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.