Inside Job

We watched this Academy Award Winning documentary last weekend and it was both eye-opening and disturbing.  Between news stories in the days after the financial collapse and bank bailout and a recent Rolling Stone article, I knew a lot of this already but the refresher was good.  I get the feeling it’s all going to happen again because nothing has really changed.  The CEO’s and executives of the top financial institutes have their influence everywhere.  Bank executives who were aware and involved with the “voo-doo” that crashed the economy are cycled through government positions and professors who teach the future traders and bankers are on the payrolls of the companies that stole from our government.   With a system like that there is no way to fix anything.  We’re training the future minds to continue the same practices and filling government positions with people who refuse to regulate anything.  Our financial futures are in the hands of criminals who are running the government agencies and training bright minds to be even better criminals.

In the days before and after the bailout, people were so pissed.    Now it seems just like a blip on the radar, long forgotten.  We’re back to fighting over things like abortion, gay rights, and “liberal media.”  If you take the time to look at the wealth distribution numbers in our country it is sickening.  And the bailout, well that just siphoned money from the hard-working people at the bottom to the people at the top.  Do you know that bailout money was even used to give executives millions of dollars in bonuses?  After politicians slammed wall street for it’s system of bonuses, they didn’t even bother to put a clause into place to keep them from using tax-payer money to give more bonuses.

During the housing bubble, I said on an almost daily basis that it didn’t make sense.  How was it sustainable and how could people actually afford the homes they were purchasing.  I said it over and over again, yet the news and the Fed chair kept saying that everything was OK.  It wasn’t.  They lied to us and the result was a lot of people losing (and still losing) everything.

In the midst of the bubble, about 2 miles from my house, thousands and thousands of acres of trees were cut down.  I teared up every time I drove by the scene, but they were going to build a wonderful shopping center.  To make myself feel better about the whole thing, I imagined this great place with sidewalks, fountains, ice-cream shops, and boutiques.  If the precious trees (and animal habitats) had to go at least we’d be left with a nice place to kill time.  It’s been five years since they took out those trees and all we have to show for it is a Wal-Mart, a Costco, and an abandoned Sportman’s Warehouse.  There are no sidewalks or cutesy shops.  The bubble burst and the money ran out.  Everyday I drive by a shopping center I don’t even use (I don’t shop at Wal-Mart and don’t have a Costco membership).

It’s like this everywhere.  Next time you drive out look around your area and you will see remnants of the greedy business of Wall Street and the damage they did to America.  The half built neighborhoods, the homes in foreclosure, the small businesses closed down, and your neighbors who are dealing with lay-offs and pay cuts.  I live in Florida’s capitol city.  My state elected a sociopathic, tea-party “business man” as our governor.  My city is experiencing the brunt of his ax.  Our nation’s debt is a real problem and it was made a lot worse by the bailout at the end of 2008, but no one is asking those executives to help out.  Instead men like Rick Scott and Scott Walker are attacking teachers and other government workers to pay down the debt.  It is absurd, immoral and unjust.

But I don’t really expect any big change.  Despite his campaign slogan Obama hasn’t and won’t bring any change to that industry.  The only hope there is left is for the people, the masses near the bottom of the ladder, to take a stand.  The thing is, those people, they have more important problems to face.  The remaining middle class folks have to deal with rising gas prices (which affect the price of everything else), pay cuts, health care costs, and the debt they’ve racked up by simply living the American dream.  And the poor among us, they are just trying to survive, there’s hardly time for a political fight when you’re not sure where the next meal is coming from.

In a lot of ways Wall Street wreaked just as much havoc on America as other groups, it’s just the towers that crumbled because of them are much smaller and spread out across the country so few people have to actually watch them fall.

3 thoughts on “Inside Job

  1. slowdancejournal May 11, 2011 / 7:57 pm

    The disparity between the top and bottom really has me worried–especially because I live near that lower end. My neighbors had so little give in their budgets to begin with, and little sense of what is happening beyond the immediate like the price of gas and food. As you say, they are not going to fight this fight.

    Recently the mail carrier dropped off a plastic bag for canned goods for the hungry. Although feeding the hungry is a worthy cause it made me mad. In my neighborhood many of those I know are the hungry. We are asking the poor to feed the poor while the rich float above the struggle, never even inconvenienced by the distasteful sight of the privation they have helped create.

  2. Leigh D. Muller May 12, 2011 / 10:18 am

    Certainly the odds are heavily in favor of the politically entrenched staying in power. Add in the judges they appoint and the amendments they pass and it’s easy to feel we are nothing but worker drones supporting the top 1% with our blood, sweat and tears. Obama can’t fight the system because he is one man and change requires that the majority of the American people wake up and see how politics affect every part of our lives.

    Both political parties are to blame, but one is far worse than the other and people would realize this and vote appropriately if they had the time to read, study, and understand. But they don’t; simply having food and a roof over their heads requires every ounce of their intent and energy. And the very people who are most hurt by the political policies of our country are the very ones who are most easily made afraid by faux news agencies and their frightening lies.

    The American consciousness is generous, brave, hard-working, and compassionate; it has an innate sense of fair play. The blood of the men who fought with little else but their idealism and love of freedom runs strong still in our people today. Our force, the will of our people, accumulating drop by drop, one vote, one person at a time into a wave of change that will not be denied is a beautiful idea but it takes time and effort and education, and the powers that be do everything they can to keep us distracted and running in circles so we will not open our eyes, understand, and take our country back.

  3. ThePioneer May 15, 2011 / 1:32 am

    If politics was about electing the right person, why are proportional representation systems more stable, prosperous, and safe than first past the poll systems, on average? They elect people too. Do you really believe the people of France are better humans, or have better humans to vote for than we do? Or do yo think it more likely they just have a better system?

    It’s not the person. It’s the system. First past the poll systems produce 2 party systems. Worldwide. And where there are two parties, they have to be as much like each other as possible to ensure the widest appeal. And where they are virtually interchangable they must create difference that do not matter to diffrient themselves. Hence gays and non-abortion funding abortion funding is more important than say…the greatest disparity between the wealthy and poor 10%s of society in the developed world. (16x, in case you wondered).

    But if you think the answer is voting in the right kind of person to have power without transparency or accountablity, and NOT eliminating power without transparency or accountability, you are playing into their hand. It doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you let the someone decide who you get to vote for first.

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