Our Class Enemies are Waging War on Us

Our class enemies may be defined in various ways:
A. The rich, in this case the top 5% making over 105,000/year.
B. The corporations.
C. Wall Street, a subset of (2).
I include the rich because it is obvious that there is a huge transfer of wealth going on. On the individual level, only those in the top 5% have seen their share of the pie rise.
It is hard to delineate the transfer of wealth from individuals to corporations, since corporations are tied in with individuals.
For instance, 60 years ago, corporations paid about 40% of all income taxes in the US and workers paid about 6%. Now the figures are reversed: workers pay about 40% of all taxes, and corporations pay about 6%. Yet corporations continue to scream that they are overtaxed, demand lower taxes, and threaten to move offshore for lower taxation. I realize that those figures only add up to 50% or so of taxation, and I don’t know where the rest comes from. But it’s clear that there has been a huge shift from corporations to workers over 60 years or so.
It’s hard to say who is losing money in the mass income shift. The upper middle class, those making $56,000-105,000, has seen their share of the pie stay the same. They are neither winning nor losing in the race. They are holding their own and growing with the economy.
I would guess that the bottom 80% of the population, those making less than $56,000/yr, are the ones that are seeing their slice of the pie decline. So there is a mass transfer of wealth probably from those making below $56,000 to those making above $105,000. Those at the bottom end of the 80% are probably losing the most of all.
Here is how they are doing it:

  1. First they destroyed our unions. This really started kicking in in about 1973, but unions have been declining since 1955 or so. This also seems to be ongoing.
  2. Next they sent the manufacturing jobs overseas. This is apparently still ongoing.
  3. Then they raided all the pension funds and stole the money that had been sacked away for workers for their retirement. This is also ongoing and apparently accelerating since the task is not yet complete.
  4. Presently, they are in the process of eliminating employer paid health insurance. This project is just getting underway and will probably accelerate over time.
  5. They have all but exempted the wealthy from taxes in line with the classic Third World model. This project is definitely ongoing, and Republican President Barack Obama just gave it a big jump start by saying the tax cut bill. This one is definitely ongoing and not yet completed, but seems to be accelerating. Part of the game is a shift of taxation off of rent, wealth and investment income and onto wages. The rentier class is to be more or less exempted from taxation.
  6. They are trying to destroy public education and affordable college education, once again along the lines of a Third World model where public schools are underfunded, ruined and lousy and the only way to get a good education is to send your kid to private school. There will be moves in the coming year to make huge cuts in Pell Grants for college students. This project is very much ongoing and has been for a good 30 years or so. It is very much accelerating lately in the wake of budget troubles.
  7. They destroyed the value of our homes. This is ongoing here in California, as home prices continue to decline.
  8. The next on the agenda is Social Security Trust Fund. Republican President Obama will announce the opening shots in the war to destroy Social Security in his State of the Union address.

What I don’t get is why has the media, across the board, been 100% behind 1-8 in toto? It is almost impossible to find a daily newspaper, newsmagazine, or TV or radio news station that is not backing this project to the hilt. I’m not sure I understand this. Is it because the US media is completely owned and controlled by people making $105,000/yr.?
Also nearly the entire American intelligentsia is behind it. Are they representing their class interests here, since they most all make good money? Both political parties are behind it. The Republican Party represents only the rich and the upper middle class and is the party of class war, so this is not surprising.
But why the Democrats? Are the top Democrats also wealthy people working for their class interests? Is the Democratic Party in the last 20 years with the onset of the DNC working for the interests of their large corporate and wealthy donors, A-C above?
It’s interesting that there are few people in either party and almost no one in the mass media representing the interests of the bottom 80% in this class war. Most in both parties and almost everyone in the media is on the side of the rich waging class war on all the rest of us.

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20 thoughts on “Our Class Enemies are Waging War on Us”

  1. At some point the left was co-opted by purely self-interested rich people, who removed class from the equation and replaced it with vague anti-racist/social justice bromides that dovetail neatly with the corporate neoliberal agenda.
    As Adolph Reed said:
    http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Antiracism.html
    I remain curious why the “debate” over antiracism as a politics takes such indirect and evasive forms—like the analogizing and guilt by association, moralistic bombast in lieu of concrete argument—and why it persists in establishing, even often while denying the move, the terms of debate as race vs. class. I’m increasingly convinced that a likely reason is that the race line is itself a class line, one that is entirely consistent with the neoliberal redefinition of equality and democracy. It reflects the social position of those positioned to benefit from the view that the market is a just, effective, or even acceptable system for rewarding talent and virtue and punishing their opposites and that, therefore, removal of “artificial” impediments to its functioning like race and gender will make it even more efficient and just.
    Rather than create a more just system, the elites of the various groups just want to get in on the action, so they rewrote the original goals of the left to suit their purposes.

      1. I think Reed means something along the lines of:
        “(If one rejects the race realist/pro-HBD position…) The fact that certain minorities are clustered in lower classes, demonstrates that the market is not working to perfect efficiency, due to societal barriers (e.g. prejudice, legacies of opportunity). Getting rid of those barriers will make the market work better.”
        Of course, if race realism/HBD is true, it will have exactly the opposite effect, and our efforts to enforce desired results are wrecking the market and hence economy.
        I personally believe the alleged efficiency of free markets is a highly over-rated theory, that’s well publicized because it’s financed by the people who benefit from getting others to believe in it. But I also think one of the key elements in eroding the middle class over the last 3-4 decades has been the enforcement of affirmative action and EEO laws based only on statistical discrepancies (not evidence of a discriminatory act in a particular instance.) If businesses know they won’t be allowed to hire the best people for their openings, they’ll create fewer high-paying positions and more of the kind of jobs that just about anyone can do.

      2. BTW, I also wanted to say, but couldn’t work into the flow of my above comment, that the Democratic Party today is made of:
        a) minorities and women who want white males’ jobs
        b) whites who think a) would improve society for everyone, without putting their own jobs at risk
        Which is why in 2004, Kerry won high school dropouts and people with graduate degrees; while Bush won high school and bachelor degree graduates.
        The Republican line-up is the people who don’t want to give white males’ jobs to minorities:
        a) white males
        b) their wives
        c) business owners who want to be able to hire the best employees

      3. I think what he means is that people who take the “race first” line, those who insist that racial injustice can and should be dealt with independently from economic injustice, are almost always rich or upper-middle class people themselves, and already benefit from the capitalist system. They don’t want to get rid of capitalism; they just want it to work better for them. They want a bigger share of what rich white guys have, but they don’t want to share their own considerable (in global terms) wealth with the majority of people who are poorer than they are.
        Although most of the rich people gaming the system are white men, most white men are not rich. This doesn’t stop white people from being collectively guilty forever for all the most successful exploiters being white guys. Many race-firsters don’t want to change the system, they just want their opportunity to work it themselves. Hence you have Ishmael Reed and others defending Barack Obama’s corporate graft and murderous imperialism, apparently on terms of “Let a brother get some for once.”
        Hence you get the Abagondies who obsess about every last detail of the long-defunct Atlantic slave trade, who are utterly oblivious to the 27 million people currently in slavery. Any mention of the modern slave trade or any non-white exploiters is neatly dismissed as “The Arab Slave Trader Argument”. Abagondies have lots of free time, which they use to invent cutesy terms and pseudo-DSM diagnoses to pathologize any white person who disagrees with them on any subject.
        Also, even though virtually every person of color in America uses an unsustainable share of world resources, the general goal endorsed by the Abagonds and Tim Wises of the world seems to be to bring POC up to the level of consumption middle class white people have enjoyed for the past 50 years. Never mind the fact that peak oil and various other environmental issues are going to put a cramp in their style. I myself tried to bring up the subject of just what lifestyle we could expect in a country with a fair distribution of resources on Tim Wise’s website. He dodged my question with the vague answer “Those are fair questions and I do consider them every day.” In other words, Wise is happy to attack the environmental movement for being “too white”, but is unwilling to examine his own exorbitant wealth and consumption.
        p.s. This behavior is of course not limited to people of color or the issue of race. The women’s and gay rights movements have been co-opted by yuppie opportunists who seek to benefit only the elite of those groups.

        1. Hence you have Ishmael Reed and others defending Barack Obama’s corporate graft and murderous imperialism, apparently on terms of “Let a brother get some for once.”
          Exactly.
          Ishamel Reed has incessantly defended Obama, regardless of his policies.
          And it’s especially interesting coming from Ishmael Reed, considering he lives (or at least CLAIMS to live) in the hood.
          Therefore, you might expect more of a class analysis from him.
          Counterpunch is one of the few leftist publications that actually harshly criticizes Obama for his neoliberal warmongering.
          I honestly don’t know why they continue to let a clown like Reed write for them.
          Hence you get the Abagondies who obsess about every last detail of the long-defunct Atlantic slave trade
          As Thad pointed out, this is why he has trouble taking rants over “privilege” very seriously, especially when these rants are cloaked with self-serving righteousness. (to closely paraphrase Thad) “I mean, oooh! Condemn the 18th century transatlantic slave trade. What a bold and radical position to take, close to two centuries after Wilberforce! [roll eyes] I wonder if the people posting here put half as much thought into, say, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…?”
          They don’t want to get rid of capitalism; they just want it to work better for them.
          A very wise history professor of mine once said, “traditionally, no groups want equality. They just want special privileges of their own.”
          Hence, blacks and other groups don’t really want “equality” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), or to make the system more just. They just want to make that system work more in their favor.

  2. A big factor is the fact that a lot of union people have been culled of their high-IQ members. It used to be that trades were considered respectable occupations, in the minds’ of White liberals. When that changed, the smart faction simply left to pursue the professions.
    The smart people who tend to make a middle-class or higher wage, simply don’t care about the poor. The only mainstream media figure that really seems to care about poor people is the aging Pat Buchanan.

  3. To Rob:
    “They are trying to destroy public education and affordable college education, once again along the lines of a Third World model where public schools are underfunded, ruined and lousy and the only way to get a good education is to send your kid to private school. There will be moves in the coming year to make huge cuts in Pell Grants for college students. This project is very much ongoing and has been for a good 30 years or so. It is very much accelerating lately in the wake of budget troubles.”
    As for public education, Asian Americans place second in the world after Shanghai Chinese kids, White Americans place second (for Whites) after Finns… Hispanic Americans blow away every Latin American country and African Americans… well there is no competition since sub Saharan Africa doesn’t administer the PISA test but they do beat their closest competition in Trinidad Tobago (which is 40% Indian..)
    http://www.creators.com/opinion/pat-buchanan.html
    Yes I know Buchanan… but the facts check out. He claims that the US spends (per capita..) the second highest amount in the world per student for k-12 education (after Luxembourg..) however I was not able to independently verify this.

  4. All the cities were built in oval shapes, representing the black mother goddess, now cities are built in squares?
    He’s a professor?
    Sure, and I’m Catherine the Great! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

      1. Professor Griff is his handle. He’s in Public Enemy. He also belongs to the Nation of Islam, and therefore harbors many fanciful ideas.

        1. Yeah, the Yacub creation myth had me laughing. WTF! LOL!
          That being said, the NOI is very disciplined, polite, and well organized. I’ve actually had a couple of them approach me at my UC, asking for donations!
          While I didn’t give them anything, they were very professional and polite. They frequently say “yes, sir” and are almost military like.
          I’ll say this. I feel much more comfortable around a Nation of Islam follower than your average Oakland DeShawn.

        2. That’s interesting. I’ve driven by them selling fruit in plastic bags on street corners, and was under the impression that they didn’t like dealing with white people at all.

  5. The economic/financial ruling class is JEWISH. Get that through your fucking thick skulls. You guys are no better than the CRT/Ishmael Reed types when you totally avoid the KOSHER angle to this ” class war”, which is more like a Jew/Gentile war.

  6. To fpy3p:
    The economic/financial ruling class is JEWISH. Get that through your fucking thick skulls.
    Ummm…. no… not even the majority.. (albeit Jews are substantially over represented…) Much of the decline of US manufacturing is due to outsourcing which started with NAFTA and was dramatically accelerated with the rise of China (for manufacturing..) and India (for services…)
    For the most part the parties responsible for NAFTA and granting China favored nation status were very much Goy. (George HW Bush, George W Bush, Bill Clinton..) Both actions were heavily supported by a majority of Republican House members and Senators.. (There were few Jewish Republican representatives at the time…)

  7. In the 1970s and 80s there was little actual outsourcing…. (wherein a US company would close shop in the US and open a factory in another (much cheaper less regulated country…) Much of the decline in US manufacturing came from home grown enterprises in 1) Germany and Japan in the 60s and with full force in the 70s and 80s especially for Japan. 2) the Asian Tigers especially Taiwan and Korea. Much of the investment in all of these countries came directly or indirectly from the host countries. Japan targeted steel, autos, and ship building.. eventually ceding the later to Korea. Japan, Korea, and Taiwan targeted electronics.
    There was much talk of US trade deficits in the 80s (and to put this in perspective.. one of the worst years (for the whole year..) for trade deficits in the 80s – 1987 was at the same level that the US averages on any given month. By the early 90s after the plaza accord (where the US dollar was lowered against the Yen and the West German Mark…) the US ran a current account surplus.
    What really accelerated the crippling of US manufacturing was 1) NAFTA 2) Most Favored Nation status for China and then China’s entry into WTO
    NAFTA:
    http://www.economyincrisis.org/content/disastrous-effects-nafta-16-years-later
    The money shot:
    ““NAFTA is really less about trade than it is about investment,” former presidential candidate Ross Perot once said of NAFTA. “Its principal goal is to protect US companies and investors operating in Mexico. The text of the agreement is contained in two volumes covering more than 1,100 pages. Buried in the fine print are provisions that will give away American jobs and radically reduce the sovereignty of the US.”
    Prior to the implementation of NAFTA, the U.S. held a small trade surplus with Mexico of approximately $10 million. By 2007, that surplus had turned into an astounding $91 billion trade deficit. With Canada and Mexico combined, the U.S. has taken a $24 billion trade deficit prior to NAFTA and turned it into a $190 billion deficit – a 691 percent increase.”
    “Now Americans are forced to compete, not only with one another, but also with Mexican workers who are willing to work for much less than the average American. In the U.S., the average factory worker makes roughly $18 per hour while his Mexican counterpart earns just $3 per hour.”
    “The failure of NAFTA could not be evidenced more clearly than through the influx of illegal immigrants that have entered the U.S. since 1993. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. have increased to 12 million today from 3.9 million in 1993, accounting for an overall increase of over 300 percent.”
    The second blow, China:
    “Agricultural interests generally opposed attempts to block MFN /NTR renewal for China, contending that several billion dollars annually in current and future U.S. agricultural exports could be jeopardized if that country retaliated. In China’s case, Congress agreed to permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status in P.L. 106-286, President Clinton signed into law on October 10, 2000.[2] PNTR paved the way for China’s accession to the WTO in December 2000; it provides U.S. exporters of agricultural products the opportunity to benefit from China’s WTO agreements to reduce trade barriers and open its agricultural markets. China joined WTO in 2001. ”
    We are now faced with a situation where China now dominates certain strategic exports to the US. Oh yes.. since we have been running such massive deficits with them, we also owe them a bunch of money. Now when the US protests their subsidies for future industries (Solar, etc.) they threaten economic retaliation. Ooops.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-28/china-cuts-first-round-rare-earth-export-quotas-by-11-correct-.html
    The joke is that there have been articles for the past ten years (or longer), available in English, written by Chinese economics suggesting to do exactly what China has done. (And what Korean did to the US and Britain with ship building…)

  8. Some fairly sizable news organizations get it but obviously don’t carry enough influence:
    Wall Street’s Ten Biggest Lies for 2010
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/les-leopold/wall-streets-ten-biggest_b_802191.html
    What a great year for Wall Street: profits up, bonuses up and, best of all, criticism down, especially from Washington. Somehow Wall Street has much of America believing its lies and rationalizations. We’re even beginning to forget that Wall Street is largely responsible for the economic mess we’re in.
    So before we’re completely overtaken by financial Alzheimer’s, let’s revisit Wall Street’s greatest fabrications for 2010. (For the full story, please see The Looting of America.)
    1.”Honest, we didn’t do it!”
    Two years ago Wall Street’s colossal greed crashed our economy. Our financial elites created and spewed highly leveraged toxic assets around the globe. These poisonous “innovations” pumped up the housing bubble and Wall Street grew insanely rich in the process. When it all burst, we learned that the big Wall Street institutions that had caused the crash were far too big to fail — and too connected. High government officials came to their rescue with trillions in cash and guarantees — underwritten, of course, by we taxpayers. Everyone knew this at the time. But if you asked just about anyone on “The Street” they denied all culpability and pointed the finger everywhere else: Fannie, Freddie, the Fed, the Community Reinvestment Act, tax deductions for home buying, bad regulations, not enough regulations, too many regulations, too much consumer debt, the rating agencies, the Chinese — and on and on. Sadly, their blame-shifting strategy worked, bamboozling the media and people across the political spectrum. The GOP members of the Financial Crisis Commission are so drunk with this Kool-Aid that in their minority report, they refuse even to use the words “Wall Street” or “speculation” in assessing the causes of the crash. Hypocrites? Crooks? Morons? Take your pick.
    2.”The overall costs will be incredibly small in comparison to almost any experience we can look at in the United States or around the world.”
    Ever since Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner screwed up his tax returns we knew he was numerically challenged. But his statement to Congress on December 16, 2010, on the cost of the bailout shows a willful inability to count. Yes, Wall Street has paid back most of our bailout funds. Whoopee! Our economy is in shambles, and millions of people are suffering. With his offensive “no big deal” analysis, Geithner glosses over all this human misery, and sidesteps the hidden costs of the bailout, including the financial insurance we taxpayers provided to every giant financial company in the country via the Fed. On the open market, that insurance — which guarantees trillions of dollars in toxic assets — would come at a very steep price. We coughed it up for free. But that’s still chump change compared to the human costs of the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression — the lost income, the depleted savings, the ravaged neighborhoods. Then there’s the capsized state and local budgets, the public service reductions, the laid off teachers, firefighters and police officers — all resulting from a plunge in public revenues caused by Wall Street’s crash. Why aren’t these costs on Geithner’s balance sheet? A cynic might think Tim was priming us to accept the latest round of Wall Street bonuses. Hey — they paid us back, so why should we care how much they earn?
    3. “It’s a war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
    Steven Schwarzman is supposed to be brilliant. After all, he made billions as head of the Blackstone Group, a private equity company and hedge fund. But last August, as some members of Congress mulled about eliminating a very lucrative tax loophole, he suffered a mental meltdown and saw an impending Nazi invasion. But the awful attack never happened. Schwartzman and his fellow hedge fund honchos all held onto their unbelievable tax break: Hedge fund and private equity income is still only taxed at 15 percent rather than at the top income tax rate of 35 percent. (That’s because, inexplicably, it’s considered “capital gains,” not income.) Taxing Schwartzman’s income as income would cost him hundreds of millions of dollars — and the prospect of this apparently triggered a shock spasm that catapulted his foot into his mouth. I’m sure my IQ isn’t high enough to keep up with the genius logic behind Steve’s analogy. But just who is Hitler and who is Poland in his scenario? Maybe in his grandiose conceit, his firm is as big as Poland? Or it would require a Blitzkrieg to wipe out his tax loophole? In reality, even if Schwarzman had to pay a 90 percent tax rate (as he would have under Eisenhower), it would hardly have been a hardship — let alone World War 3. He’d still have more money than he could ever spend in his lifetime. Schwarzman should be proud though: He gets 2010’s Dumbest Wall Street Quote of the Year Award. Bravo! (In 2009 the honor went to Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who claimed he was “doing God’s work.”
    4. “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government.”
    But not by Wall Street. President Obama words of November 29th came only days before he “compromised” with the Republicans to continue the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich and to bestow an enormous estate tax gift to the 6,600 richest families in America. Mr. President, the “hard truth” is that you’re slapping around public sector workers because you don’t have the nerve to take on Wall Street. If you had the guts, you could raise real money by going to war with Steven Schwartzman and eliminating the hedge fund tax loophole. By the way, closing that loophole for just the top 25 hedge fund managers would raise twice the revenue than you’ll get by freezing the wages of all two million federal workers! (See “The Wall Street Tax Debate that Never Was” )
    5. “25 hedge fund managers are worth 658,000 teachers.”
    Nearly everyone on Wall Street sincerely believes that they are “worth” the enormous sums they “earn.” You see, their pay is determined by the market, and markets don’t lie. They reflect the high value our skilled elites bring to the economy. So we shouldn’t be shocked that the top 25 hedge fund managers together “earn” $25 billion a year, even at a moment when more than 29 million Americans can’t find full-time work. The outrageous economic logic of Wall Street compensation has those 25 moguls taking home as much as 658,000 entry level teachers (they earn about $38,000 per year). How can that be justified? It can’t. These obscene “earnings” are the product of 30 years of financial deregulation, as well as the tax cuts and tax loopholes that our government has just extended. The hedge fund honchos get most of their money by siphoning off wealth from the rest of us, not by creating new value. I dare Wall Street to prove otherwise.
    6. “To bolster the economy we need …. an improvement in the relationship between business and government (the current antagonism, even if not the primary explanation for slow hiring and sluggish investment, does seem to be affecting hiring and other business behavior).”
    In this op-ed, Peter Orszag, Obama’s former budget director, parrots the Wall Street line that employers aren’t hiring because of “regulatory uncertainty.” Mother of God, how much more certainty do they want? The Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats aren’t about to let Obama seriously regulate Wall Street, even if he wanted to, which he doesn’t. The truth is that employers aren’t hiring because there’s insufficient consumer demand for goods and services. But at least Peter Orszag is a man of his word. He personally plans to “improve the relationship between business and government” by tapping his government contacts at his new fat job at Citigroup, the nearly failed mega-bank that he helped to save at taxpayer expense. Orszag could have landed a coveted professorship at just about any university in the world. But apparently the 42-year-old wiz kid prefers Citigroup’s multi-million dollar compensation package. Any bets on how long it takes for Larry Summers to cash in?
    7. “Lengthened availability of jobless benefits has raised the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.”
    You see, the unemployed cause their own unemployment, at least if you believe this assessment from a March 17th research note from JP Morgan Chase. (Next, Wall Street will call for a return of the Poor Houses.) The theory is simple — you give people money not to work and they won’t look for jobs. Still, it takes chutzpah for JP Morgan Chase, the beneficiary of billions of dollars in taxpayer largess, to criticize the unemployed for not finding jobs that aren’t there, precisely because JP Morgan Chase helped to destroy them! Dear JP Morgan research staff: Five to six workers are now competing for every available job. If that’s too complicated for you quants to grasp, maybe you should try a game of musical chairs in the trading room.
    8. “Private employers, led by our revitalized financial sector, will create the jobs we need — that is, if the government would just stay out of the way.”
    We now need 22 million new jobs to get us back to full employment (5 percent unemployment). In addition, each month the economy must generate another 105,000 jobs just to keep up with new entrants into the workforce. To get to full employment, the private sector would have to create about 630 firms the size of Apple (35,000 employees each). These numbers don’t lie. Does anyone on Wall Street really believe that the private sector alone can pull off this miracle? But really, why should they care? They’ve got theirs, thank you very much. The painful truth that both Wall Street and Washington refuse to face is that if the big, bad government doesn’t fund or create millions of new jobs, we’ll face crippling unemployment for decades to come.
    9. “Tim Geithner extolled ‘the benefits of financial innovation’ to the American economy.” (Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2010)
    Sorry to beat up on Tim again, but it’s sometimes hard to tell who he’s working for. Whenever you hear the phrase “financial innovation” put your hand on your wallet. That’s the phrase Wall Street uses to justify its casinos and its outlandish profits and bonuses. People who talk about “financial innovation” are either getting big bucks on Wall Street, want more bucks on Wall Street, or hope to get a job on Wall Street the nano-second their public service ends. My question for Tim is: If Apple creates iPhones, what does Wall Street create? Warren Buffett says it creates “financial weapons of mass destruction.” Paul Volcker, Reagan’s Fed Chair, said there is not a “shred of evidence” that “financial innovation” is beneficial. Volcker also believes that the economy “was quite good in the 1980s without credit-default swaps and without securitization and without CDOs.” Volcker gets the Smartest Wall Street Quote of the Year Award: “The most important financial innovation I’ve seen in the last 25 years is the automatic teller machine.” How could Tim get it so wrong?
    10. “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Okay, okay, Claude Raines said that in Casablanca, not on Wall Street. But Wall Street and its defenders say exactly the same thing about their opaque derivatives games. Louise Story’s excellent piece in The New York Times shows how a handful of banks have cornered the market clearinghouses for derivatives – entities that are supposed to make derivatives less risky. The big banks are limiting competition, according to Story, because they “want to preserve their profit margins, and they are the ones who helped write the membership rules.” Meanwhile, Wall Street is quietly pushing to exempt its most profitable derivatives from even these rigged exchanges. So don’t be “shocked, shocked” when Wall Street crashes again and we’re asked to foot the bill. And that’s when, not if.

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