Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wall Street Fat Cat

This photograph was taken in 1913, and shows a Wall Street Fat Cat. Well, I sense that you all are getting tired of my ranting about the economy and the Government's feeble attempts to address the issues that are causing what is perhaps the greatest financial collapse in history. Because of this, I am trying to limit my commentary on the economy to my Sunday post. So, I have been pretty good all week to spare you my opinions, but as today is Sunday, here goes.

First off, I should say that I am not poor, and blessed enough to not be struggling financially. My family has always worked hard, been generous in our giving, responsible in our spending, and diligent in our saving. I do not resent people who have become successful by creating, building, making, or otherwise providing useful goods and services. That is the American Dream, and I am the first to congratulate those who have been able to make it big. The thing that gets me though, are the Fat Cats who amass huge fortunes by gaming the system, and providing no real value to society. When I look at the Wall Street guy above, it is as if he has some sort of smug smirk on his face. I see that same smirk on the faces of Fat Cats today, and it really, really annoys me. A case in point is the Government's recent bailout of AIG. Through gross mismanagement, AIG executives drove the company to the point of bankruptcy, while at the same time collecting huge bonuses for themselves. Rather than let the company go under, the Federal Government bailed the company out, and provided $85 Billion in financial support for the company. This was my hard earned money, your hard earned money, and the money of our children and grandchildren. After providing this emergency bailout, the executives at AIG decide to have a retreat at the posh St. Regis resort near Los Angeles. Total tab for the retreat was over $440,000. What the . . .???? We bail out AIG to the tune of $85 Billion, and then they decide to treat themselves to a little Junket to the St. Regis? The resort bill included over $23,000 in spa treatments for the executives.

My question for you is, where is the outrage? Am I the only one livid over this? I fear we are reaching the point that the voice of the common man is no longer being heard.


  1. I must disagree with you in one respect. We reached the point where the voice of the common man was completely silenced when Reagan started cutting taxes just for the sake of cutting taxes. Do you remember "Trickle Down"? Give the rich folks more and the common man will get to feed off of what falls from the table.

    Calling on Karl Rove these past years, not for the purpose of helping the nation, but solely for the purpose of getting the incumbents re-elected, while Brownie was doing a heckofa job is just symptomatic of this "screw the common man" attitude.

  2. I thought I agreed with Don until he started ranting ignorantly about Reagan. Don doesn't know how good a friend Reagan was to the common man. If we'd had a couple of hundred people like Reagan in Congress with him, we'd now have a drastically smaller govermnent, and an exponentially wealthier, freer common man than we do.

    Can't disagree much about Bush & Brownie though.

    As far as "reaching the point" - since when has the voice of the common man ever been heard, except in the most extreme points of crisis? During the Farmer's Revolts in Rome, once every 500 years when they rioted and burned down the homes of the bankers and money-lenders, then he was heard. When Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door, then for a while he was heard. At the gates of the Bastille, then for one precious butn terrible moment he was heard. When Paul Revere rode through the night, then, amazingly for a half a lifetime, he was heard. When the Berlin Wall came down, we heard a whisper, just for a day.

    But let things settle down a bit, to where "business as usual" can be conducted, and the sharp men, the money hoarders, the backstabbers, the tinpot empire builders go right back to putting their endless rigged-game money squeeze on the common man.

    Our great failure is that we have yet to devise a government that effectively "unrigs" the money game. A government that levels the playing field, and keeps it clean and fair. Here in America we came closer, for a while, than anyone else ever had before. But it's slip-sliding away, again. And we're paying a terrible price for that failure.

    There was a good reason Jesus drove the money-changers out of the temple. Perhaps one day we'll be wise enough to make them stay out.

  3. I see it as a failure of the Elites rather than a failure of one political party. Unless they themselves feel the pain then it might take time before any 'outrage' is properly and satisfactorily articulated in the MSM. For the rest of us it might take time before we fully digest the situation and its consequences, for there will be consequences. Thankfully, in addition to TV, Radio & Newspapers, we have the Internet to express ourselves.

    I understand their posh retreat had already been planned beforehand so they just went ahead with it (no excuse). I think it illustrates their complete unsuitability for their positions rather than a desire to fleece the taxpayer...but perhaps I am just naive :-)

    It will be a crime if the only people who are punished are those who have acted responsibly.

  4. America is a corrupt nation. Our economy is based on lies. Our elected officials are liars. Our electoral process is corrupt. Our religious landscape is a picture of greed and consumerism. Our media is a tool of the rich and powerful. We permit ourselves to be led like sheep to slaughter, because we prefer to pursue pleasure and despise life. The enemy is within. The game is on.

    I will be quietly expressing my outrage and repentance at the ballot box. I won't be voting for McCain or Obama.

    Who is Brownie?

  5. Please don't glorify Reagan.

    He was a union buster. He tore down public education. It took our country 200 years to reach a 200 billion dollar debt and he doubled it in 4 years! He ushered in the largest tax hike in American history, making my generation pay for social security twice so it would be solvent by increasing business taxes from 7% to 14-15%. Then when "trickle down" economics didn't work he and Greenspan started seriously raiding the same social security fund surplus leading once again to its insolvency. He overturned Carter's high automobile mileage goals and standards after the oil crises of the 70's sending us back into gas guzzlers. He rejected alternative energy, he even had the solar panels torn off the White House. He included the military to make his employment statistics look better. He cut social programs which shoved my state institutionalized uncle out onto the streets and said people with Alzheimer's could just get a job, darn good thing he was rich with Nancy holding his hand in later years. If you will recall the stock market started its bubble run during his presidency by doubling in value. And then there was Iran-Contra . . . and that's just the tip of the iceberg of the things he did AGAINST the common man.

  6. Oh and by the way we have had a couple hundred men like Reagan which has led us into this mess.

  7. What should we have expected from AIG management after years of its mismanagement?

    Shame on us for giving AIG "rescue" money!

  8. I think Del McCoury sums it up in his song Moneyland. It's a money disease it's a thing called greed.
    It's not so funny if you don't have the money in moneyland.

    I feel so sorry for my grand children’s future.

  9. Remember its people who elect their governments.

    (The Naming of Cats, TS Elliot)

    The Naming of Wall Street fat cats is a difficult matter,
    It isn't just one of your bank holiday games;
    You may think at first I'm as mad as Cramer the CNBC hatter
    When I tell you, a fat cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
    First of all, there's the name that the trader's use daily,
    Such as Jimmy, Dickie, Kenny or Jamie,
    Such as Henry or Lloydie, or Johnny or Bernie -
    All of them sensible everyday names.
    There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
    Some for the gentlemen gangsters, some for the dames:
    Such as Maestro, Gorilla, Bandit and Ace -
    But all of them sensible everyday names.
    But I tell you, a fat cat needs a name that's particular,
    A name that's peculiar, and more infamous,
    Else how can he keep his pinstriped network reticular,
    Or save his whiskers, and cover his backside?
    Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
    Such as Bootstrap, Lucky-me, or Will Con-you,
    Such as Ponzo, or Boeski and Screwless Ken Lewis -
    Names that never belong to more than one fat cat.
    But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
    And that is the name that you never will guess;
    The name that no financial sleuth can discover -
    But THE WALL STREET FAT CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
    When you notice a fat cat in profound meditation,
    The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
    His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
    Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of the name of:
    His ineffable effable
    Latest, deepest and inscrutable CON GAME.

  11. I am a new subscriber. I absolutely love your daily "old" picture blog spot; and, I absolutely agree that balance between the freedom to create for the American dream, and the regulations necessary to keep another Great Depression from reoccurring, is essential to sustain the United States. I find so few people like you Don who think in rationality and not in the extremes. Thank you for all of your effort in your daily posts.


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