Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Galaxy-class Assholes

This really takes the cake, a Nobel, several Olympic Gold medals, and as many Peabodys as O'Reilly thinks he has won:
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people."

He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Most of us who talk about pitchforks, tumbrels, guillotines, and the like are joking.  There's not going to have another French Revolution, and the people who want something like to happen that are idiots.  Besides, the government has too much firepower, and employees too many people who actually get off on kicking people while they're down.  But assholes like the one quoted above prove that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have valid reasons to take on banksters.  Not only does he brazenly assert that American legislators should respond to campaign donations, not the voters, which should be enough to get everyone out on the street by itself.   But he also shows that Wall Street doesn't understand the American economy or the role of finance in it, and needs to be beaten down for that reason, too.  A large, continent-spanning country of 310 million people can't survive on a financial sector concentrated in one city.  Only very small countries (less than 1 million people) can.  Even Switzerland, which is basically synonymous with banking secrecy and profiting from illicit wealth, has a large and healthy manufacturing sector (albeit with a higher portion of luxury goods makers than most).  A big country like the United States has to be good at making stuff.  And it is, in some sectors - airplanes and software most notably.  The role of a financial sector in such a country should be to facilitate the rest of the economy.  Instead, Wall Street has taken to profiting from the decline of other manufacturing sectors, and from increasing inequality.  It has both fed and gotten wildly rich from the increasing amount of debt Americans have accumulated in order to maintain their way of life as their incomes have been squeezed.  OWS is an entirely legitimate response to the problem the US financial system poses for the vast majority of the citizens of the US.

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