to perpetuate fraud on the populace.

This country succeeded because of checks and balances, but Wall Street has co-opted the government and the media. That has to change, or the “let them eat cake” attitudes will lead directly to another Marie Antoinette outcome.

Nov 18, 2011 9:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@skyman…good points, but your narrowmindedness is quite astonishing as well.

First, I think consumer ignorance is no excuse. “I didn’t knwo that loan was too big” or “I didn’t know I had ot pay that back” doesn’t cut it.

Also, I think the government played a hefty role that you failed to mention entirely. And, I think if you want to go the “send the bad guys to jail route” you have effectively said we should arrest every real estate agent, appraiser, mortgage broker, banker, in the entire country. And, if you make that assumption that everyone of those individuals acted immorally you can quite easy apply that same viewpoint to many many other industries and situations, as well. Not to mention jailing every politician who was in office. They all have culpability.

So let us think about who orchestrated and facilitated this entire idea to inflate home prices to boost the economy – that was the federal government. So, as I have said many times if you want to effect change, goto the root of the issue. Otherwise, Let’s go your route and send all of the aforementioned people to jail, its not like our penal system is already overburdened or anything.

Nov 18, 2011 9:11am EST  --  Report as abuse
lhathaway wrote:

Warren Buffett invests in companies that he sees as good business models, providing them with financial backing and expertise on how to grow their companies over decades. What Wall Street does is not investment anymore, it’s gambling. It has nothing to do with the growth of sound companies and creating a robust economy, and therefore jobs, for the US, it has simply to do with making the owner of the 100k rich as quickly as possible. They operate in a vacuum as though the only part of their brains still working is the part that adds up the numbers.

The OWS outcry is over the fact that all of the too big to fail companies were bailed out by the working classes. They did fail, and in retrospect, they should’ve gone bankrupt and been dissolved. Instead they took the money without so much as a thank you and returned immediately to the same practices. Yet when homeowners across the country lost their jobs and became insolvent, the same banks foreclosed on them. It could hardly be a clearer cut case of the double standard. I still think that the ninety-nine percent believe in their hearts that under the law, all men should be treated equally. Wall Street has trampled all over that premise and then kicked it a few times to boot.

Nov 18, 2011 9:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@Indydog…if real wages in household income began to increas eit would certainly begin to alleviate many of our problems. The question is how do you accomplish that, you don’t just say…employers, starting paying more. The market dictates that.

What we need is reformed taxes, reformed regulations, free trade agreements, reformed entitlements, a balanced budget, a plan to manage our national debt, improved infrastructure, improved education…the list goes on. We are competing on a global scale now for jobs and the equation of job creation is a lot more complex than cheap chinese wages. There are many factors.

Luckily if we make th eneeded changes we will continue to grow and prosper. But, the scary aprt is that these changes rely on the action of our elected policymakers. Further, our elected policymakers will not be forced to do the right thing and until we th epople understand the intricacies of the perdicament we are in and the solutions and FORCE the changes needed.

The American voter needs to fully understand the issues beyond TV talking points and force our policymakers to take action.

Nov 18, 2011 9:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
anonomouser wrote:

OWS, so you lost your overpriced house and your 401K is going down the toilet. Welcome to the real world of risk taking. If you don’t want to loose your money, put it into FDIC insured CDs and don’t complain that you are only getting a 0.5% return on it. Businessmen have been playing the risk game for hundreds of years and it’s not uncommon for them to bet (and loose) their houses and savings in the process. But they don’t complain and moan; they get back up and try again. And when they win, they have a chance to win big. It’s the way American capitalism works. This is America, so you get to choose to play the game as a businessman or an employee, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Nov 18, 2011 9:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
SoccerDad21 wrote:

RE: “Thomas Atteberry, …says his success “wasn’t a gift” and he had to work hard to get where he is”

So did Al Capone.

Nov 18, 2011 9:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
sisifo wrote:

Since corporations can fund politicians, the “government” is a corporation tool. If you are a corporationist, you can’t blame the government because the government is you.

Since Congress is part of the government, and government is a corporation tool, Congress is a corporation tool, therefore, the laws it makes benefit the corporation. This means you can’t claim something is right simply because it’s legal. Slavery was legal, segregation was legal, pogroms were legal, 28% interest on a credit card is legal, a 5 dollar debit card is legal, etc.

The concept of risk is bogus. Money should be earned from work. Sitting on your butt at home while you risk something is not work. All money earned through risk is stolen, legally stolen, but still stolen.

Wall Street will never get it because wallstreeters are sociopaths; they honestly think what they do is okay. We have given our nation away to a bunch of sickos.

Nov 18, 2011 9:24am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@skyman said: “Not say, “well we’ll put you in the 0% loan that will blow up on you in 3 years, but don’t worry houses always go up and you can refinance”. In common terms, that’s a scam. And that’s what happened. So don’t give me this”

…you know who not only condoned, but called for more subprime mortgages such as the one you described? the government.

I think you may have missed my main point. You are so narrowminded that you only see and understand a slive rof the big picture. but not matter what example you can give I can demonstrate to you how the root of the issue effectively resides with the government. We need change in Washington, not on Wall Street.

And until you, OWS, and the american people understand that, change will never be effected.

Nov 18, 2011 9:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
bshea wrote:

The statements and thoughts on Wall Street absolutely confirm the disconnect. It is the same as the person floating around a parking lot on a cell phone oblivious to the wandering, uncertain and dangerous driving they are engaged in, because they are on their cell phone! Some on Wall Street are too busy raking in the bucks to see what their practices are doing to others. The Dodd-Frank bill may be onerous and utimately ineffective but its intention was to save the rest of us when those driving the bus almost sent the entire world economy into the abyss.

Yes, people bought houses that they could not afford. People will always try to write checks they cannot cash. But these people only became so numerous and a problem to the economy as a whole when others on Wall Street and the banking indsutry , discovered a way to bundle this “bad business” and sell to unsuspecting entities. The unsuspecting entities assumed the government watchdogs had done their jobs. Who knew?

Regarding taxes. Please stop. The tax rate on the books for the wealthy is quite high. One of the highest in the world. However, that is why they have a 12,000 page tax code. After deductions, the taxes paid is only a fraction of the rate on the books. Try 17% on average. The net amount paid is the only true barometer and that is how we end up with administrative staff paying a higher rate than the CEO of a company.

Wall Street Bankers…Be careful or you will actually start believing your own crap!

Thank you

Nov 18, 2011 9:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
AuburnRob wrote:

What can one say to this without resorting to profanity? A few things.

It’s been almost three years to the day since AIG was bailed out. And guess what? AIG stil owes taxpayers $49.4 BILLION! That’s more than half the budget of the Department of Education. What was that about taxpayers getting their money back?
A significant amount of the aid–$52.5 billion–was pumped into special purpose vehicles created by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to take dodgy mortgage bonds and other loan-backed securities off of AIG’s balance sheet and the balance sheets of its Too Big To Fail bank clients. Part of this constituted a back-door bailout of American and European banks. To get its money back the Fed will have to wait until these questionable securities mature, hoping that they don’t default in the interim, or sell them in the markets. The Fed tried to sell some earlier this year and, lo and behold, it didn’t go so well. It’s very difficult to say when and whether this money will be recouped.
What did U.S. taxpayers get for the rest of the money given to AIG? Unsecured interests. We now own about 77% of the company via preferred and common shares. This means that should AIG go bankrupt–and by the way, their latest numbers look horrible–taxpayers will be among the last to be repaid. They’ll stand near the back of the line and watch as bondholders and other secured creditors get their money back first. How’s that for taxpayer protection?
Experts say that we need to sell the AIG shares for an average of $28.72 in order to break even. What’s the 200 day moving average of the stock? $23.02. And this is before the end of the slow motion train wreck known as Europe. As I mentioned yesterday, American financial institutions’ exposure to Europe could be as high as $767.5 billion. If things really jump off in Europe, we’ll be in for chaos in the U.S. stock markets. Even if things don’t collapse we cannot just dump 77% of the company on the market; we’d need to sell in smaller lots over time. Long story short, we won’t see this money back for quite some time, if ever.
Some imply that the crisis brought on in part by decisions made at AIG were not devastating to millions of Americans. And yet:

Except for a brief period in the 1980s, the official unemployment rate is still at the highest level since the Great Depression.
Never before have we seen so many out of work for so long.
The unofficial unemployment rate, including those forced to work fewer hours, is almost double the official rate (17% vs. 9%).
A record 49 million Americans are living in poverty.
The poverty rate among children is 18.2%.
Almost 46 million people–close to 15% of the country–were on food stamps.

Nov 18, 2011 9:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
indyinasia wrote:

The Occupy Movement, The Tea Party, and Middle America all meet at Ron Paul’s Record in Congress:

Authored and Sponsored Legislation:
Tax Free Tips HR 1139.
Industrial Hemp Farming HR 1866 .
Federal Reserve Transparency HR1207.
Med. Marijuana Patient Protection HR 5842.

Voted against every undeclared war.
Voted against “War on Drugs”.
Voted against Gov. control of Internet.
Never voted to raise taxes.
Never voted for an unbalanced budget.
Never voted to raise congressional pay.
Will not take his congressional pension.
Returns $ of his office budget every year.
Never taken a government-paid junket.

Nov 18, 2011 9:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
ralphw wrote:

I like this Communise Wall Street movement. I’m going to start racking up all the debt I can because I think its going to eventually work and all debts are going to be forgiven.

Nov 18, 2011 9:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
skyman123 wrote:

@jaham, this is the meme that won’t die…that somehow, the government had a role in this. It’s been demonstrated to be a big lie again and again…that is if you actually read REAL analysis and not right-wing (or even left-wing) propaganda sheets or just listen to Fox News. In fact, both Fanny and Freddie got to the party too LATE, after the festivities were in full swing which is why they got caught short. This had NOTHING to do with low income directives or anything else. You think all those bad loans sitting in BofA of Citi are for subprime people? Look at the stats. There is no government regulation here to blame for anything, there are only people.

And you show little knowledge of actual reality in terms of bailouts or other measures taken to keep us from going into a major depression if the system seized up without all the bailout money. Now easy for you to say because you didn’t lose everything, as most likely you would have as the cascade effect would have wiped out anything you had saved if it were allowed to happen. So stop being partisan and look at the problem, as most of the commenters here start with a political viewpoint and try to justify it, instead of looking at what actually happened.

And, for your information, I am a Republican AND I fully and personally support OWS and what it is trying to do. Reality has left the building, as is obvious from these comments, and the rest of us are trying to get it back for the good of the country, unlike the current politicians who are doing it for the good of themselves and people like you. And we’ll get it back, trust me. And lest you also think I’m some “do-gooder who should get a job” I happen to have a C in front of my title. Even with that, like Buffet and Henry Ford, I realize that all business can only thrive if the regular people are thriving too with good jobs and the ability to save and live a good life. And I’m willing to support that with taxes and by any other means because that’s what it means to be an American. By the comments, we’ve lost that and now we have “MINE MINE MINE” and you’re wrecking it for the rest of us. It’s time we took it all back.

Nov 18, 2011 9:32am EST  --  Report as abuse
th3mus1cman wrote:

In my view the movement’s message is not for the 1%. It is for the 99%. It is about motivating the 99% to take action and not about changing the minds of the 1%.

Nov 18, 2011 9:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
Doublejay wrote:

rjames7777 wrote:
The op-ed fails to identify some primary truths:

1. The people who took out mortgages they could not afford knew they could not afford them. They are just as guilty and responsible for the debacle as the people who made the loans. The canard that sub-prime mortgage holders are victims is a necessary cover for the corrupt left-wing politicians who helped orchestrate this swindle of mainstream investors.

2. The excessive compensation enjoyed by the financial services industry are to a large extent the result of an industry which has evolved a way of doing business which guarantees their ability to extract fees and bonuses early, while off-loading risk to others, be they ordinary investors, or to the government.

The solution to this problem will not be found by enacting new regulations, which do nothing more than legitimize an intrinsically corrupt status-quo. The solution (as it almost always is when free-market capitalism is corrupted by it’s practitioners), is competition. The government’s most sacred responsibility as steward of a free-market economy is to insure that the playing field remains level, and that anyone who wishes to may step on to that field and compete. In the United States, our elected officials have abrogated that responsibility, by trading their public trust for payoffs and privileges conferred upon them by corporate opportunists.

Rubbish. Regulation is necessary to ensure their is no systemic abuse. The regulations that were in place and were removed by the right wing governments of Bush and Reagan which allowed the swindles as you put it to take place in the first place. You can’t deny history and you know it, or you yourself are worse than people like Stalin who re wrote history for his own purposes. I love the way you attempt first to lay the blame on so called left wing politicians and then in the same breath blame the financial institutions. And as for a so called level playing field, again, rubbish. Competition is all well and good but as you must know (again through what has already happened) the smaller companies get gobbled up by the bigger ones. Case in point GM, Fannie Mae and others. Companies exist to make money. They way they do that is to eliminate the competition by either out selling them or gobbling them up. So therefore your comments display a naivete that is truly breathtaking.

Nov 18, 2011 9:35am EST  --  Report as abuse
pappawtom wrote:

We can blame the rich, we can blame the government, we can blame the president, but we are overlooking those who are to blame the most and that is us. For far too long we have turned a blind eye to what is going on in the government or Wall St. by taking what they dealt out to us thinking that we don’t care what happens as long as we can get what we want. Greed is a very dominating seductress. We want everything right now and not have to wait or work for anything. We rely too much on someone else to give us what we use to do for ourselves.

This nation was built on the backs of those who labored to provide the necessities of life on their own land. Now we all go off to work for someone else and complain that we are not paid enough because we have all these bills to pay for things that we wanted and did not really need. The real problem right now is not the rich and how much money they have it is how much we want for ourselves.

Nov 18, 2011 9:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
veerhoff69 wrote:

It is typically off mark when we make generalizations about things categorically, whether it be people who work in the public or private sector.
The reality is a majority of Americans are consumers, and produce little or nothing. In fact it is well understood how our economy has shifted from a Manufacturing base to a Service base. This is a reality for the American Worker across all political dogmas and party affiliations.
So this means, in general, the majority of people work to serve others. Then comes the conscious choice on the part of the individual if they wish to work for the greater benefit of the rest of the world, or if their interests are self serving.
The financial industry is not exception. There is a famous example in the New Testament of the only time Jesus became enraged, when he entered the Temple and overturned the tables of the “Money Changers”
History repeats itself?

Nov 18, 2011 9:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
KYFarmer wrote:

if the Occupiers would shut off their iPhones,study how to start a small business and then attempt to start a small business, they would soon realize that the government, under the guise of “regulations” is the real culprit here, not Wall Street, Main Street or any other dead-end road created by our legislators in Washington D.C., and in the state capitols.

Less government intervention = creativity, industry and access to income for more, while making us competitive on the world stage.

Nov 18, 2011 9:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
LouannO wrote:

This is precisely why we are at a credit union, and have been for over 25 years. We love the yearly stockholders meeting where ALL members of your family are welcome no matter what age. The people who work at the Credit Union are also members, and take pride in what they do. All of the board positions are non paid volunteer positions, who are voted on by the membership through ballots in the mail. Anyone who is in good standing, and has been a member for awhile is able to run for office. Most Credit Unions were not affected by the banking crisis, and have money to lend.

Nov 18, 2011 9:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
Joe0 wrote:

@lhathaway
Exactly. There is no longer a fundamental difference between the traders on wall street and the hustlers at a casino sports book. Both are simply attempting to ascertain the underlying odds, make a bet as to which direction it will go, and then hope for the outcome while not having any direct effect on it. In neither instance does the involved party create something of value that can be sold or bartered.

Buffett is a great example of someone who in his words “allocates capital”. He takes actual liquid cash and invests it directly in the company. Through his direct actions, additional value is usually created because those companies then use those funds and guidance to expand production, build a new factory, open new markets, etc.

What the financial industry fails to realize is that it does not create value. For all intensive purposes, they collect a commision on financial transactions and hopefully the underlying companies or individuals are able to then create some additional value from that. Whenever you begin to do things like short-selling of stocks, you now have a way to make your commission off of value loss as well, and that’s where the frustration from the average American comes from, because for us the loss is not on paper, it is a decline in business income, loss of jobs, etc. When the wealthiest are no longer captains of industry who are forging steel, building infrastructure, and making goods that can be sold, but instead are simply bankers moving other peoples money around for personal profit, then we have a serious problem.

I can’t fault anyone for figuring out how to work the system to their benefit, that is the basis of capitalism. I don’t expect anyone to give money back, pay higher taxes, or forgive debt. What I do recognize is that if we continue diverting so much of our capital to the financial markets where they’re just swirled around for a while with different entities continuing to take their slice off of the top, without adding any value (and not producing anything we could sell overseas to balance our trade deficits), our economic system will eventually collapse.

Nov 18, 2011 9:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
gtigerclaw wrote:

Interestingly, I was researching a piece about why people get into investment banking for a friend at BBC, and I hit the Internet forums. Out of the hundreds of post I read, I never-ever found one person offering one altruistic reason for wanting to chose trading or investment banking as a career. Absolutely all of them were only concerned about becoming RICH and to hell with everybody else. I came away thinking. A great bunch of sociopathic, self-serving people in the investment banking business sorely lacking any social responsibility and ethics whatsoever.

Nov 18, 2011 9:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
beancube2101 wrote:

When the bubble caused the market to burst, it’s only those with insider information in management positions get ashore at the expenses of everybody else sinking under water. Those responsible to track these kind of frauds are paid to see nothing and their typical excuse their small institute is too busy working on other cases like easier HOA expensive front gate landscape or roadside construction fake infrastructure improvement ignoring traffic jams and mounting expenses of those owners.

Nov 18, 2011 9:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
ki11erbassist wrote:

Sorry Wall Street but without the rest of the general population your going to sink your own ship. The problem we face now is their is no money only debt. You value money I value humanity who do you think will win in the end. Money is a made up commodity that only existes in your computers the money that humanity has does not equal the money it owes. So keep cashing out on the expense of others and what do you think will happen. Our banking system can not be sustained without growth and we hit a global wall. An Investment in free energy is in great need to bring our world to piece.

Nov 18, 2011 10:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
Helixsnail wrote:

Francis55 – you quote Capone, but his quote is factual and his business was created by politicians passing prohibition. So the reason then is the reason now – get government out of business, it is not their job, they do not understand it, and each time they meddle – it gets worse.

Nov 18, 2011 10:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
ctblizzard100 wrote:

First off there are many great wealthy people who are very generous, job creating people who care. What we do have however, and what people fail to see is that a certain group of people have gamed the entire world economy and war machine to their advantage and risk taking everyone else down with them. Lets forget the opinions and move on to some facts (all verifiable in the news)…
1- Enron faked an elecricity shortage costing California and rate payers billions. They faked everything caused thousands their jobs, 401ks etc.

2- In 2008, in the midst of a meltdown oil prices surged on speculation. This was done with futures contracts and univ. endowments playing monopoly games and never taking delivery of oil which was backing up everywhere. While they played, the US consumers paid more for gas, oil , food etc. Food prices never came down.

3-Goldman boy has the insider trading scandal.

4- Corzine (former Goldman CEO) just bellyupped MF global and apparently misused customer accounts. Not 6 months ago, with good credit ratings a teachers pension fund invested hundreds of millions in that company. Now more job losses, frozen accounts and craziness.

5- A few weeks ago Merrill Lynch and Jp Morgan transferred some 70 TRILLION (yes trillion) in troubled derivatives into their banking arms of BOA and CHASe where the fdic and fed reserve back them up (look it up).

6-Goldman sold special products and derivatives to Greece that made their debt look lower so as not to be in violation of EU rules (look it up online). They also bailed on any risk and made millions.

7-Goldman (again in an article you can see online) developed really troubled subprimes just so Paulson can short them and sold them to investors. The money feeding into this process is what made the easy money for people. Not only were they not on the hook for failure but it was geared to make BILLIONS in profit if they failed.

8- Gas prices are still too high and oil is so plentiful they have nowhere to store it in Tulsa. They just reversed the pipeline. We have huge finds that could make us self -sufficient in 10 years. Yet we are always led to believe there is no more oil and “market forces this and that” its total BS. The liquidity that comes from falling prices in a down economy is being sucked up by onerous charges for food and fuel due to price manipulation.

9- Madoff and others, complete bogus frauds

10- The problems of the Govt in response to meltdowns caused by these ruling elite world gamers have led to increases in property taxes, user fees, cuts in services etc which are also hurting the middle class.

11- Rates being kept artificially low are allowing banks to make money on reserves without any risk so they wont lend. They get paid to hold deposits at feds while borrowing at zero percent. Its like me giving you a billion dollars then paying you to hold it.

These and thousands of other things have infiltrated our economy so much that now on a daily basis we dont know if once again crappy investments made in guaranteeing europes debts are going to take down our banking system while customers here pay for those problems.

Billions in fees are earned on pitiful investment scams while everyone holds the bag. Wall Street use to raise capital for mid to large size businesses now it plays games with billions and trillions using Govt backups and too big to fail.

WAKE THE HECK UP

Nov 18, 2011 10:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
oneye wrote:

“We work hard therefore we deserve the millions/billions, and that is the American Dream” seems to be the Marie Antoinette argument of Wall Street today.

To which I respond, thieves work hard, they are even called “professionals”. The difference is that a real professional has a client who benefits, and who can fire him if he fails, while a conman has a mark, a dupe, a victim who has no choice and is robbed and sacrificed.

Which is why the Wall Street gang of thieves should be forced to join Madoff, a very hard worker, in his palatial penitentiary.

Nov 18, 2011 10:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
kballard wrote:

There is a roulette wheel at the saloon in town. It’s a fun game to play and as long as you get some entertainment out of it, win a little – lose a little, it’s OK. We all know the house gets its cut and we play anyway. But, it’s assumed the game is honest. That’s the sheriff does; makes sure the game is legit and nothing gets out of hand. The problem is the saloon starts paying off the sheriff and so he allows the saloon to water down the drinks (higher profit margins), bring in some late night prostitution(customers demanded it), and lets the saloon begin cheating at the games — all for a little under-the-table-payback (off-hours ‘consulting fees’ and off-books payments). The city fathers also modify the zoning regulations so the legit casino down the street can’t get a business license and since the profits from the saloon aren’t nearly what the saloon owner wants (he needs a new buggy since the old one isn’t new enough and that new mistress is not cheap) he gets the town council to lower his taxes in exchange for supporting them in the next election. Since he has money, he’s also the major financier of the town bank now and decides who gets the loan and who gets foreclosed.
Why would anyone be upset and want to hang the Sheriff, the saloon owner, the town council and the banker when the people find out they are being cheated at every turn? If the people don’t like it, why don’t they just move to the next town? The 1% just does not get it.

Nov 18, 2011 10:14am EST  --  Report as abuse
Relax wrote:

“success “wasn’t a gift” and he had to work hard to get where he is.”

Burglars and muggers “work hard” also, but that doesn’t make what they do a reasonable way to make a living. The only difference is the law has caught up to simple crime and hasn’t yet been enacted for more complex crimes.

Nov 18, 2011 10:20am EST  --  Report as abuse
MhD wrote:

These comments really reinforce the article. Driven by feelings of guilt, I’m sure, Wall Street continues to fan the flames of hubris. The massive risk machine (securitized mortgages) seized because all those brilliant Wall Street managers failed to have the necessary capital to counter the risk. But instead of paying their dues for failed management; i.e., collapse with many, many, many, many of you loosing your jobs, along comes a new economic principle: too big to fail. OK, perhaps its LOLR with a new name but whatever.

The kick in the teeth is that many still go on like nothing happened with their righteous attitudes towards OWS as if somehow a multi-billion bailout is just another day on the job. Wall Street had a massive failings that landed a right hook to the global economy and the very same government you like to blame bailed you out. Simply admitting it would frankly ease a lot of the tensions.

Nov 18, 2011 10:20am EST  --  Report as abuse
txgadfly wrote:

Since the clauses of the Constitution that protect lower 99% individuals have been stripped (the right to assemble and petition the Government and freedom of speech of biological citizens), we need to strip the ex-post facto prosecution clause and go after the crooks in our Government who are responsible for this repression.

All public employees making under $75,000. should be exempt from prosecution and the higher paid individuals violating our rights should be tried for treason, and not in our current “kangaroo court” system either. We need new judges, new courts to prosecute high ranking traitors, especially those paid by our taxes. Including current “judges” who do not protect the People.

Nov 18, 2011 10:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
rseer wrote:

Thank you for the alarming article. I didn’t realize the problem OWS was protesting was as deeply entrenched or as extreme as they have been telling us it is. Making fun of the protesters or telling them they’re wrong, like “roneida” does below is the equivalent of burying your head in the sand. History as some lessons to teach us about this kind of divide and the callous indifferent the wealthy bourgeoisie have for the common man. The statements quoted from the Wall Street wealthy in this article sound almost exactly like Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake.” We all know what happened to Marie Antoinette and the majority of the bourgeoisie in France, when the divide was as extreme and as polarized as it is now with us: they were executed by the public. I’m sure they thought it was a mob at the time, but today we know the public were “freedom fighers”, “rebels”, and “democratic nation-builders.” That spirit remains alive in Americans today, so the small remaining distance between today’s contempt-laden standoff and the guillotine is what surprised and alarmed (and in some ways pleased) me. I don’t think most of France’s bourgeoisie realized what was about to happen before it did. Neither do these sneering ingrates on Wall Street. I suspect that, to cover their shame at causing so much suffering, they too resorted to blaming their victims. The solipsism of paying politicians to create the conditions for the meltdown, and then blaming them when it occurred, profiting all the while, is the outrage that could set the tinder afire.

Nov 18, 2011 10:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
GNifty wrote:

roneida – YOU are my hero! I couldn’t agree more.

Nov 18, 2011 10:23am EST  --  Report as abuse
oneye wrote:

roneida exhibits exactly the myopia mentioned in the article, he sits on high blaming the poor, inadvertently bolstering the thesis that the rich sit on high like French aristocracy.

The fools protesting the bankers cannot get a mortgage and couldn’t afford a house if they could. Ah, but I forgot, property is for rich people only, so they can extract their rightful rent from the the wage-slaves and GIs. That idea, of course, comes right of aristocracy, the landed gentry, who rightfully oppress and abuse and rob the unwashed peasants.

roneida, I know one man who was foreclosed on because he needed $60,000 to pay the surgeon to save his soldier son’s leg after the VA decided they would only pay for amputation. I was foreclosed on by pure unadulterated corruption and greed, because the bank and the insurer were one, a barrier removed by corrupt politicians paid for by the very banksters who then robbed me.

Yes, it is the job of bankers to turn down loans that do not meet minimum criteria, but my whole life I have seen games, crookery, fraud, cronyism and corruption in banking. Yes, the crooks in Washington are part of the bigger picture, and the fools protesting are well aware that the government is allowing the banksters free reign.

Nov 18, 2011 10:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
sanitychecker wrote:

anonomouser wrote: “If you don’t want to loose your money, put it into FDIC insured CDs and don’t complain that you are only getting a 0.5% return on it.”

Besides the bad spelling of the word “lose”, anonomouser shows just how ignorant he is of the FDIC’s current situation. They are functionally bankrupt, even though no one is willing to admit it. For goodness sake, they had to demand that the big banks put up three years’ worth of premiums this time last year because they didn’t have enough cash on hand to cover anticipated bank losses for 2011. Imagine how bad the situation is now, given that the premiums for the next two years have already been spent!

So no, there’s nothing “safe” about putting your money in an FDIC insured account!

Nov 18, 2011 10:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
Discovery451 wrote:

“Kind of reminds you of “Let them eat cake,” doesn’t it?

Nov 18, 2011 10:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

Many of the comments are a sad, sad reflection of the deductive powers of some citizens.

To those who say it’s not Wall Street’s fault, and that those who take exception to its greedy ways should take their complaints to DC: perhaps you should re-read the article and take note about Jon Corzine.

Our politicians ARE the same faces as Wall Street. Wall Street and politics have become one in the same. Get it?

Just ask Newt: he gets it to the tune of $1.6 million in “consulting fees” from his buddies at Freddie Mac!

Nov 18, 2011 10:33am EST  --  Report as abuse
CPA1976 wrote:

Snobs and fascists don’t like to see public soup kitchens where people who are out of jobs get together and support each other. It is un-American in their minds. Poor people are supposed to slit their neighbor’s throat and take his food or at least pay for it by a long boring sermon about how you’re probably going to Hell.

Nov 18, 2011 10:35am EST  --  Report as abuse
Tom1934 wrote:

It is plain to see that the ROOT CAUSE of our ergonomic and social malaise began with Reagan’s takedown of our progressive income tax income tax. It continues o induce rip-offs the likes of Fannie and Freddie managers to rip-of all they can in the short term. Their mindset is to take away all they possibly can and top hell with the long term nd th welafat]re of shareholders customers and employees. They have driven JOBS (customers), CAPABILITY and CAPITAL overseas. Most elected officials of both parties are complicit in this. #OWS, so we of the 99% must vote them out!

Nov 18, 2011 10:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
BrianCosgrove wrote:

This is an exceptional article because it takes the time to examine some of the ideological thinking that gets in the way of the solutions required. Well done. Keep the focus and keep pushing in a Steve Job’s kind of way. If we address and fix our problems with a vision towards the future we can restore the economy to a state where everyone can participate. To some this mess is class envy, but this article confirms the bigger picture. We lack focused leadership. Paul McCulley is right, it is time to make housing the priority. The current housing finance system isn’t working and it is a massive drag on the economy. The system doesn’t need tweaking, it needs to be replaced with something that addresses the realities of this century.

Nov 18, 2011 10:40am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@skyman…

Please link me to some “real” analysis, because by your current comments you are completely delusional to think the government played no role in this. You are plainly incorrect in this notion.
If you would read my comments before posting your ill informed rebuttal you might see that I said that the bailouts were necessary; namely, because the depository institutions holding more than 2/3 of all American deposits were going to fail because they made risky investments with capital backed by deposits. Why were they allowed to do this? Because congress repealed Glass Steagall with the Gramm Leach Bliley act – is that an explicit enough example of where government played a significant role? I think so. To disagree is delusional.
Further you go on to make comments about Henry Ford, where again, your viewpoint is laughable. Henry Ford created jobs and employed people, he didn’t say “let me pay my fair share in taxes to help these people out”. No, he started a business that employed people. The solution to our economic woes is to make our economy a competitive place for domestic investment and, increasingly, FDI.
Warren Buffet compared what was largely capital gains taxes that he paid to income taxes paid by his secretary. But, to be more pointed, if you want to speak of taxes, AGAIN, that is an issue to take up with the government. Do you have an issue with blaming our government and being realistic about where the change sneed to occur? Example: You don’t like money in politics, take it up with the government. Not the industry who plays the game by the rules set by government.
Finally, I do not know what you mean by C in front of your name, perhaps cheeseburger flipper, but if you intend to imply that you’re a corporate bigwig I would argue to you are terribly ignorant to have climbed that far up the corporate ladder. Start looking at the big picture instead of one sliver of the pie. Paying more taxes is not going to solve the problem and if you’re willing to help America “by any other means” why don’t you educate yourself about what needs to be done to fix our structural issue and make our economy competitive.

Nov 18, 2011 10:43am EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

KYfarmer wrote: “Less government intervention = creativity, industry and access to income for more, while making us competitive on the world stage.”

Typical right-wing drivel. Gov’t money for me: good. Gov’t money for others: bad.

Put your money where your mouth is, KYfarmer, and kindly send those farm subsidies back the Treasury.

Nov 18, 2011 10:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
John-B wrote:

I guess the OWS demonstrations made a good “man bites dog” story for the media, but not in a million years would I trust such a mob of utopians and socialists with my financial future. Are there problems with Wall Street and its regulators? Of course – there always have been and always will be to one extent or another. This is not different from any other activity run by fallible humans. There is also a problem with people who buy what they cannot afford and then look to someone else to fix the problem they helped create. These problems, all of them, should be methodically fixed as they are discovered and not in pannicked reaction to sensationalized headlines. If you don’t approve of what a bank or investment firm is doing, don’t patronize them. If you don’t think your congressman is minding the store properly, vote for somebody else. In terms of those who feel abused, I would speculate that the “pain” felt over the past few years may pale in comparison to that which might occur in consequence of our national debt. I just hope somebody smarter than I am can figure out how the US can escape what’s happening in Europe.

Nov 18, 2011 10:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

“He who takes usury for a loan of money acts unjustly, for he sells what does not exist. It is wrong in itself to take a price (usury) for the use of money lent, and as in the case of other offenses against justice, one is bound to make restitution of his unjustly acquired money.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

Nov 18, 2011 10:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
EddC wrote:

I wish the Occupy Wall Streeters were presenting a clear unified message, just like I wished health care reform would rid the industry of bad and cheating doctors and medical providers.
The problem is that the wall street gang was doing what they do best, create money, they are just like an alligator when he eats your favorite dog who wandered too close to the waters edge. The facliator was our governemnt who’s policies and many traditional financial safety requirements basicly lulled the American public into thinking that everything an institutional lender did was overseen by some agency. For many years you couldn’t get a home loan with less than 20% down payment and for payments amounting to more than 25% of your monthly income. People still assumed that the reasons these requirements were in place were the same reasons these banker folks were lending them the money, years before most individuals were qualified. Simply put they trusted the USA to oversee and to not let anyone loan them money they couldn’t afford to lose. Historically low interest rates made homes and ready cash from refinancing more affordable than ever, damn near money for nothing. The Chinese provided the money and the bankers took Clinton’s desire for more home affordability to a Las Vegas style pyramid scheme.
The real problem is that our expensive over seas wars and big tax breaks made it to where the US Governemnt needed this cheap low interest money more than the consumer. Simply put, then and today the USA would go broke if we had to pay a 6% interest rate on US Bonds.
So now we are printing our way out of it. No worry two thirds of that new money will wind up over seas and be produced faster than they can counterfit our currency.

Nov 18, 2011 10:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

” “The most hated sort (of wealth getting) and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange but not to increase at interest.”

Aristotle

Nov 18, 2011 10:56am EST  --  Report as abuse
DCX2 wrote:

I approve of this article. Bravo, Matthew Goldstein and Jennifer Ablan

Nov 18, 2011 10:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
IonOtter wrote:

WE DON’T BEGRUDGE YOU A PROFIT! God }@##!+, we don’t CARE that you made a lot of money! We LIKE THAT! It is GOOD! Yay! Whoo-hoo! Bravo! Well done! That’s the American Way.

What we are angry about, is that CRIMINALS pulled down their pants and squatted over a shoe box. They strained a vein in their heads, and squeezed out the biggest crap this world has ever seen. Those criminals then put the lid on the shoebox and wrapped it in pretty paper.

Mind you, YOU PEOPLE are watching this! You’re watching the whole process!

The criminals then take the now-pretty box of crap, and bring it to the High Priests of Finance at Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poors. The priests liked the look of the pretty paper on the box of crap, and put their official seal on it. Now, blessed by the High Priests of Finance, the criminals took this officially recognized box of crap, and started cutting it into smaller boxes. And just to make sure nobody could ever small the crap inside, they put each box into ANOTHER box, and added even MORE pretty wrapping paper.

Now, EVEN THOUGH YOU HAD BEEN WATCHING FROM THE VERY START…you idiots bought those boxes. Because YOU KNEW you could peddle them like hotcakes.

YOU KNEW IT WAS WRONG!
YOU KNEW IT WAS ILLEGAL!
YOU KNEW IT WOULD FAIL!
YOU KNEW SOMEONE WOULD EVENTUALLY OPEN THE BOX AND FIND THE CRAP INSIDE!

But the money was Just. That. Good.

You knew, that no matter how much trouble you got into over this, you would be making SO MUCH MONEY, that you didn’t have to worry about being arrested. Taking you down would throw such a huge wrench into the financial system, that the government would have no choice but to let you get away with it.

That.

Is why we are angry.

Nov 18, 2011 11:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
bloggerswamp wrote:

Real Name: Doug Pederson AKA SpectateSwamp
The OWS’ers are in exactly the right spot. Everybody that says they should occupy this or that are full of B.S. Of course there should be secondary targets like the Chamber of Commerce because they rig political forums and steal elections for their business candidates. As for having no clear objectives and that a leader should step forward with a list of demands; again B.S. They will just target that individual for DEATH in hopes that will end the Occupation.

Good going Occupiers boo Wall Streeters. Your day is done.

Nov 18, 2011 11:04am EST  --  Report as abuse
gruven137 wrote:

Mooney nailed the whole thing at the beginning of this article when he said: “I don’t say this lightly, but the consumer is simply an income stream, and exploiting that is the purpose of the banking organization.”

I will take it a step further and say “most corporations” out there also view their “workers” as an income stream whose “purpose” is to be exploited.

All the anger out there isn’t just about the “1 percenters” exploiting weaknesses in the system for their own personal gain, it’s also about all the mega-corporations who have been exploiting this recession and using it to beat their employees over the head, by making them work harder for the same or less pay and reducing their benefits.

The same massive disconnect this article is trying to explain about Wall Street, is also present between the upper levels of management and the lower level workers in most corporations.

Nov 18, 2011 11:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
Sindur wrote:

I don’t disagree that the government is largely to blame for the social and economic issues in our country but that doesn’t mean that Wall Street holds no blame at all. It was wrong to bail out the banks, I don’t care how much their failures would have hurt depositors, it was a complete failure of the capitalist system to save dying companies. If your business model fails no one should save you, however, to take that bail out money and hand a portion of it out as million dollar bonuses was at the very least disturbingly irresponsible and at most disgustingly criminal.
Part of the problem here is that these people on Wall Street would complain that the financial problems eat into their bonuses, most of the corporations in out country have stopped giving out bonuses to anyone but the executives and many have made pay cuts and refuse to give raises. It might behoove them to consider reducing their own pay a bit rather than laying off employees, I understand the thought process behind the claims that they worked hard to get where they are but no one actually needs millions of dollars in bonuses alone every year to be successful.
It’s disturbing to me that billionaires and multi-millionaires don’t see themselves as the elite, it shows a complete disconnection from the world around them. Perhaps they should get out of their penthouse apartments and talk to a few less than wealthy people about what’s going on. It can actually be quite liberating, I spent the last year living in complete poverty and traveling and I learned a great deal in the process. I hitchhiked around, had discussions with the homeless, interviewed some of them and wrote down my own stories and experiences. I’m used to living in a lifestyle where I don’t make all that much money but I could afford to buy a video game when I want one, build myself a nice PC and an entertainment center with a 52 inch TV and surround sound, and keep all of the standard things you need to live a typical American life, car, house, whatever. I never make much but I get to enjoy what I have. Living as a homeless person, by choice mind you, taught me that, while that stuff is all fun, it’s not required to enjoy life. I feel I need far less now than I did before I left and yes, I have a job again.
The attitude that these people show is simple greed, whether they’re thinking ‘how many people can I screw to make money today?’ or ‘how can I invest a hundred million today?’ is irrelevant, they’re still knowingly setting policies that hurt their customers in order to make that next buck and maintain a lifestyle far and above the rest of American culture.
I agree that the American dream is to work hard and therefore make money, the harder you work the more successful you’ll be. For many of us that is no longer the case, people work 60 hour weeks and still can’t pay their bills and the child sits at home with no one to give them the emotional and moral support they need to properly develop. At the same time the government cuts funding to education while they send billions the way of the banks and the military. Without education it won’t be long before no one can even figure out what a Wall Street executive does, much less become one. Please don’t feed me the home school line either, ignorant people can’t effectively teach other ignorant people.

Nov 18, 2011 11:08am EST  --  Report as abuse
CPA1976 wrote:

What Skyman is doing is holding PEOPLE accountable. Most in the West tend to blame organizations because it is safe to do so. Organizations are protected by the government and their members act with impunity. Blaming the “Government” and “Companies” is safe. When people like Dexter start seeking out the guilty, then we will see change. :)

Nov 18, 2011 11:09am EST  --  Report as abuse
0okm9ijn wrote:

Policy makers and the few beneficiaries of the largess of their policies, the Wallstreeters, fail to get it! OWS is against both Wall Street as well as Washington, they are both faces of the same evil. OWS is not against paying our debts, with the legitimate interest accrued on the debts, neither are we in favor of those that took more mortgage than necessary. The policies driven solely by the profit out of Wall Street, how high the stock rises, privatizing our security and military adventures, oil spillage, breeding winners and losers. These are few of what OWS stands for. It’s organic and cannot be stopped until the cancer that runs through our policies and politics are finally stopped.

Nov 18, 2011 11:13am EST  --  Report as abuse
CDShaffer wrote:

I guess I can understand how the financial types don’t get what the anger is about. Let’s eliminate all these “bucket shop” financial instruments. No more betting on stocks. Make the market be for simply trading stocks again. Most of these geniuses would be out on the street with OWS. American has to focus on creating real value. These complex instruments only pull money out of the real market into the pockets of these guys where it does no good.

Nov 18, 2011 11:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
Vigv wrote:

roneida wrote:
It ‘s not Wall Street’s job to keep ignorant fools from signing $400,000 mortgages when they earn $31000 per year.
____________

Honestly the bank shouldn’t come begging for a bail out when it loans someone money who couldn’t pay it back. Eat the loss and make wise choices about who you give your money too.

Ultimately who is at fault, the person who applied for a loan they should have never been approved for? Or the idiot who handed over the money knowing it was money down the drain?

Banks abandoned their long held practices of properly vetting the people they gave money too and that lead to a lot of the problems we face today. They handed out the bad loans because they could be passed onto investors for a tidy short term profit.

Nov 18, 2011 11:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
ScottSkog wrote:

First of all, I have to introduce myself. I’m not a financial wizard, but rather a former US Army Sergeant who used the GI bill to get an Agricultural degree. And now have worked as a tree farmer for the past 18 years. I once couldn’t care less about politics, and in fact was a Bush supporter because I believed what he was telling us. But when his own men came out and started telling us he was lying I started paying attention.

I can’t just ignore all the those making unsubstantiated statements about the cause of this economic collapse.

1. How can we blame the average American for this meltdown? If the value of all the homes being foreclosed upon since 2007 equals just a tad bit over $1 trillion… Then how come our Nation lost $20 trillion in wealth in the 2008 collapse?

The answer? Has to be Wall Street

2. And the Community Reinvestment Act…folks here are blaming the Democrats for forcing Banks to loan to poor minorities. Well if you listen to Sheila Bair, (Bush appointee to head the FDIC and the worlds 2nd most powerful Woman behind Angela Merkel according to Forbes a few years back) she reveals the CRA is innocent of all charges. In fact she points out only 5% of all loans made under the CRA failed. http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-home-front/2008/12/17/sheila-bair-stop-blaming-the-community-reinvestment-act

2. The belief that Barney Frank used his power to stop GOP attempts to reign in Fanny and Freddy back in 2004. This is nothing but dishonest scapegoating. The congress was controlled by Republicans 100% back then and the GOP wasn’t attempting to overhaul Fanny and Freddy, but rather trying to switch oversight from congress to the Whitehouse. And the kicker is this…The very next year in 2005 Bush announced an initiative to fund through Fanny and Freddy 5.5 million more minority families to buy Homes. http://archives.hud.gov/initiatives/blueprint/blueprint.

So, since I have to get to work I’m going to end this right here with one of my favorite quotes.

“The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.” -Antisthenes (444 B.C-371 B.C.)

Nov 18, 2011 11:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
CDShaffer wrote:

“It’s not the function of “Wall Street” to look out for the workers or the employers.” Well it IS the function of Wall Street to not lose their clients money on stupid, risky investments. If a borrower could not pay back a loan, then the lender has a responsibility to it’s customers to not loan that money. But in Wall Street’s mind, Wall Street’s only function is to grab short term profit and then beg the taxpayers that you have screwed to bail you out.

Nov 18, 2011 11:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
Sindur wrote:

@Jacob76
Your idea that the people on Wall Street, which I’m assuming you number among from you comment, are superior is completely delusional. I promise you I, and many like me are equally as intelligent and skilled at what we do. What sets the people on Wall Street and in the government apart isn’t superiority but a lack or morality or ethics. I could screw people over and make a million too, I could do so in a variety of ways by exploiting the ignorant, the gullible, the weak willed, but I refuse to do so because I have morality and integrity. If I’m going to make millions I’ll do it without stepping on everyone who gets in my way.
The truth, however, is that I don’t actually need millions, or even want it, many of us just want to live a simple, comfortable life. I number among those people and if I rise into any position of power it will be, simply put, to fight against people like you in an attempt to level the playing field for my fellow man.
The human race has so much potential but as long as we spend all of our time exploiting each other and stepping on each other’s toes we’ll never see that potential realized. We will continue to be morally bankrupt primates fighting over who gets the shiny little trinket.

Nov 18, 2011 11:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
Vigv wrote:

Libertarian1960 wrote:
when you signed up for your 401K, the part that said you could lose some or all of your investment? They meant it, and you signed off on it.
__________
Where in the fine print does it say they are going to make it nearly impossible to get your money out before things collapse?

What about fund managers who tell you over and over again “don’t worry I’m watching your money, that’s why you pay me so well”
Then you get your statement and they’ve been happily collecting fees and sleeping behind the wheel as the fund tanks.

Where does it say in the fine print, that they are going to advise people to leave their money in because its the “long view” approach to investing when they really mean “your 401k is what I hope you leave in so the fund stays solvent while I move my money somewhere else that is safer”.

The whole “I’m here to help you achieve your goals” is now, “oh you didn’t know I was going to stab you in the back, ha sucker!”
All I can say is don’t be shocked when are pissed off over the two faced behavior. I hope the violation of trust was worth it and you have a nice little bunker to crawl into.

Nov 18, 2011 11:29am EST  --  Report as abuse
KyuuAL wrote:

If Government won’t prosecute the guilty among those in Wall Street – the people will take it to the streets. And they have.

Also, continuation on the crackdown on this movement will only increase its size. Be warned 1%.

Nov 18, 2011 11:30am EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:

@GreenMarine…great quote, very interesting.

But, in practice, people borrow money on credit to be used in exchange, and the cost of credit is denoted in % terms.

Someone who signs a CC agreement to pay 20% interest is agreeing to pay 20% interest. There is no reason to hate the lnder for money one willingly borrowed.

Nov 18, 2011 11:36am EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@CDShaffer

“These complex instruments only pull money out of the real market into the pockets of these guys where it does no good.”

Hits the nail on the head. Protesting Wall Street’s casino “capitalism” form is not an act of socialism; its an act of true capitalism. Parasitic usury is a drain on the real economy.

Mainstreet will get its pound of flesh back one way or the other. The question is will banksters go quietly, or will the people have to fight them to return their ill-gotten gains. The mansion burnings of the 1930s come to mind… just an observation, not a call to action.

Nov 18, 2011 11:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
zEthics wrote:

OWS protestors want federal banking and market regulators “to promote a market environment that is worthy of the public’s trust and characterized by transparency and integrity,” (Reference: “Vision,” SEC 2010 Performance and Accountability Report).

Recent reports (The Conference Board, Lehman Brothers’ examiner, etc.) cite a failure of corporate oversight as a leading contributor to the financial crisis.

“The SEC and Citigroup are trying to bully Federal Judge Jed Rakoff into rubber-stamping a sweetheart settlement for a massive fraud. That’s bad enough, but the SEC has also locked arms with Citigroup to make sure as little information as possible is disclosed to the Judge and the public about the settlement and Citigroup’s fraudulent deal.”

“That will ensure that there’s no oversight or accountability of either Citigroup or the SEC, which appears to be selling out to another big, powerful, well-connected Wall Street bank.”

“The settlement is so pathetically small and the disclosure is so minimal that it actually rewards
securities fraud and sends the message to Wall Street that crime pays.”

Any settlement between the SEC and Citigroup must include provisions that officers and directors get serious about corporate oversight to protect against repeat violations.

Finally, Potential losses on Bank of America’s massive $75 trillion book of risky derivative contracts has just been dumped onto the FDIC by the Federal Reserve. In another crisis, the FDIC does not have the resources to absorb potentially huge losses from Bank of America’s derivative bets. Furthermore, without massive government guarantees, there would be no buyer for a failed Bank of America given the open ended risks involved. To prevent complete panic by the public from a looming failure of Bank of America, the Fed, FDIC and US Treasury would again have to provide virtually unlimited financial support, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.

OWS protestors want
- Public disclosure that makes it so painful on Officers and Directors that they take corporate oversight seriously – Corporate Oversight worthy of the public’s trust
- Investor Protection worthy of the Public’s Trust
- Fraud deterrence worthy of the public’s trust
- Executive Compensation worthy of the public’s trust

OWS protestors want a fair playing field so they can live the American dream.

Nov 18, 2011 11:42am EST  --  Report as abuse
diluded0000 wrote:

To those of you who say OWS should be in DC protesting: I agree. The fact that you make that comment indicates you understand the corruption they are protesting.

To those of you who say: mortgagees shouldn’t have signed the loans they couldn’t pay. If you all thoroughly read and understood all the paperwork you signed when you closed your house, I will eat my boots.

To those of you who make rational arguments against the protesters: Thanks. I disagree with you, but you have a right to your opinion and I will read it and think about it.

To those of you who make mocking and insulting comments (for or against): Go away. You are the friggin problem here. Your spouting off at the mouth is dividing the nation from what should be a common enemy.

Nov 18, 2011 11:46am EST  --  Report as abuse
Peripeton wrote:

You people don’t get it! The problem is with making money out of thin air!! That is what our problem is. Speculation and manipulation can bring billions of profits to some, without any work or without contributing anything useful to society. THIS is our problem. Now you get it? Well, we’re gonna stop this parasitic way of life whether you want it or not.

Nov 18, 2011 12:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@Jaham

You are quite right that borrowers are culpable in this mess. Lenders, however, seem to be the party that receives gov’t support. Capitalism is not a heads I win, tales you lose proposition. That is called corruption. I don’t hate lenders, but I hate greed and corruption. How can interest be earned for risk, when there is no risk to the lending institution?

I’m not against all interest btw, but consider how dollars created mostly out of thin air (credit) and interest charged on it affects the real production of goods and services.

We have a situation where there are literally trillions of dollars out there that came into existence not because of real goods and services produced, but because of promises to repay. Those fictitious dollars are either going to disappear in the form of losses (which lenders steadfastly refuse) or we are going to reap a whirlwind in inflation.

St. Thomas Aquinas was right: how can you sell what doesn’t exist?

Nov 18, 2011 12:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
nyteloki wrote:

Jaham, I agree that the government bares a lot of the blame. They may have had good intensions, but their means of interaction were clumsy at best. Both parties are to blame as each attempts to do what they see as best for the nation, and both fail to understand the consequences of their actions. The credit card interest rate limits and debit card fee restrictions are to recent examples.

Speaking of credit, I think the easy access to credit is part of the problem. It encourages people to live beyond their means. I think restricting access to credit would probably have the most desirable affect, though it would probably mean more hardship short term.

BrianCosgrove, what would you replace the system with? What are the realities of this century?

Nov 18, 2011 12:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
2cartalkers wrote:

Quoting from a line in the movie Cool Hand Luke—”What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Nov 18, 2011 12:18pm EST  --  Report as abuse
go2goal wrote:

Is history going to repeat itself…but this time in the US?

The bankers better get over their myopia and they better re-familiarize themselves with the rise of Hitler and the root cause behind the rise of the 3rd reich. When the wealthy banks turned their exploitative and greedy screws too far, and lunatic was able to gain the emotions and the support of the masses.

Blame the government and the congress you say….if we look at the facts on how the big banks (led by Citi and Mr. Prince) managed to have Glass-Steagal repealed, then we realize the government is basically owned by the big banks. MONEY is power in the US….and the banks have all of our money…even in bad times, they manage to scam (TARP) tax payers for money.

Nov 18, 2011 12:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@Jaham I agree that the government needs reform and with pretty much all of what you have said here. The point I want to make is that the people need to be reformed if we’re going to make good government reforms. In other words, the solution is not to change the government but to change ourselves. This is the ONLY solution that will work. Once we as a people (at least the majority of the people) accomplish good individual reform, a reformed government will naturally result. I am happy to see that many ARE making changes in their lives and very sad to see that many are continuing to make excuses. Anyway, my suggestion is that you continue to promote government reform but please also include in your analysis the need for personal reform.

Nov 18, 2011 12:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
nyteloki wrote:

@Vigv

Your observations are correct about the banks abandoning their long held practices, but why did they do that? It was because they were forced to by the government in the interest of “fairness.” Well guess what, in “fairness” all income tax payers ended up paying the bill when the market collapsed.

Nov 18, 2011 12:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Marla wrote:

I predict that the OWS movement will eventually put down roots in Washington D.C. and begin to also address the pressing issue of government spending. We need to begin to talk about the waste of tax payers monies on the industrial military complex and other programs that do not benefit our populace.

Nov 18, 2011 12:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
SeniorMoment wrote:

According to an October research report in New Scientist magazine, in an report also available free online,the pool of directors of 147 corporations that are mostly, but not only banks control over 40% of the wealth of 43,000 transnational companies. So what we have is a pool of board members that in aggregate can’t exceed twice the size of Congress has effective control of global growth. The laws governing Wall Street made this possible as far as the U. S. companies involved. And, since in practice board members are nearly always those recommended by the CEO, 147 mostly men control world growth. By any reasonable standards that is an unacceptable concentration of wealth. To continue this and since after all the boards are the productions of the CE0 all of that top tier of company CEO;s are handsomely paid.

The Occupy Wall Street Protest and even the location of the one in New York City were highly appropriate. The camp was on the plaza in front of Deutche Bank, which is number 12 on the list. Right now the protests are peaceful with only a few extremists and some normally homeless people on the fringe, but the potential exists for widespread civil disobedience and destruction of the companies identified. The middle class has been getting poorer at 300% of the rate for the top 10% in annual income.

Nov 18, 2011 12:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
nyteloki wrote:

Diluded0000: I just recently closed on my house (Citi bank). I did read all the documentation to make sure I understood it and what was expected of me. It scared the crap out of me that there might be a loop hole that would allow the bank to null and void my mortgage or take my house. Unfortunately, I had to do most of the reading *after* I signed, because the bank had a schedule to meet and I was only given 1 hour to read all of the paper work (not enough time to throughly read and understand the legalize). Sure they gave me three days to backout but that ticked me off. If there is one thing that needs to be regulated, it is giving bank clients the time to read all of the documents involved before they sign.

Now I do not expect you to eat your boots, as I did not read and understand everything when I signed. But I did before the window for backing out closed.

My problem with OWS is most of the members do not seem to understand what you say they are protesting. If they did, they would be in DC. I do not like their lack of organization or unifying message as it opens them up to being hijacked by people observing the movement.

Nov 18, 2011 12:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

“Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City.”

That’s what the drug dealers say. Paulson, just because you make money doesn’t mean you’re not a scumbag. A thief is a thief. And it can be taken back.

Nov 18, 2011 12:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tiger_fish wrote:

Unless and until the US disentangles government and business, we will all pay the costs of corruption — weak government and a “business class” that competes in a tournament whose rules and results are de-coupled from real world economic outcomes. Japan has never solved this problem and is still paying the costs. We should learn from their bad example, and re-separate business and state.

Nov 18, 2011 12:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse

I hate to say it. But if the wizards of Washington and our financial institutions do not understand peaceful expression of occupy wallstreet. If they don’t listen and take it to heart and actually make some changes to the me first mentality the peaceful expression of occupy wallstreet could become mob mentality because down through history it seems that when people are finally forced to become violent they finally become heard at some level.

Nov 18, 2011 12:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

“Debts between the very wealthy or between governments can always be renegotiated and always have been throughout world history. … It’s when you have debts owed by the poor to the rich that suddenly debts become a sacred obligation, more important than anything else. The idea of renegotiating them becomes unthinkable.” -David Graeber

McCulley noted that mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been propped up by about $169 billion in federal aid since they were rescued by the government in 2008, yet there’s a “a moral overtone” to the argument against reducing mortgage debt burdens for individual borrowers.

“Wall Street capitalism has given us a foul stench in our society,” says McCulley.

The disconnect continues.

Nov 18, 2011 1:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

Just this week, top executives at Fannie and Freddie found themselves drawing fire on Capitol Hill for trying to distribute nearly $13 million in bonuses to key employees.

And the October 31 collapse of MF Global Holdings is prompting some critics to say Wall Street hasn’t learned any lessons from the financial crisis. The futures brokerage house filed for bankruptcy after investors and traders became fearful that MF Global had taken on too much exposure to European sovereign debt in a bid to juice revenues.

The risky trade was put on by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs Group chief executive. Last year, Corzine was saying Wall Street investment banks had taken on too much risk in the months leading up to the financial crisis. On the lecture circuit Corzine was calling for tighter regulation of Wall Street, even while his firm was borrowing more and more money to bet on some of the riskiest European debt. A Corzine representative declined to comment. (link.reuters.com/xad25s).

William Cohan, the author of several Wall Street-related books and a former Lazard investment banker, said MF Global was acting as if the 2007-2008 crisis never happened: “You would have to be living under a rock if you didn’t get the message of the financial crisis.”

Nov 18, 2011 1:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

“Debts between the very wealthy or between governments can always be renegotiated and always have been throughout world history. … It’s when you have debts owed by the poor to the rich that suddenly debts become a sacred obligation, more important than anything else. The idea of renegotiating them becomes unthinkable.” -David Graeber

Nov 18, 2011 1:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
limapie wrote:

Wall Street-mortgage loan writers- know about the “other side.”
They just don’t care to do anything about it.
They are enjoying their position in this self-fashioned market
and have no desire, nor personal incentive to change direction. Heck, they even get big bonuses to persist and to never become moral.
And this is why the protest…a just protest.

The market isn’t working correctly as in the old days because
financial companies–flush with cash— bundled loans and resold them.
Some even resold them again, and again…hot potato syndrom…so that
gambling chances could ALSO be sold on when the bundles would default.
(The poison arrow meant to hurt market competitors. )

Well, the new owners are many investors who demand return on their investment. The new owners, if they kept the bundles, hired servicers to manage the bundles and these services then would earn their living from fees to all parties.

The servicers just can’t writedown any loan, and clean it up proper—because it isn’t theirs to reduce and correct. It’s like a hotel clerk that can’t just give comp rooms to customers who’ve discovered that their room is dirty. The hotel clerk just can’t give away something for nothing because the hotel is not owned by the
clerk. The clerk would first need permission from the hotel owner’s
to compensate any one customer. And the hotel owners are silent partner’s, who no one knows their name!(?) And if the clerk DID offer just compensation–without permission, they’d be seeing less money for themself ’cause they’d be fired!

So the catch. Poor Joe mortgage holder sees his house value “dirtied,”
lower than what he paid for. It was “dirtied” because the mortgage
loan writers —in concert–didn’t properly care for the market. Poor Joe mortgage holder owes more than the house is worth. He can’t really sell, ’cause that wouldn’t wipe away the mortgage. He would still owe!

But he can’t pay because he has no income–a secondary result of purposeful neglect of the market! He is trapped.

Thus, he needs to go through foreclosure and homelessness…instead of
write-down because the mortgage loan writers’ servicers don’t have permission to reduce the debt and make the dirty mortgage proper.

The protesters are justified in their pointing of finger.

Wall Street needs to listen now. When the warmer spring comes, this protest will become louder and louder as the market gets trashed into a deeper pit where the 99% now live. The 1% living on the upper rim should notice that their hole which they’ve enjoyed thus far is dug in sand and as every knows how sand collapses…this will become a greater possibility…no one wins, all 100% will find bottom unless Wall Street grows a real moral conscience.

This excuse that Wall Street has worked for their wages is total nonsense. Real work deserves real pay. Obscene work, dirty work deserves nothing except just contempt.

I’m with the protest. Good for you! And thank you.

Nov 18, 2011 1:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
chli wrote:

they got this before anyone else. evidence: Warren Buffet ask Fed let him pay more tax before the OWS started. They knew it’s coming.

Nov 18, 2011 1:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@David The only thing that more violence by the OWS people proves is that they are indeed unworthy of being american citizens. If they are wise they will follow the route that the Tea Party movement took. It resulted in kicking out some of the bums in Washington and replacing them with better. Their goals have already been met with some success (whether your agree with their goals or not). If OWS is a legitimate American movement they will do the same. Otherwise they are, in my opinion, unamerican; using unamerican processes to make the changes they desire. Violence is not the answer if OWS wants to end tyranny and fix America’s ailments.

Nov 18, 2011 1:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
JLWR wrote:

“In conversations with nearly two dozen current and former bankers, finance professionals and money managers across the United States, the prevailing sentiment is that the anger at Wall Street’s elite is misguided and misdirected. Blame the politicians and policymakers in Washington, many of them say, for encouraging people to buy homes they couldn’t afford and doing nothing to stop or discourage U.S. consumers from piling on more than $10 trillion in household debt.”

How wrong they are adn how arrogant. I don’t even own a home (never did) and I have no credit card debt at all and I’m angry as he$$ at the greed and disgusting con games run by Wall Street and their bankers as well as the entire Washington DC revolving political machine including all the lobbyists. You are destroying my life and any future retirement because of your insatiable greed and corruption. Now you want to gut Social Security and Medicare – get off your high horse and look around. You are dumb, blind, arrogant, and have lost all credibility with the American people. You have no morals or integrity let alone ethics. You are boils on the soul of this country.

Nov 18, 2011 1:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@David123456789

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

-John F. Kennedy

Keep thinking you can fool the people, Republican or Democrat alike, and you work against their interests.

It starts with moral outrage and that spark has been lit.

Nov 18, 2011 1:11pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

To those who respect wealth and power, remember this. Last February, Moammar Gadhafi was the richest, most powerful man in Libya.

Nov 18, 2011 1:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
JEM342 wrote:

The game is changing with the advent of social media. Those that were once blind to the corruption of this country are becoming aware. The 1% that used to have control of the the media and how information was disseminated no longer have that power… the ability of true freedom of speech and the ability of the individual to publish is truly upon us. It is not a matter of differentiation between wall street and DC, they are one and the same.The fact is that they are both guilty, greedy and self serving. Vive la revolution.

Nov 18, 2011 1:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@TheUSofA – The difficulty is when the people are morally bankrupt on both sides of the fence. ‘Moral’ outrage, in present conditions, equates to bad people being angry with other bad people at the expense of good people. I really would like to take a count of the people at OWS (actual occupiers) who have given ANY of their time, efforts and money to ‘the poor’. Among other stupidities, many occupiers reject the homeless among them and get in the way of the good people who are trying to make a living. The only way in which corrupt government officials and bankers are less ‘moral’ is that their neglect is on a larger scale. Memebers of OWS (as with all members of society) need to look inward and change themselves and their direction if they are to achieve the success they desire. Our success as a nation depends on the number of individual citizens who do so. I recommend forgiveness first, work second, charity third and violence never.

Nov 18, 2011 1:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
HolyChrist wrote:

Watch “Inside Job” and join us.

Nov 18, 2011 1:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
slhawley wrote:

I have no problem w/traders high income. My outrage is that in the mortgage collapse I have lost ALL the capital I ever had or hope to, plus more — it will take years and/or bankruptcy to get out of the hole I’m in, and I now have No Hope of helping my offspring w/their student loan debt — while high rollers have lost a smidgen of a percentage of Plenty. Big difference between losing ALL to coming down a notch, I think they don’t get how many of us Little People have lost all, I mean every dollar plus more, of our Little Nest Eggs while they whine about a percentage or two off the top.

Nov 18, 2011 1:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
slhawley wrote:

@roneida: I’m not an “ignorant fool”. I have a mortgage I had plenty of income to cover, a credit score still in the 800 range — no deliquencies ever, better than Donald Trump can say, and I believe the difference is my Integrity. Yet I’ve lost all because I decided to move to my home town to help care for and be with my aging parents in 2007, and my property was put on the market JUST before the collapse. I’ve lost everything I’ve put in to it, have NO HOPE of recovering it, have accrued debt (with that great credit!!) keep up with it: MY good Credit, Intentions, Integrity and ass-busting work were thrown into the same cesspool created by those Idiot Loan Officers and Managers who GAVE Those loans to people THEY KNEW could not pay, even if they had to falsify the loan docs. They’re the true idiots, ignorant of the value of Integrity on a massive scale.

Nov 18, 2011 1:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
nyteloki wrote:

@MarketForce That is quite a leap. OWS is not very well organized, has no public leadership which speaks for the group as a whole, and does not seem to have consistent demands, and their message (if there is one) is being lost in the static of the media. They should should not be compared the rebels in Libya and should not be compared to the tea party movement (though they would be similar and just as effective if they made some reforms).

Nov 18, 2011 1:38pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kehenalife wrote:

TAX WALL STREET TILL IT SCREAMS AND BLEEDS GREEN. Then they,ll take notice.

Nov 18, 2011 1:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jambrytay wrote:

I would like to offer another perspective. I’ll call it ‘Why the Occupiers don’t get it.’

The occupiers want to place the sole blame for our economic problems on Wall St and the top 1%.

Isn’t the truth a little more complex?

Didn’t the Fed keep interest rates too low for too long fueling too much borrowing and too much speculation?

Didn’t the government put too many policies in place to encourage home ownership for too many people who couldn’t really afford to buy the homes they bought?

Didn’t too many mortgage brokers ‘coach’ too many home buyers through the mortgage application process?

Didn’t too many people buy homes and take on more debt than they really couldn’t afford?

Didn’t credit rating agencies give too many financial institutions holding all these financial instruments credit ratings that were too high?

Didn’t the government’s regulators whose mission is to help us navigate around these landmines miss the problem?

Bottom line, as much the Occupiers want to blame everything on their favorite villain—Wall St.—the blame rests across a wide cross-section from Wall St to Main St and most every point in between.

Nov 18, 2011 1:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Antianti wrote:

Politicians from both parties created the housing bubble. It was the unintended consequence of ill-thought policies meant stimulate the economy with new home construction, and increase home ownership – especially for those with low to moderate incomes.

By encouraging the dumping money into the housing market (banks were pressured to give lots of loans without proper risk assessment) they drove up demand and housing costs to insane levels.

Then lots of greedy existing home owners refinanced and spent much of the newly inflated value of their homes.

All Wall Street did was resell a bunch of these inflated, artificially over-priced (toxic) mortgages.

And then the bubble popped and trillions of dollars worth of home value vanished almost overnight.

Nov 18, 2011 1:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse

These protesters are as much of a joke as the institutions they are protesting against. Oh the irony…

Nov 18, 2011 2:00pm EST  --  Report as abuse
lbh wrote:

Sad, sad,sad. This reminds me a lot of Marie Antoinette’s (probably apocryphal) comment when told that the people were rioting because they had no bread. The mentality of “The people have no bread? Then let them eat cake!” did not die with the French Revolution – and not even with the Russian revolution, in which the disconnect between the elite and the masses became unmanageable. The American elite needs to take a good, hard look at who got the guillotine, who was brutally murdered, when the anger in those streets could not be restrained any longer. Risking another famous quote, “Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it.”

Nov 18, 2011 2:01pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

“Debts between the very wealthy or between governments can always be renegotiated and always have been throughout world history. … It’s when you have debts owed by the poor to the rich that suddenly debts become a sacred obligation, more important than anything else. The idea of renegotiating them becomes unthinkable.” -David Graeber

Nov 18, 2011 2:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@jambrytay

“The occupiers want to place the sole blame for our economic problems on Wall St and the top 1%.

Isn’t the truth a little more complex?

Didn’t the Fed keep interest rates too low for too long fueling too much borrowing and too much speculation?

Didn’t the government put too many policies in place to encourage home ownership for too many people who couldn’t really afford to buy the homes they bought?

Didn’t too many mortgage brokers ‘coach’ too many home buyers through the mortgage application process?

Didn’t too many people buy homes and take on more debt than they really couldn’t afford?

Didn’t credit rating agencies give too many financial institutions holding all these financial instruments credit ratings that were too high?

Didn’t the government’s regulators whose mission is to help us navigate around these landmines miss the problem?”

No, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Them who has the gold, makes the rules- not very complicated. From Corzine to Gingrich, our corrupt politicians have been bought and sold by Wall Street. You can argue which is worse- the ‘briber’ or the ‘bribee,’ but in the end they gain and citizens lose. That’s hardly complicated, and it’s hardly the fault of average citizens, isn’t it?

Nov 18, 2011 2:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@someperson

….Among other stupidities, many occupiers reject the homeless among them and get in the way of the good people who are trying to make a living. The only way in which corrupt government officials and bankers are less ‘moral’ is that their neglect is on a larger scale. Memebers of OWS (as with all members of society) need to look inward and change themselves and their direction if they are to achieve the success they desire.”…

This is a ridiculous statement. Look inward? Get out of the way of working people? What kind of drivel is this?

They want to work too. Where are the jobs? As bankers lavish bonuses and create “financial innovations” that equate to ticking time bombs, tell me, should everyone go home and chill? As the wealthy and powerful continue to buy influence which then turns into public policy affecting everyone, Citizens United only further corrupting an already corrupted electoral process… Even the judicial branch is a joke.

Thirty companies paid no income tax 2008-2010: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/us-ususa-tax-corporate-idUSTRE7A20ME20111103

Biggest Tax Avoiders Win Most Gaming $1 Trillion U.S. Tax Break
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-28/biggest-tax-avoiders-win-most-gaming-1-trillion-u-s-tax-break.html

How about you go home and you read that and YOU think on that.

The people should just go home and look inward, right…. As Rome burns around them.

No, I don’t think so. I think it’s better to demand change. The game is rigged and the vote is rigged. This is going to happen from the ground up.

Nov 18, 2011 2:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@somethingtosay

These protesters are as much of a joke as the institutions they are protesting against. Oh the irony…

If you were meaning to be clever, well it comes off more as foolish.

Nov 18, 2011 2:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@jambrytay

I pay my taxes. Do you pay your taxes?

Biggest Tax Avoiders Win Most Gaming $1 Trillion U.S. Tax Break
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-28/biggest-tax-avoiders-win-most-gaming-1-trillion-u-s-tax-break.html

Thirty companies paid no income tax 2008-2010: report

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/03/us-ususa-tax-corporate-idUSTRE7A20ME20111103

Nov 18, 2011 2:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
psikeyhackr wrote:

Double-entry accounting is 700 years old. It was invented in Italy. So why haven’t educators and economists been saying it should have been mandatory in our schools for the last 40 years? Our economists can’t even talk about what Americans have lost on the Depreciation of automobiles since the Moon landing. But we have to keep redesigning machines that roll along the ground at less than 130 mph.

So Wall Street can rip off people kept ignorant. Very impressive!

Nov 18, 2011 2:48pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jambrytay wrote:

GreenMarine said ‘…it’s hardly the fault of average citizens…’

You contradict yourself. You agreed with my bullet point that talked about too many people buying homes and taking on more debt than they could afford, but then you say the average citizen is not at fault.

I’m saying no one group is uniquely to blame, but lots of groups (including the average Joe) share the blame.

My problem is that people have their favorite villains that is their default scapegoat for economic problems (unions, bankers, Democrats, Republicans, China, etc.) and the reality is that economic issues are almost always more complex with lots of variables and the blame rarely sits with one group alone.

Nov 18, 2011 2:49pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@TheUSofA – Hm… Rome is burning? There are no jobs? In America these are the excuses of those who HAVEN’T looked inward and changed themselves. “Things aren’t going well for me, who can I blame? Who can I yell at/poop on in order to make my anger public?” A look inward and an personal change of attitude/heart/lifestyle, followed by corrective action is the ONLY thing that will bring success for the people of the United States. You may call the individual need to reflect, change and work in order to gain liberty and happiness “drivel”, I call it the only solution that will work. If one OWS got together with 10 of his tent-mates and they pooled their minds and resources I have no doubt they could start a successful business without suffering much in the interim. Certainly they would be out of the way of people who DO have jobs. But that sort of thing doesn’t occur to the ‘educated’ people of OWS.

I don’t think tax evasion by the rich is the problem so I’m not going to waste my time reading Bloomberg’s propaganda. The problem, as I’ve mentioned, is that there aren’t enough individual american citizens living right to sustain themselves and the those who aren’t. Hence the need for more people to inspect their own lives and change. Once we have enough people of character we can fix problems like tax evasion and the rest.

Finally, I didn’t advocate watching America decline at all. Why is the only solution you’ve thought of is to riot in the streets and or grease up the guillotine? If you had read my post you wouldn’t have missed the last line where I advocated: forgiveness, WORK and charity (lifting those around you), none of which OWS has shown much interest in. Doing these things is hardly “watching Rome burn”, wouldn’t you say? When was the last time you forgave those who wronged you, worked hard and then given some of the value you generated to the poor?

Nov 18, 2011 2:50pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@Green Marine – The average citizen shares the blame. We elected the officials who take the bribes and neglected to get them out. We bought bad mortgages. We got into too much debt. We failed to educate ourselves. We failed to build communities that were self sustaining. We will continue to fail unless we change the way we do things. Sure other people (bad ceo’s, government officials, etc) have a lot of the blame, but we run in to the classic issue with trying to fix the problem by changing others. Forcing others to change is impossible. Changing ourselves IS possible. So let’s do what we CAN (change ourselves) instead of wasting time attempting to do what we CAN’T (change other).

Nov 18, 2011 2:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jambrytay wrote:

TheUSofA-

Yes, I pay my taxes. I haven’t read the report you cite, but i have seen similar complaints about companies not paying taxes. an important question to ask would be did those compnaies have any income for those years they didn’t pay taxes?

Nov 18, 2011 3:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Brent1023 wrote:

Blaming the victims of the sub-prime fiasco, characterizing them as people who bought homes they could not afford, is based on deceit.

The problem was the housing bubble – grossly inflated residential real estate. No one can argue there was no bubble. With prices down 30% from the peak with more downside to go, there was a bubble.

Who was responsible for the bubble? Could a few hundred thousand poor people have wrecked the US economy by their reckless desire to own a home? They bought the dream.

That the US financial industry, an industry that claimed it was responsible, that claimed then and still does claim that it needs no oversight, aided and abetted this bubble is the crime.

The purchasers were conned by fancy mortgages.

The pushers got off scot free. Worse, they got huge bonuses.

In the years from 2001 to 2008, the value of home mortgages rose from $7 trillion to $14 trillion. The regulators looked at this and saw no bubble.

The solution is not to throw all people with mortgages in jail and leave the pushers free to find another con and another set of victims.

The solution is agree that the financial sector cannot be the entire economy. That main street comes before wall street.

The solution is to shut down all these scam artists – take back all their bonuses – let them pitch a tent in the park until the economy recovers.

Nov 18, 2011 3:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

To all those die-hard conservatives who equate having money with possessing some degree of ambition and intelligence: Think Paris Hilton. Many of the silver-spoon exectutives on Wall Street are about as bright as that. But with an inside line for baiouts when it all goes bad. You can safely stop sucking up to them now.

Nov 18, 2011 3:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
doggydaddy wrote:

TheUSofA: “Just this week, top executives at Fannie and Freddie found themselves drawing fire on Capitol Hill for trying to distribute nearly $13 million in bonuses to key employees.”

Yes, and now a former lobbyiest of Freddie Mac is at the top of the Republican primary polls, disgraced Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. It’s such a tangled web they weave.

Nov 18, 2011 3:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@Jambrytay

I don’t see the contradiction…

I didn’t take out a loan I couldn’t afford; I assume you did not either. The majority of average citizens did not take out loans they could not afford (if they did we’d really be screwed!). To imply that “average citizens” bear some blame is simply false. The vast majority of us did not take stupid gambles. The “average citizens” who did take stupid gambles did not get bailed out, either.

You can’t say the same thing about Wall Street firms. I’ll take your point that Wall Street is not the only entity to blame, but they deserve the vast, vast majority of it.

Wall Street is where the buck stops these days.

Nov 18, 2011 3:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Crash866 wrote:

Can we all look in the mirror or is that too much to ask…

Nov 18, 2011 3:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
diluded0000 wrote:

nyteloki, I think we agree on quite a bit, and are even beholden to the same lender. No, there isn’t a really coherent message coming out of the OWS folks, and that does open them up to organized labor and fringe leftist trying get publicity. But the message I do take from their protest is that they don’t like the bank and finance sector. Maybe not for the same exact same reasons that I don’t like them, and maybe not in a way that they are good at articulating, but they get that something is wrong on Wall st. Should they be in DC instead? You can go protest outside where the guys who are buying political influence work, or go where the politicians work. Either way at least they are trying to take some responsibility for fixing what they see as a broken system.

Nov 18, 2011 3:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@someperson

“We elected the officials who take the bribes and neglected to get them out. We bought bad mortgages. We got into too much debt. We failed to educate ourselves. We failed to build communities that were self sustaining.”

I value individual responsibility, but if we’re going apply group guilt and socialize losses, we might as well socialize gains. The heads I win, tales you lose system that our “betters’ have seen fit to bestow upon us plebes is so, so obviously rigged.

Raise your hands if you voted for hedge funds, mortgage backed securities, naked shorts, expansionary monetary policy. Yes? No? You can argue that we all did, but that implies we have a choice, and I for one don’t think electing the other [insert republican or democrat politician] would have ended up any different.

“Forcing others to change is impossible.”
If a robber breaks into my house, and I introduce said robber to my friends Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson, who help me convince the robber to leave, I have forced a change in the robber’s behavior. It can be done.

Above all, un-fornicating this system will require average citizens to be responsible for our own behavior AND work together reign in the corrupters and usurpers on Wall Street. We plebes allow ourselves to be divided and conquered too easily.

Nov 18, 2011 4:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
conserfolife wrote:

Everyone is looking to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for themselves. The banks made the decisions they did and took the risks they did because it was what the public wanted, at the time, and because the Clinton government gave them the liberty to change policy. Everyone was okay with what the banks were doing before the economic collapse. It’s easy to complain now that times are hard, but if these protesters really cared they would have tried to keep Wall Street in check BEFORE the collapse.
Time to stop complaining and start to try making things better moving forward.

Nov 18, 2011 4:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

Coherent message and demands come in another forum. OWS is not really about that. OWS is simply the answer to that question: “Wall Street did WHAT with taxpayer dollars? Why aren’t there people in the street?!?”

If you want lofty economic analysis, read Paul Krugman or Joseph Stiglitz. They have their place. But getting tear-gassed in your sneakers…. that’s a young person’s game.

Nov 18, 2011 4:14pm EST  --  Report as abuse
GreenMarine wrote:

@conserfolife

Really? The Clinton gov’t gave the public the liberty to change policy?

1. Republicans controlled Congress and were equally as corrupt as Democrats.

2. How can you say “the public” wanted hedge funds, mortgage backed securities, etc.??? Just because people are allowed to choose which criminal they elect, does not mean they encouraged or are responsithem responsible for the crime.

Nov 18, 2011 4:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

Conserfolife observes: “Everyone is looking to blame someone else instead of taking responsibility for themselves.”

Then two sentences later: “…they took the risks they did because…the Clinton government gave them the liberty to change policy.”

Wow. So all you guys stop pointing fingers, because this is all Clinton’s fault. And….he did not save the banks from themselves. Let me guess. All that brilliance, and you’re for small government too. Gotta love the tea party.

Nov 18, 2011 4:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
UnPartisan wrote:

I can not help but laugh at the OWS internet thugs threatening violence and beheadings. You will either be arrested and jailed, or shot on site when you act on your careless words. Sadly, you will paint the Police as thugs and the criminals when it was always your intention to escalate to violence. You are dispicable human beings, your jealousy and call to take what is not yours by force, is far more disgusting than greed. You are not the 99%, and you will quickly find that out if you ever act on such words as:

“The rest of US, the 99%, are going to have those rights, too, or else.”

“This country succeeded because of checks and balances, but Wall Street has co-opted the government and the media. That has to change, or the “let them eat cake” attitudes will lead directly to another Marie Antoinette outcome.”

“Hold on. I think I hear the words “Let them eat cake” wafting out of the executive suites. Soon the words “Off with their heads” will be roaring out of the masses. Ignore reality at your own peril, you 1%ers.”

What I find more troubling than the call to violence against our fellow citizens is that these morons fully intend to vote Obama back into office. He went to the same school as those who run Wall Street. He shares their exact same Macro Economic (Keynesian) philosophies. His economic team is made up of Harvard/Yale Wall Street insiders. His new housing policies further bails out the banks, buying the bad mortgages from them, and then refinancing through the federal government. He has no problem with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac CEOs making multi-million dollar bonuses while they lose our tax dollars hand over fist. The richest Senators and Congressmen are Democrats. These Wall Street bankers are registered Democrats. The 1% you are talking about reside in NY and Connecticut the biggest liberal “progressive” center on the east coast. And you all still can’t figure out why the economy hasn’t changed, Obama was all about Hope and Change but he is the exact same person as the CEOs who are quoted in this article. Same education, same belief system, and exact same policies.

Nov 18, 2011 4:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
projectshawty wrote:

So you think that the average person who bought a home they “COULD” afford, had every right in being screwed when the house he “PAID” to have appraised by an “EXPERT” came in at 200K one day, and then after 5 years (and countless upgrades) the home is now worth 75K should have seen this PONZI scheme? Blame the buyer of the home that bought into the lie of an American dream, when the whole banking industry, our politicians (who are not bound to insider trading laws), appraisers, realtors, everyone that the single homeowner is supposed to get information (corrupted information) is betting for them to fail so they can profit?

Yes, some of us did buy more home than we could afford. Some of us did use our homes like ATMs, but the banks, private corporations (people according to Romney and friends) got bailed out, while the rest of the people they screwed and made a profit on, got took!

This is wrong on so many levels, and people who want to solely put the blame on the consumer, when the entire system is stacked against said consumer are insane!

Nov 18, 2011 4:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
UnPartisan wrote:

@doggydaddy

Freddie Mac and Fannie May have been the babys of Frank, and Dodd for the last 30 years. It is a fact that the during the 80s, 90s and 00s Christopher J. Dodd was the top recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac campaign contributions, while Barney Frank was also a major recipient. It is also a fact that the Dodd-Frank act purposely refused to address either organization and made them both immune to any reforms, however they are a huge participant in the housing crash.

Nov 18, 2011 4:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
NukerDoggie wrote:

The two extremes – Occuppiers who want a free ride paid for by the rich, and the Wall St. rich who would kick their own mothers to the curb for a buck.

Nov 18, 2011 4:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
windyone wrote:

“roneida wrote:
It’s not the function of “Wall Street” to look out for the workers or the employers. It ‘s not Wall Street’s job to keep ignorant fools from signing $400,000 mortgages when they earn $31000 per year or to keep slackers looking for a social scene to hook up from borrowing $100,000 to get a soft degree in black studies from an elite school.

Oh roneida, your masters must be so proud of you! According to your logic, if i am selling something, lets say a bleach injected orange, its the consumers fault for dying as long as I make a profit!

If its not their job, why do the banks have all these ads saying essentially “Our job is to help you!” As for your jibe about “soft degrees” you fall into the trap of a citizen as nothing more than a consumer: ignorant, in debt and perpetually trying to be happy by the latest purchase, rather than the informed and empowered individual that Adam Smith said was so important for capitalism to function properly. Yes Washington is part of the problem, but whose money is controlling them?

And no one @ OWS is calling for bags of money to be thrown out the windows: they want the crooks to be put in jail and the banker written loopholes closed that allowed this whole mess in the first place.

You are part of the problem and are the sort of person who would support the status quo wherever you lived: if this was 1960′s Czechoslovakia you would be cheering the Russian troops.

Bet you miss the days when we could keep the darkies down too!

Nov 18, 2011 4:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Woltmann wrote:

Question for Wall Street: Who ya’ gonna run to?

Nov 18, 2011 4:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

Unpartisan writes: “Freddie Mac and Fannie May have been the babys of Frank, and Dodd for the last 30 years.”

And don’t forget their spokesperson and chief string-puller, recently stricken with amnesia….. Newt Gingrich. Or maybe he’s telling the truth. And one of the biggest banks in the world paid an ex-speaker-of-the-house two million dollars to be their…..”historian.”

My bank doesn’t actually use a historian. It’s a bank. But then again, they’re not as sucessful as Freddie Mac :)

Nov 18, 2011 4:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
StLies wrote:

The people hold the power against banks. If you don’t like the banks then move everything you do to another institution. If you don’t give them the money to work with they won’t be around. It may take awhile but you cut off the revenue sources and they will suffer. What about the people that will lose there jobs. They should be absorbed into other institutions as they grow. And for darn sakes don’t rehire the same higher ups.

Nov 18, 2011 5:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
JoeObserver wrote:

USA is in war for the last 10 years. Where would the money come from to fund this massive military operation? Borrowing. USA debt level has risen to a unsustainable level. This has a direct impact on the economy. This is no rocket science to understand.

Nov 18, 2011 5:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jambrytay wrote:

GreenMarine-

You say: The majority of average citizens did not take out loans they could not afford (if they did we’d really be screwed!). To imply that “average citizens” bear some blame is simply false.

I say: While I agree the majority didn’t take out home loans they couldn’t afford, in the aggregate, Americans have taken on too much debt. Too much debt is a big contributor to the slow down in consumer spending over the last couple of years (and the consumer is ~2/3 of the economy) as people are trying to repair their finances (more savings and less debt)

You say: The “average citizens” who did take stupid gambles did not get bailed out, either.

I say: No, they just defaulted on their mortgage and left the financial institution with a bad loan. If the financial institution got bailed out, it’s partially due to them being left holding too many loans.

Nov 18, 2011 5:21pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@GreenMarine: Agreed, we can defend ourselves against evil. What I meant was it is impossible to force evil people to become good. And of course evil people won’t change their behavior unless they become good or we alter the conditions (bring in Smith and Wesson). The end goal will be to convert evil or to conquer it. I agree with that totally. My argument is two-fold:
1. That the best way to conquer evil in society starts with a positive change in individuals who are willing. The focus on external evils in this case, is detracting from personal responsibility which should take priority.

2. We won’t be able to successfully alter conditions until we first have a majority of people who have taken responsibility for themselves. The best end to corruption in our nation, as you said, is to bind together as a group, vote bums out of office, effect a positive change in our justice system and government, generally come out against evil. But that comes AFTER the majority have self-corrected. Hopefully that majority already exists.

@MarketForce: What OWS has done well is spread awareness. The nice thing about spreading awareness is that other people who aren’t OWS but sincerely sympathize with them probably WILL effect change.

What they have done poorly is effect positive change (other than awareness) themselves. If they don’t switch gears they will be known as the disease spreading, drug using, police car, eh, vandalizing hippies of the 201X’s while others achieve the success they hoped for.

OWS will have trouble succeeding because without having a set of coherent goals they will be too divided to make progress. The Tea Party has success because they are united in their goals. The same can’t be said of OWS. I think this is a reflection of the difference between the kinds of individuals who make up the two parties.

That said, I guess I shouldn’t generalize. I believe there is a subset of OWS that do more than occupy. Not all OWS individuals are responsible for the corruption withing their ranks and not all OWS individuals are negligent of the poor, spreaders of disease and/or public property damagers.

Nov 18, 2011 5:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DCRed wrote:

You can rationalize thousands of defaulted mortgages as matters of imprudence or moral failings on the part of borrowers. But not millions. That’s a structural matter, and the financial sector has to take responsibility for this, in part because they’re the only ones who can. Bank profitability is not the only societal imperative, and at the moment it’s not even a very important one. Jobs, affordable housing, education all take precedence over accumulation of massive wealth. And please don’t start yelling ‘socialist.’ It doesn’t work any more.

Nov 18, 2011 5:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
StLies wrote:

Wall Street has always been rich and influential. It’s just more publicized today. Politics has always had the rap of being corrupt. Who or how do you change either one? People change both. OWS has an unorganized approach but at least has given it a shot. A bigger suggestion for OWS would be to have the people boycott bigger banking institutions. Move existing accounts and or don’t open new accounts or end as much business as can be done. People represent a major portion of the revenue stream for all banking institutions. As far as the political scene goes if you can’t get limits put into place for representatives and senators then there needs to be a movement to not reelect certain politicians in a given state. Unfortunately it cost money for TV time and so forth but somehow it has to be shown by a nuetral group whether a politician is actually working for the people or for themselves. Politicians don’t get better with age.

Nov 18, 2011 5:34pm EST  --  Report as abuse
someperson wrote:

@GreenMarine: Agreed, we can defend ourselves against evil. What I meant was it is impossible to force evil people to become good. And of course evil people won’t change their behavior unless they become good or we alter the conditions (bring in Smith and Wesson). The end goal will be to convert evil or to conquer it. I agree with that totally. My argument is two-fold:
1. That the best way to conquer evil in society starts with a positive change in individuals who are willing. The focus on external evils in this case, is detracting from personal responsibility which should take priority.
2. We won’t be able to successfully alter conditions until we first have a majority of people who have taken responsibility for themselves. The best end to corruption in our nation, as you said, is to bind together as a group, vote bums out of office, effect a positive change in our justice system and government, generally come out against evil. But that comes AFTER the majority have self-corrected. Hopefully that majority already exists.

@windyone: What OWS has done well is spread awareness. The nice thing about spreading awareness is that other people who aren’t OWS but sincerely sympathize with them probably WILL effect change.

What they have done poorly is effect positive change (other than awareness) themselves. Expressing anger isn’t enough. In the end it is actually quite despicable and usually only leads to escalated anger.

OWS will have trouble succeeding because without having a set of coherent goals they will be too divided to make progress. The Tea Party has had success because they are united in their goals. The same can’t be said of OWS. I think this is a reflection of the difference between the kinds of individuals who make up the two parties.

That said, I believe there is a subset of OWS that do more than occupy. Not all OWS individuals are responsible for the corruption withing their ranks and not all OWS individuals are negligent of the poor, spreaders of disease and/or public property damagers. May that number increase.

Nov 18, 2011 5:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

StLies reasons: “The people hold the power against banks. If you don’t like the banks then move everything you do to another institution. If you don’t give them the money to work with they won’t be around.”

In a truly free market, you would be right. But…. in a market where bribing politicians is now considered a form of ‘free speech,’ the banks have a whole new source of revenue. Our tax dollars. As we saw with the Bush/Obama bailouts of Wall Street…. why would banks need us lowly depositors and borrowers for revenue? They have favors they can call in from DC. To the tune of about four trillion dollars.

The outrage is justified. We’re seeing a democratic system and a financial system colluding to steal from its own people here. We don’t have to suppose it. This is not some theory. We SAW it. And we’ll see it again if people don’t speak up and start throwing the bums out.

Nov 18, 2011 5:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
OneOfTheSheep wrote:

Why would ANYBODY think “Wall Street” (which does not exist as a single, sentient voice) cares in the slightest what a bunch of unkempt, disorganized, largely incompetent and unemployed rabble wandering around babble about on TV, clearly lacking goals, coherent ideas or money to invest?

Yes, our society is not perfect, but this scruffy mob is not going to right past injustices done or improve the future of this country by gathering and milling around like ants at a picnic holding parks and/or sidewalk access hostage in the ambiguous expectation that civil society will do “something” to satisfy them. NOTHING can satisfy such people.

Nov 18, 2011 6:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
StLies wrote:

@marketforce
I agree with what you say 100% and the whole thing is very convoluted. But if you can cut that everyday revenue stream then there really isn’t anything left for tax dollars to support.

Nov 18, 2011 6:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tpartier wrote:

I couldn’t help but catch this comment on Nightly Business Report the other night. The audacious statement is “The government is not going to let Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) fail.”
—-
HUDSON: I know you`re talking about small stocks in the new book, these are two big stocks B of A and Veolia that have dropped significantly. Do you have positions in both of them?

KRAMER: I have positions in both of these and with my new “Little Book of Big Profits from Small Stocks,” I look at companies like Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). It`s one of those opportunities where you can turn around and you can double your money. The government is not going to let Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) fail. And the French government isn`t going to let Veolia go down.
———–

The entire transcript is here: http://www.pbs.org/nbr/site/onair/street_critique/kramer_sees_better_days_ahead_for_bank_of_america_111116/

Nov 18, 2011 6:15pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

@StLies: I offer CitiGroup and AIG as exhibits A and B in how crappy and hopeless a private financial institution can get….. and still receive taxpayer dollars via bailout. They don’t have to have a viable outlook or business structure in place. The executives pocket the bailout money as salary or bonus, and invest the rest in Dubai ‘financial instruments’ Your guess is as good as mine on where the bailout money goes.

Bottome line: This is an absolute racket going on with public money. And the Wall Street response is: “We didn’t break the law. This is legal now.” The bad part is…. they’re right.

Nov 18, 2011 6:19pm EST  --  Report as abuse
conserfolife wrote:

I must not have been clear enough in my previous post. I’m not saying this mess is Clinton’s fault, but rather that he proposed the bill which gave the banks more freedom to give out credit, loans, high interest mortgages, etc. to people who couldn’t afford it. They thought the housing market would never fail so it seemed safe; we now know that to be false. So while Wall Street needs to take more responsibility for itself, these events were set in motion years ago. The biggest mistake was the government bailout, which is only allowing these banks to barely stay above water and keep doing what they’re doing.

Nov 18, 2011 6:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
doggydaddy wrote:

UnPartisan: For almost 12 years the Republicans had every opportunity to reel in Freddie and Fanny. They did nothing and Newt Gingrich was one of the reasons. Barney Frank isn’t running for President. Newt is. Newt also lied about his involvement with Freddie Mac. He was a lobbyist and made about $1.8 million from Freddie Mac. He lied, but that’s par for the course with Newt.

Instead of regulating Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, Republicans de-regulated them. Barney Frank was one of many Democrats who wanted to reel in Freddie and Fanny and was prevented by the Republicans. Frank finally got his way on the regulations and Freddie is profitable again. Yet, amazingly Republicans want to do away with those very regulations, as if the economic meltdown we just experienced never happened. Simply amazing. They would do away with the regulations and oversight, we’ll experience another economic meltdown, and the Republicans will blame the Democrats and call for more de-regulation and more tax cuts for the rich. They act like they’re in a cult and are only allowed to think in one myopic way.

Nov 18, 2011 7:07pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sumfizz wrote:

Wow, rich people insulated from the realities of the world still don’t get it? Shocking.

In other news, fat people still congregating at McDonalds after Sunday’s sermon to indulge in gluttony.

Nov 18, 2011 7:17pm EST  --  Report as abuse
tpartier wrote:

@conserfolife

I find that if we can send people off to war and ask them to do things you might not normally ever do in your own life, they are not too lazy to pick up arms, man ships and what not in all sorts of insufferable conditions.

Consequently, I think that we, sitting in comparatively easy circumstances should not be too lazy to come with factual statements when supporting our positions. I mean really, inaccuracy in political discussion can lead to even more people eventually ending up in dangerous situations too.

In the interest of not poisoning thinking then, I submit:

The bill that ultimately “repealed” the Act was brought up in the Senate by Phil Gramm (R-Texas) and in the House of Representatives by Jim Leach (R-Iowa) in 1999. The bills were passed by a Republican majority, basically following party lines by a 54–44 vote in the Senate[15] and by a bi-partisan 343–86 vote in the House of Representatives.[16] After passing both the Senate and House the bill was moved to a conference committee to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions. The final bill resolving the differences was passed in the Senate 90–8 (one not voting) and in the House: 362–57 (15 not voting). The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 12, 1999.[17] see the article ‘Glass-Steagall Act” on Wikipedia, the ‘repeal’ section.

Hey – you can even go back in the Library of Congress and see for yourself, might be an educational experience for you.

As a veteran myself, I have to ask how it is that after starting and botching two wars, that Republicans can vote so horribly on veteran affairs? Nothing recent mind you – but a decades long trend. You can look some of those nasty votes up at thomas.loc.gov too. Or you can just go to www.veteranreportcard.org and explain why 151 of the 156 D and lower grades went to Republicans. Now, do you really think you can believe people that scream ‘support the troops’ and then vote like that? Meanwhile 90 of the 94 A or better grades went to Democrats. The report is based ENTIRELY on voting records.

What did Reagan say about facts?

Nov 18, 2011 7:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
AlexHavens wrote:

I just returned from the area in Portland, Oregon where the local protestors who began in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street group (OWSg) had been living. They were being ousted from their current location, and had taken up short term residence on one of the city streets. I milled around the group listening to the conversation and their decision making process. They wanted to move to the University Park blocks, but they wanted to ensure that the place they ended up was not next to the dorm where families lived. They were concerned that young children lived there. They were trying to use a democratic process. Most of the participants were either young or old, very few were in the middle, either in age or income.

I am in the middle, both in age and income. I, like many others who consider themselves to be of the silent majority, agreed in principle with what the OWSg was protesting against. Although their message is sometimes mixed and they are ostracized as the degenerate unemployed, they are standing against what is currently occurring in this country. Few would say there is nothing to complain about. And when I rubbed elbows with them, I discovered they had at least one attribute that few who are in power currently, or those responsible for our current economic state share – concern for their fellow man.

A recent Economist cover displayed the title “Rage Against Capitalism”, as their summary of what the OWSg stands for. My immediate reaction was that this publication, above the fray as so many who participate in driving public opinion around the country’s fate, didn’t quite understand. Although the OWSg has many signs that display the words “we are the 99%”, the gist of the issue isn’t about free enterprise. I would venture to guess that the majority who support the ideals of the OWSg believe in capitalism. The true crux of the issue is that the OWSg cares – that no one else does.

During the beginning of the economic crisis when it was discovered how Wall Street banks had participated in bringing down the nation’s economy, one of the things not seen were signs of regret. No tearful television interviews, no letter of apology, no suicide or final notes from those who couldn’t live with what they had done – to their company, their country, their fellow man. What we saw instead was arrogance, pride, and a steadfast determination to hold on to power and lifestyle, communicated quite accurately by the sign displayed on Wall Street when the OWSg began which stated “let them eat cake.” It appears that power has taken the place of character, greed the place of integrity, and self-absorption is now firmly in place over love of country or fellow countrymen.

Perhaps taking its cue from Wall Street, this dearth of patriotism and focus on an agenda other than what is best for this country, has extended itself to our nation’s politics. The continual “besting” of each political party in an effort to outdo their opponent is almost laughable from the outside; if that is, it didn’t have such tragic consequences. The inability of our government to put aside political differences to do what is best for the whole has caused a stalemate which is an embarrassment to this nation and an affront to our forefathers. We cannot assist others in the economic turnaround because we cannot make it happen for ourselves. This country, which has always led, must now depend on others to take the lead.

Perhaps it is the natural order of things. What goes up must come down. America has led for so long; we are now in our decline. But I maintain hope. We are known for our ability as a country to reinvent ourselves when it is required to succeed. However, success will have to be measured differently this time. It will have not so much to do with power, money, celebrity, or status. If we are to thrive, it must have much more to do with who you are as a person, what you will sacrifice in service of country, and how steadfast you can be in doing what’s right. Perhaps that is the true message of the OWSg – we are the 99%; why have we allowed the 1%, whose values differ so much from our own, to lead us for so long?

Nov 18, 2011 7:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
breezinthru wrote:

If those Wall Streeters who were involved in the fraud involving NINA mortgages falsely rated CDO’s were prosecuted under RICO, imprisoned and stripped of all their ill-gotten gains, I would have only one problem with the Wall Streeters who were still left standing to pursue the almighty buck.

Thomas Atteberry identifies that problem when he mentioned that people should not blame him for income inequality; they should blame tax codes and regulations.

However, it is likely that either he or someone he knows personally could make a phone call to either a member of the California legislature or a member of the federal legislature and expect to receive a prompt call back by the actual elected official.

I have a job that provides for a comfortable, but modest lifestyle, but I don’t know anyone with that kind of access. When I place a phone call to anyone with political power, I am only permitted to speak with my elected representative’s staff. If I asked for the person who actually represents me to call me back at their convenience, it wouldn’t happen.

Instead, I get the opportunity to receive an email newsletter and perhaps a nice letter at election time asking for money. So who shall I blame for the current tax codes and regulations?

Nov 18, 2011 7:51pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@jambrytay
Yes, I pay my taxes. I haven’t read the report you cite, but i have seen similar complaints about companies not paying taxes. an important question to ask would be did those compnaies have any income for those years they didn’t pay taxes?
———-

You haven’t read the reports but your asking if those companies have any income for those years? Sounds like someone doesn’t want to deal with something like facts. It doesn’t take a genius.

The game is rigged and its rigged for the wealthy and the corporations.

Nov 18, 2011 8:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

@jambrytay
Yes, I pay my taxes. I haven’t read the report you cite, but i have seen similar complaints about companies not paying taxes. an important question to ask would be did those compnaies have any income for those years they didn’t pay taxes?
———-

You haven’t read the reports but your asking if those companies have any income for those years? Sounds like someone doesn’t want to deal with something like facts. It doesn’t take a genius.

The game is rigged and its rigged for the wealthy and the corporations.

Nov 18, 2011 8:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse

To me, having gone through a foreclosure and bankruptcy in 2009 forced on my wife and our kids because three of our neighbors lost jobs and dumped their homes for half price, costing us $150,000, then having to move across country to live with elderly parents (keeping them in their home while we restarted our lives), I don’t have much sympathy for comments from Wall Street types and their syncophants that, quite frankly, are sociopathic and narcissistic. And deluded.

I’ve worked my tail off since I was 7 or 8, working with my dad to do yardwork every weekend then graduating to store clerk and beyond. I have a great college degree. I tend to ace job interviews, getting called back at least once and often getting jobs. Many of my clients have been with me for years. Yet I have great sympathy for the victims of what has gone on in this country since Reagan.

When your policy agenda is to de-tax extreme wealth (from 90% in 1945 to 17% in 2009), de-regulate (including endless mergers), and suppress wages, you get the economy we have. You get extreme wealth disparities. You get 45,000 people a year dying for the crime of not being able to afford health care. Yet people like Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Paulson, and the rest act as if they must, must, must have every last penny they can scam from the economy they help set up. It’s grotesque. And profoundly immoral.

When you de-tax extreme wealth, that money has to go somewhere. That’s how we’ve gotten hedge funds, our bubble economy, CDOs, and excessive income disparity. That extra money should have gone to pay for court houses, roads, bridges, research, education, and all the other critical pieces that fund current and future wealth. Instead, we’re three trillion dollars behind on infrastructure repairs over thirty years. We’ve shut down the space shuttle program and have to hitch a ride with the Russians. We can’t fund critical science and research that business needs to be competitive for the next generation. The list of critical unfunded needs is vast.

And for what reason? Say you have a 100 million dollars. At three percent return, that’s $3 million a year or $250,000 a month for doing nothing but breathe. How much do you make a month? Could you get along on $250,000 a month? Yet this group of people, these lucky duckies, complain they pay too much in taxes, they’re suffering. In a rational world, they’d pay 90% on every dollar over $30 million earned in a year. There would be a cap on the amount of wealth any individual or family could control or pass to the third generation. And the excess would be paid as taxes to fund the infrastructure to make possible wealth our kids and grandkids will need.

I’ll be even more blunt. Take that same $100 million and divide it among 2,000 families, at $50,000 a family. Those families will generate more jobs and economic activity than one person who controls the same amount of money. Those families will spend close to $100 million just to live. The individual, however, will stop at some low number, if only to preserve their capital. To say wealthy people create jobs is a lie. And Wall Street, in particular, long ago stopped funding businesses and instead opted for financialization and outright gambling. The financial sector since Reagan has grown to around 20% from 15% of the economy while manufacturing has done the reverse (from around 20% to 15% of the economy). Re-taxing extreme wealth would not only create jobs and build future wealth, it would cushion the critical shift we must make from finance back to manufacturing.

The fact we’re talking instead about hurt feelings and misunderstandings on the part of Wall Street sharks tells everything you need to know.

How we got here is rather obvious. How we get out of this situation also is rather obvious: re-tax extreme wealth, impose sensible regulations (including a cap on company size and mergers), and index the minimum wage to inflation and other things to support sensible wage growth over time. And bring back some form of Glass Steagall, the Fairness Doctrine, and other policies that struck a healthy balance between the competing forces in our society.

Nov 18, 2011 8:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse

@roneida I used to think the problem is/was money being paid to politicians. When I dug deeper into the facts, however, I realized the amount politicians get for their campaigns is peanuts. No the real game is to provide six and seven figure incomes to the senior staff of politicians and, when they retire, to politicians themselves.

The other scam is to have people move from Wall Street straight to a government regulatory role for Wall Street then back again. While in theory you could get someone from Wall Street who takes seriously that their government role is to protect all of us, through regulation, the reality has been mostly the opposite. Many (most? all?) regulators who have come from Wall Street have shown little or no interest in their sworn role to use their government powers to protect ALL Americans, not just their buddies back on Wall Street or Big Business. Just look at all the convictions in the past few years: companies have paid very little, jail terms are minor or non-existent, and no company is forced to admit guilt. Bank robbers are treated far more harshly.

And, of course, it is no surprise that the six and seven figure jobs are provided by large corporations on and off Wall Street.

Nov 18, 2011 8:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
dalerpulatov wrote:

Well, the message of OWS protesters is clear. However, the way they act is unacceptable and drives public anger.

Nov 18, 2011 8:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

someperson wrote:

@TheUSofA – Hm… Rome is burning? There are no jobs? In America these are the excuses of those who HAVEN’T looked inward and changed themselves. “Things aren’t going well for me, who can I blame? Who can I yell at/poop on in order to make my anger public?” A look inward and an personal change of attitude/heart/lifestyle, followed by corrective action is the ONLY thing that will bring success for the people of the United States. You may call the individual need to reflect, change and work in order to gain liberty and happiness “drivel”, I call it the only solution that will work. If one OWS got together with 10 of his tent-mates and they pooled their minds and resources I have no doubt they could start a successful business without suffering much in the interim.
———–

Oh I see, go home, look inward and magically jobs will appear. Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sound?? You wouldn’t know what to do with a cold hard fact if it hit you in the face because facts and reality is not something you want to deal with.

———–
someperson wrote:

Certainly they would be out of the way of people who DO have jobs. But that sort of thing doesn’t occur to the ‘educated’ people of OWS.
———–

Oh you mean let the rich get richer? Too big to fail? Let corporations avoid paying their taxes? Let money keep buying more influence and power?
———–

someperson wrote:

I don’t think tax evasion by the rich is the problem so I’m not going to waste my time reading Bloomberg’s propaganda.
————

That’s just it, thinking is not something you do much of. Bloomberg’s propaganda? You can find the same information, how the wealthy and corporations have been gaming the tax system from many sources. But you don’t want to look. You don’t want to deal with facts.

————
someperson wrote:

Finally, I didn’t advocate watching America decline at all. Why is the only solution you’ve thought of is to riot in the streets and or grease up the guillotine? If you had read my post you wouldn’t have missed the last line where I advocated: forgiveness, WORK and charity (lifting those around you), none of which OWS has shown much interest in. Doing these things is hardly “watching Rome burn”, wouldn’t you say? When was the last time you forgave those who wronged you, worked hard and then given some of the value you generated to the poor?
————–

You have no solution. You have no answers. Your inaction is action and allows for the corruption you see around you. No one is running rights or greasing up the guillotine. It begins with moral outrage and it’s focused in the right place right now.

Understand this, the right to protest is a FUNDAMENTAL American (universal really) right, enshrined in our constitution. Your fantasy world probably tells you that’s propaganda too. Any real positive social change in this country came from the ground up. They made the leadership listen. Civil rights, suffrage, workers rights, you name it, it came from the ground up. That’s how this movement should proceed.

While you’re at home looking inward, pick up a book and a fact once in a while.

Nov 18, 2011 8:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
TheUSofA wrote:

It’s personal responsibility for the common person, different set of rules if you’re wealthy and/or maintain a position of power. Apparently corporations are people according to the Citizens United case yet they get to avoid paying their taxes. But thanks to Citizens United, they now get to spend the money they saved from not paying their taxes to further their influence over an already corrupted electoral process.

Wal-mart, the nations number one employer cuts benefits to it’s workers to shore up it’s bottom line. Profits reign supreme. Those workers have to go to the state which means the rest of us pay. Most of their workers are on state aid as it is. being anti-union certainly helps the bottom line, you can treat your workers like garbage. Obama and Co gives out healthcare waivers to Wal-mart and McDonalds (second largest employer). Blatant corruption all around, influence bought and paid for and boy has it been paying dividends.

Privatize profits, socialize losses. It’s the American way.

Everyone else can fend for themselves. Everyone else go be “responsible”.

Nov 18, 2011 8:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sss99 wrote:

The idea of giving “key” Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae employees bonuses is ridiculous. If they threaten to leave because they don’t receive a bonus, fine. There is at least one other qualified, currently unemployed person out there to take their places.

Also, no employees of companies who received TARP money, or GM, should receive bonuses for at least the next 5 years. And again, if they want to leave, there will be someone to take their jobs.

The attitude at every employer I’ve ever worked at (private industry for 25 years) has been that no one is indispensable, and no special efforts were made to keep employees who wanted to leave. You’re unhappy because you didn’t get the raise or bonus you expected? Fine, clean out your desk, turn in your ID badge, and there’s the door.

Nov 18, 2011 9:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse

Root Causes:

* Alan Greenspan (interest rates too low) “there is no housing bubble”
* Repeal of Glass-Steagall (elimination of financial boundaries)
* Mortgage Backed Securities (“risk laundering”)
* Not effectively repairing cracks in the system (Savings&Loan Crisis, Long Term Capital Mgt failure)
* Credit Default Swaps (recipe for chain reaction)
* Ratings Agencies that are paid by the issuer, not the buyer of securities.
* Investment Banks going Public (they were traditionally partnerships in order to have “skin in the game” without limited liability)

Nov 18, 2011 9:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jambrytay wrote:

USofA

No I didn’t read the homework you attempted to assign me and yes I’m asking if the companies you cited had any income for the years they didnt pay income taxes. Companies have years where they don’t make money or have a loss they can net against some of their income in a year where they do make money.

Sorry, I know it’s more fun to be outraged by the big mean corporation that’s screwing widows and orphans

Nov 18, 2011 10:05pm EST  --  Report as abuse
kickabuck wrote:

It is not difficult to identify all the psychopathic responses on this thread. That is what is wrong with this country now. So many psychopaths have risen to positions of high authority in government,
corporations, institutions of higher education and other critical institutions that we are destined for failure unless something is done about it. I am hopefull that the social movements arising around the world is a sign of change. But with the corporate control of the so called main stream media which most people watch I am not holding my breath.

Nov 18, 2011 10:23pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kibble wrote:

The current US deficit has officially arrived at $15 trillion dollars which is now at a historic high of 101% debt to GDP. The SC/congress is trying to cut the budget by $1.2 trillion over 10 YEARS!!! The average cut in the deficit is only $120 billion per year and the Super Committee cannot even agree on this small cut. Overspending by the Feds is now at $98 billion per MONTH or $1.1 trillion per year. The interest alone on the $15 trillion deficit is running at $176 billion per year. I guess when you add up these numbers, even if the Super Committee comes up with a last minute deal for $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years, this plan will not even pay off the interest on the debt. Some day all of this overspending will catch up with all US citizens.

Nov 19, 2011 7:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:

@doggydaddy

I call bs on that. The frank-dodd act does not apply to freddie-franny. They were purposefully left out of the legislation. Freddie-franny has always been a huge supporter of Democrats. Their number one person they give campaign contributions to is frank dodd. That has been true since the eighties. Newt is trash, I am sure they saw him as an opportunity to break into the republican congress at the time. They always had the democrats.

Nov 19, 2011 8:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
slacking wrote:

“Isn’t using median income vs average income a more representative view of what most who work on Wall Street earn? The massive salaries of the relatively few skew the average. Using the median salary would yield a more accurate view of the salaries on Wall Street vs other industries.”

Actually, both mean and median incomes need to be reported because then the income disparity (which is the relevant concept that needs to be shown) will be apparent. Consider this, you have three people at a wall street firm with the following incomes.
person 1 – $1
Person 2 – $2
person 3 – $3,000,000

The mean or average income of this group $1,000,001, leading you to believe everyone at this firm is doing quite well which is FALSE.

The median income is $2, leading you to believe everyone is not doing very well at all, which is FALSE.

When you take the two figures together, you can see that someone in the middle at this firm makes a SHIT salary and therefore the average must be getting skewed by some obscene income disparity at the top.

At this point, you might start asking uncomfortable questions about the nature of said income disparities like, does the guy making the $3,000,000 actually do anything to “earn” his income or has he simply created a differential advantage for himself based on exploitation of others, has he used money acquired from this exploitation to change laws so they are more favorable to him and/or prevent the media from portraying him in a negative light? In short, has he gamed the system to get rich or has he actually produced something which benefits society and as a result became very wealthy?

Nov 19, 2011 10:17am EST  --  Report as abuse

Why Wall Street doesn’t get it?

With the millions they made off other people’s misery,

the rich can stay in a bubble by

going to ultra expensive restaurants where they are treated as kings,

go to luxurious clubs where everybody makes up arguments to numb their own consicence,

work longer hours as workaholics on their trade make more money, and be surrounded only by people who see greed as a healthy motivation for success, properity, and affirmation for their self-worth & competence,

frequent expensive psychiatriast who are paid to tell these rich clients that everything they do are moral, just, as long as they are legal and pay these shrinks well!

Nov 19, 2011 11:00am EST  --  Report as abuse
Renox wrote:

“When you have cut down the last three and poisoned the last river, you’ll realize that you can’t eat money.”

In our Society everything is arbitrary. Who says that one can own the land or sell the water? Have these people been given a divine right to “own” everything? Where do you draw the line? If you have almost unlimited amount of money you can buy all you want and resell it to the people at whatever price you determine. Not much difference between FEUDALISM where the rich owned the land and serfs cultivated it for slave wages.

Nov 19, 2011 7:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Keynesian wrote:

So many posters want to blame Washington, saying OWS is protesting the wrong group. Politicians are simply the pupputes, and who are the puppet masters? I think OWS has is just right!

Good thing they finally figured out that the bank bail out but BUSH and Paulson was simply a giveaway for the rich. I wonder how humble the bankers and hedgefund managers would feel now if BUSH never gave them the big tax payer giveaway.

Nov 19, 2011 7:55pm EST  --  Report as abuse

Wow! Some really great and well thought out comments on this board!
gruven137
IonOtter
GreenMarine
SeniorMoment
lbh
FredFlintstone
kickabuck
Special compliments to all the above for your well reasoned and fortright commentary.

@gtigerclaw wrote:
“Interestingly, I was researching a piece about why people get into investment banking for a friend at BBC, and I hit the Internet forums. Out of the hundreds of post I read, I never-ever found one person offering one altruistic reason for wanting to chose trading or investment banking as a career. Absolutely all of them were only concerned about becoming RICH and to hell with everybody else. I came away thinking. A great bunch of sociopathic, self-serving people in the investment banking business sorely lacking any social responsibility and ethics whatsoever.”

You are not the only researcher to discover psychopatic tendencies in the business elite.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/nov/07/one-per-cent-wealth-destroyers?commentpage=3

In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses. They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses’s scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.

What OWS is protesting is a very real and complex problem in dire need of immediate resolution. There certainly is no shortage of places to point the finger. The only thing absolutely transparent and simple is the fact that our government is corrupted by the influence of money and we no longer have a democratic republic that represents the citizens of this nation. I do agree with many of the other posters that if some corrective action is not taken very soon, there will be a repeat of history with blood running in the streets. People are ANGRY. And rightfully so.

There is one phrase that keeps haunting me and that also seems to be at the crux of the problem, and that no one has mentioned; “Too Big To Fail”.

Since when is any business interest deemed too big to fail??? The truism I learned at an early age is “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

By allowing the paradigm of “too big to fail” to continue, we are only setting ourselves up for massive failures in the future, even if we finally achieve some measure of success with disrupting the current corruption. Essentially what we are doing by allowing “too big to fail” to continue is giving Enron the keys to the national economy. The ones deemed “too big to fail” need to be pared down to size, reined in, so they cannot run away with our entire global economy ever again.

One last word on this subject of “too big to fail”. That was corporate tea that went into the harbor in 1776. For the first 100 years of our history as a nation early Americans kept corporations on a short leash, with explict charters of very limited duration; there was no such thing as a perpetual corporation. The 1776 revolt was as much againt corporate power as it was against a distant crown. Something to think about!

Nov 20, 2011 12:45am EST  --  Report as abuse
Geojames wrote:

Regarding the mean & the median, it all depends. The median is obviously, the middle and could represent those who are in that range.

often when numbers/figures run from high to low, the median is better choice. If the sample group is close in range, then the mean or average is a better indicator of value.

You can present both to sway an argument. Perhaps a deviation analysis or a variance analysis, frequency, etc., is in order to delve a bit deeper.

Here is my favorite paragraph:
“Some who get paid to advise the rich on how to deal with the media and the public are telling clients to pay attention.

Robert Dilenschneider, founder and principal of The Dilenschneider Group corporate consulting group, recently sent a report to his clients telling them that many of the protesters taking part in the Occupy movement are not a bunch of unemployed crazies and hippies.”

At least some are getting it. I do agree that there is huge disconnect in income and social classes. Now more so than ever.

Nov 20, 2011 9:16pm EST  --  Report as abuse
RailBended wrote:

this movement will get violent.

Nov 21, 2011 1:25pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MarketForce wrote:

Railbended warns: “This movement will get violent.”

I agree. The Police will always get out of line, given enough time and steroids. You give people a little bit of power and they’ll let it go to their heads every time.

Nov 21, 2011 3:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
bbwyo wrote:

Kudos to indydog and alexhavens, 1angry american. All the finger pointing serves to muddy the water. The majority of Americans are hurting. The biggest joke is that banks and businesses are singled out as the Problem in too big to fail. The real problem is that the US Government/ European Union have become “too big too fail” and those in charge (special interests able to afford a voice or weld self interested influence) are squirming to maintain the status quo. I’m not an anarchist but the playing field is not level.

From my isolated location (rural Wyoming) I see the Tea Party and OWS groups as different brothers of the same mother. All the bickering results in things becoming more complicated to satisfy competing interests. Good ideas are hijacked and morph into Frankensteinish regulations which create systems that become more like an octopus with tentacles feeding a central entity that has no connection to it’s fodder.

Nov 23, 2011 9:52am EST  --  Report as abuse
MikeBee wrote:

Two or three days a week I go to Occupy LA with my two signs: (1) “Super Tax the Super Rich” “Its where the gains went.” “email Congress.org” (2) “Why I Occupy/Visit: 1. End Citizens United 2. Prosecute Wall Street Fraud 3. End Corporate Welfare 4. End tax cuts for millionaires.

I get at least 50 thumbs up for every one thumbs down from passing motorists and pedestrians.

The simple, hard fact is that an economy does not work for the majority when the top 1% get over 25% of the annual income and have 40% of the national wealth. When th Tea Party wakes up to the lies of the GOP, we will see them unite with OWS and change this country. There is another FDR out there getting pepper sprayed as I write this.

Nov 23, 2011 6:36pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MaraZinia wrote:

“Instead of vilifying our most successful businesses, we should be supporting them and encouraging them to remain in New York City.”

This raises the question of where these businesses will go if ‘we’ don’t support them. What exactly does this person think he’s threatening us with? We don’t want people to continue making fortunes from shady gambling games anyway. Let them go and good riddance. No other country would be fools enough to have them anyway.

Nov 24, 2011 8:33am EST  --  Report as abuse
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