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Hey, Wall Street, Main Street Gets It. Do You?

You know, the more I read the New York Times the more I realize those Manhattan financial district reporters may be awfully smart but still don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. They keep telling the rest of us what we “need to understand.” Apparently we “need to understand” that if taxpayers don’t hand over more money to Wall Street investment financiers than has been spent on more than five years of war in Iraq, then “Main Street” in middle America will pay the price.

Let me tell you something. I live in Middle America. This is Main Street. Actually, its name is High Street, but it is the Main Street of Columbus, Ohio, the street on which most of the small commercial businesses can be found. This is a block of High Street in the Clintonville neighborhood, where university professors live, where the nice schools are. Two years ago this block was filled with active businesses and offices. As you can see, it’s empty now.

The people at the New York Times and the people they write for on Wall Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan are incredulous that people in flyover country, people in the towns and cities of Middle America don’t, as they say, “get it.” But we get it. We already got it. We got it earlier this summer when unemployment spiked to new highs. We got it a year ago when storefronts on our Main Streets started to close. We got it two years ago when houses up and down the streets we live on stopped selling and foreclosures began to creep up. We got it over the course of the last decade as CEOs got paid millions of dollars to wreck entire corporations while our pay actually went down.

We’ve been getting it for some time now, but while all this has been happening politicians like John McCain and lobbyists like Phil Gramm and nattily attired columnists like David Brooks have been telling us that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, that it’s all in our head, that we’re just a “nation of whiners” for noticing what’s been going on around us.

It’s the people on Wall Street and the people who write the news for them and the people who write the laws for them who haven’t been getting it. They still don’t get it. They don’t get why Americans have a problem with giving Wall Street financiers who’ve already screwed up some more money to screw up all over again. Well, get this, Wall Street. Get this, New York Times. Get this: we know America has economic trouble. We’ve been living it, and we’ve been watching you rich pricks stand still while things get worse. Now that you and your cufflinked friends are in trouble, NOW all of a sudden you’re in a rush? So big a rush that debate and deliberation have gone out the window and you have to pass your precious $700 Billion bailout NOW, before anyone has second thoughts?

Well, hang on there, Manhattan. Cowtown America knows the smell of bullshit, and this is it. We think you “need to understand” that the answer to screwed up finances isn’t more screwed up finances. We think if you’re going to fix the economy, the last thing you want is a hasty plan drawn up by screwed-up financiers from Goldman Sachs and shoved down Congress’ throat with a time limit for deliberation. You take your time. You get it right. You make sure that Main Street America is going to get all that money back.

Then, when you’re done, how about you pick your heads up out of your navels and take a look down Main Street USA and notice what’s been going on since long before the first bank crashed. Where there used to be industry, where there used to be sales, now there’s just some faded plastic plants and piled up trash. This is what’s happening now. Do you get it?

3 comments to Hey, Wall Street, Main Street Gets It. Do You?

  • Elle

    What seems kind of funny, in a sick sort of way, is that it is “main street” and “flyover” country, that put the people in place that caused this whole financial mess.

    Everyone who voted republican in the last presidential election cycleand even before, for whatever reason, is getting what they asked for. Welcome to the Bush administrations, ‘compassionate conservatism’, deregulation, free market capitalism and ‘trickle down’ economic smoke and mirrors.

    Yep those Bush tax cuts sure did help a lot, created plenty of jobs, helped raise the standard of living for untold families, provided capital for all those new businesses. Gosh I felt my boat rise right along with everyone else out there. Didn’t you?

    Has your sarcasm meter broke yet?

    In one sense, middle america is getting exactly what it deserves for falling for the Bush and GOP hype. The GOP never wanted to help anyone but themselves and the big money contributors that helped get them elected, and provides them with cush jobs when they are through being ‘public servants’.

    Anyone remember Eisenhower and his warnings about the Military-Industrial complex?

    I didn’t think so.

    The GOP, the neo-cons, and the religious right all played middle america like a well tuned stradivarius.

    You called the tune, now it is time to pay the piper.

    Hey, if you elect McCain and Palin, maybe this time they will kiss you first.

  • Darebrit

    Some interesting observations on America’s economic woe’s.

    Back in the day, during the term of the first George Bush, we saw the rape and destruction of the Savings and Loan businesses such as Silverado; for which the youngest Bush and others should have been or were indicted and then pardoned by George the first. Then conservative thinkers decided to privatize social security.

    It was suggested that by allowing people to invest a portion of their earnings in to the stock market, they could control their retirement accounts themselves and relieve the Federal Government of the burden of taxing us and investing the funds on our behalf. We were assured that this would not only relieve the tax burden on Americans, but produce a better potential retirement investment to the people. We were of course assured by proponents of the system that it would work to the benefit of everyone and relieve the Government of responsibility and reduce government spending on administrative costs.

    We were also told that the strength of our economy and the growth of the stock market would guarantee a healthy return on our retirement investment. What we were not told is that a similar system introduced by the ‘Iron Witch’ Margaret Thatcher, had failed in Britain, leaving the system bankrupt after using SSI funds to pay for the Falkland’s war.

    A little later on; say around 2006. Congress and the Senate devised a Bill developed by the Banking Industry, to change the perfectly efficient bankruptcy laws to make it more difficult for small borrowers (Credit Card) from declaring bankruptcy. Attached to the bill were certain provisions in the change of Usury laws to allow Banks to charge up to 28% on Credit Card debt and even higher on other unsecured loans. And boy! Did the banks make money?

    Now we have a collapse of one giant and several not-so-huge insurance companies who have lobbied every Member of Congress and Senator to protect the Insurance companies from those wicked and greedy clients who exist only to pay the premiums. There was also the collapse of several national and foreign banks, many of whom have practiced improper or illegal transactions resulting in fiscal failure. This was followed by Bush proposing a $700B bailout, paid for by the same American Taxpayers who are being penalized by the new Credit Card usury and Bankruptcy laws.

    By the way; How do companies that produce nothing and take in vast amounts of cash on a wager, get to go bankrupt?

    We are told by our dead duck president GWB, that unless we step in to assist the banks, insurance companies and the stock market, the American economy is headed into a depression that will make the 1930’s seem like good times.

    I am not quite old enough to have experienced the Great Depression, but I was born in the 1930’s and I can tell you that stories of that time were told in most working class homes for two generations, and the effects can still be seen and recognized all over America.

    Of course: Bankers and Insurance companies and the Stock Market all recovered from the depression unscathed and got even richer, and in spite of the Government sponsored programs such as the Savings and Loans, Federal Backed Insurance and Mortgage programs have vanished, depriving those for whom they were devised, of cheap government backed mortgages and home loans. They were left to become prey to the big corporate banks. Who convinced the consumer, that credit was good for them.

    And then along came George the Second and his Great Patriotic wars against anyone with whom he could pick a fight. Spending billions of taxpayer dollars trying to develop more financial control over foreign oil that he and his family and business associates covet. He has been a good and generous friend to his cronies and business associates with sweet no-bid contracts and tax cuts, without a care for the poor suckers who with their taxes, pay the bills to support the recklessness and fiscal irresponsibility that will haunt us for many generations.

    None of the things that have happened on Wall Street, the Banks and Insurance companies is the fault of the American taxpayer. Already in debt for trillions of dollars recklessly wasted on a futile war and tax breaks for the rich over the past eight years, the taxpayer is now being asked to foot the bill for $700B of newly printed GWB dollars to bail out the rest of his friends.

    And what is our reward for such generosity? Higher gas prices, higher transportation costs, higher food costs and a fiscal sword of Damocles dangling over us for the next hundred years. And while we, our children and grandchildren struggle, the Robber Barons and government shills who brought this mess down upon us will survive in their comfortable safe retreats living in arrogance and security on American Taxpayer funds from untouchable offshore accounts.

    Between the fools who believe that what has happened is part of some natural process, and the head-in the clouds group who believe that everything will be OK if we sit in a circle singing ‘Khoum Bye Yare’, or those Super nuts who think that everything that GWB and his pals do is ‘Good for the Country”, we are in for a rough ride.

    What are we left with? NAFTA and Free Trade. The enormous debt load held by foreign (Chinese) Banks. And the oil crunch and the collapse of our entire fiscal pyramid. It is clear that ‘We The People’ have been Royally Screwed! And if we sit back and wait for the same bunch that did all this, to do it again, They will!

    Do not be misled again by the conservative right-wing. Insist on accountability of our government. Demand that elected officials only work for the American People. Order your Congressional representatives and Senators to refuse all unrecorded and unsupervised gifts or emoluments from any kind of lobbyist.

    Take back the Government. ‘Of the People, For the People and By the people.’ Demand re-establishment of Constitutional law. Impeach and imprison those who are guilty of high Crimes and Misdemeanors, Misfeasance and Malfeasance of national resources and improper relations with foreign governments. Call back our troops. Call in illegal payments made by lobbyists to corporate shills in the halls of government, indict and prosecute corporations and individuals who use the national treasury as their private piggy bank and return this country to those to whom it belongs.

    WE THE PEOPLE Have the right and the responsibility to correct the mistakes of the Bush administration. We must exercise the rights granted to us by our country’s founders under the Constitution. We the people have the right to reject those who would place us in jeopardy. George Walker Bush and his administration are solely responsible for the mess this country is in, and must be held to account and called to justice before they slip away to the protection of their foreign masters.

    For our forefathers sake, Vote!

    For your own sake. Vote OBAMA.

  • Tom

    Good call Elle and nice rant Jim. i’ve been writing in this blog, finding my political voice for the past bunch of years ’cause, though we disagree about specifics, we’re on the same page: as far as RESENTING the way “our” government, now almost totally owned by the two major corporate parties, treats us. Not only their broken “contract with America”, but also the DISREGARD for the rule of law and the Constitution, wrung out like a used rag to be tossed aside. i firmly believe that our country has DIED over the past 8 years, after the “pronounced” president, the WIMP Kerry, the STOLEN, RIGGED elections and third world style tactics continue being used in this very election, the continuation of the Jerry-Springer idea of what politics and elections are about being foisted on us by a cowed, out of touch, LYING & COMPLICIT media and Congress, turning a deaf ear on our wishes beginning with a firm desire NOT to go to war and now NOT to be taken advantage of, like a rape victim, pleading and angry with the perp. We’ve gone so far wrong that i don’t believe i’m in the same country as when Clinton (and i have issues with him too) was riding high.

    i miss statesmen like Eisenhower, men who had spine and vision and BRAINS and could communicate with us – not lie to us like an alcoholic dad to his kids (who aren’t fooled about how to interpret reality).

    There are still people like this – a guy named Basevich i’m reading up on, for example. But we need LEADERS – people who can inspire us to do not only what’s right, but to the best of our ability. We gotta stop the RICH ROULETTE that’s going on, the corporate welfare, tax breaks and lobbyists. Nothing’s going to change if we don’t get back to HONESTY.

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