Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

"Outstanding…Moore Triumphs! Publishers Weekly

Mike & Friends Blog

Dean Baker

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

June 28th, 2010 9:28 PM

Wall Street Congratulates Washington: A Job Well Done

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman is well known for pretentious columns that consist of letters that he suggests some prominent person write. I licensed Friedman's literary tool in order to present the following letter from the Wall Street CEOs to the political leadership in Washington.

Dear Friends:

We want you know how much we value the support of the leadership of both political parties in your efforts to ensure that we did not suffer from the crisis that we ourselves created. As you recall, back in the fall of 2008, our banks were flat on their backs. If you had not rushed to our rescue with trillions of dollars in loans and guarantees from the Fed and the Treasury at a time where no sane investor would talk to us, most of us would be among the unemployed today. Instead, our banks are hugely profitable and we're happy to say that bonuses are again hitting record highs.

While this is the sort of support that we expect in exchange for our generous campaign contributions, we are especially impressed how you have managed to so effectively blunt any backlash from the public. After all, with the unemployment rate still near double-digit levels, millions of people facing the loss of their homes and tens of millions seeing their savings wiped out, there is naturally considerable anger. However, you have managed to deftly deal with this problem by diverting their attention elsewhere.

Instead of people being angry at us for the billions that we are pocketing while the economy is still in the tank, you have managed to make scapegoats out of the unemployed. At a time when there are five unemployed workers for every job opening, you have been able to whip up public resentment over unemployment benefits that average $300 a week (a few minutes' pay for us). This is truly skillful politics.

We were also impressed to see that you are taking steps to have the government punish people who default on their mortgage loans to us. Just because we are enormously rich and have huge banks doesn't mean that we know what we are doing when we issue a mortgage. We didn't think about things like the housing bubble when we issued a lot of those mortgages back in the boom. As a result, we lost a lot of money. We stand to lose even more if people keep defaulting - even when they are able to pay back our loans (sometimes referred to as a "strategic default").

Therefore, we appreciate your actions to have the government punish borrowers who default. By telling defaulters that they will not be able to have future mortgages insured by the Department of Housing and Urban Development or purchased by Fannie Mae, you are helping us squeeze more money out of these homeowners. This must be especially difficult since we know how much pressure there is on many of you to actually be helping the homeowners. But you folks have had the courage to stand with us even as foreclosures are continuing at a near record pace. We appreciate this.

And now, you have decided to put cuts to Social Security at the center of your agenda. This really takes courage. Here is a program that people have paid for with their taxes. This tax will be sufficient to fully fund benefits for the next 33 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and even after that date it could indefinitely pay more than 70 percent of scheduled benefits, assuming no changes are ever made to the program. This means that current and near retirees have already paid for their Social Security benefits.

But you're going to cut Social Security benefits anyhow. And this is even after the collapse of the housing bubble and the resulting downturn wiped out most of the housing equity of the baby boomers and much of the value of their 401(k)s. Frankly, under the circumstances, we wouldn't have been surprised if you were talking about increasing Social Security benefits. But, we're absolutely delighted to see you moving forward with plans for cuts. This will mean that we won't have to be taxed to repay the bonds held by the trust fund.

And, of course, there is the financial reform bill. You killed any plans to break up too big to fail banks (leaving us with huge government subsidies) and kept any talk of a financial speculations tax from being taken seriously.

Keep up the great work; we'll remember you at campaign contribution time.

Best wishes,

The Wall Street CEOs

You must log in to comment.

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Log in | Register

If you have a moment today, I hope you can read the obituary for my father Francis (Frank) Moore, who died this past Saturday at the age of 92: Francis...

Apr 22nd
6:33 PM
Read More

My father, Francis (Frank) Moore, passed away this morning a few months shy if his 93rd birthday. He was a great dad I am blessed to have had him in my life. I...

Apr 20th
2:58 AM
Read More

Time to put the cuffs on Chris Christie -- not for the bridge scandal, but for this: Chris Christie's $300m pension proposal broke state anti-corruption...

Apr 18th
7:31 PM
Read More

George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him... www.theonion.com President Bush has a new hobby -- painting! --...

Apr 17th
7:28 PM
Read More

Big new story from David Sirota and Pando on top Christie adviser and appearance of corruption at New Jersey's pension fund: REVEALED: Gov....

Apr 17th
12:41 PM
Read More

FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot To Just Sit Back And Enjoy Collapse Of United States www.theonion.com WASHINGTON—The FBI announced today that it has uncovered a...

Apr 15th
3:28 PM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel's top donor bought stock in Marriott just before it was awarded huge contract pando.com As schools are closed and pensions cut,...

Apr 9th
2:00 PM
Read More

I'll be at First Time Fest today in New York City at the screening of my first film, Roger & Me. Loews Village 7 at 12:30 pm. Come see it on the big...

Apr 5th
9:48 AM
Read More

Revealed: Rahm Emanuel cuts public pensions, diverts money to benefit campaign donors pando.com If you've read the financial news out of Chicago the last...

Apr 4th
2:19 PM
Read More

Please take a moment today to think of Casey Austin Sheehan, son of Cindy and Patrick, who was murdered by U.S. foreign policy in Sadr City, Baghdad ten years...

Apr 4th
2:00 PM
Read More

ICYMI - I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence...

Apr 3rd
7:38 PM
Read More

I've joined this "thunderclap" to support the Connecticut legislators who voted yes on last year's Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention...

Apr 2nd
8:27 PM
Read More

I am opposed to the death penalty, but to every rule there is usually an exception, and in this case I hope the criminals at General Motors will be arrested...

Apr 1st
3:55 PM
Read More

How Long Some in the US Will Survive Under New Health Law ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com Those who must access care to live and can afford it are not...

Mar 31st
10:13 PM
Read More

Last night, The Good Wife on the East Coast started 40 minutes late due to the overrun of the NCAA basketball game. If you had your DVR set for the show, you...

Mar 24th
5:41 PM
Read More

Watching films today, looking for the ones I'm going to pick for my film festival this summer. I (and a whole bunch of others!) have this thing we put on...

Mar 23rd
4:48 PM
Read More

When the U.S. Health Care System Keeps Killing, Who Cares Enough to Fight? ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com We have largely forgotten that people are at...

Mar 21st
5:56 PM
Read More

Tell the White House not to give up on Dr. Vivek Murthy's nomination as Surgeon General despite the ferocious opposition from the NRA: Don't give...

Mar 21st
5:38 PM
Read More

This criminal would never see a jail cell, nor would his cronies. In fact, they'd later be rewarded with re-election: Presidential Address on War with...

Mar 19th
9:40 PM
Read More

The crime of the century -- our invasion & slaughter in Iraq -- started 11 years ago tonite in this 7pm (ET) hour, March 19th, 2003: CNN Coverage of...

Mar 19th
9:08 PM
Read More

Washington’s Back-to-the-Future Military Policies in Africa ...by Nick Turse www.michaelmoore.com Nick Turse is an award-winning journalist, historian,...

Mar 17th
4:59 PM
Read More

"I think democracy is the most revolutionary thing in the world." -- Tony Benn, 1925-2014 Tony Benn in 'Sicko'

Mar 14th
10:07 AM
Read More

RIP Tony Benn, one of the UK's greatest leaders: Tony Benn, veteran Labour politician, dies aged 88 www.theguardian.com Former cabinet minister died at...

Mar 14th
9:53 AM
Read More

Please read this important story from K. Ford K.: Am I the Face of the New American Middle Class? www.huffingtonpost.com I began to feel I had slipped so low...

Mar 13th
2:24 PM
Read More

Yesterday Dianne Feinstein revealed that the CIA has been spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee. This is all about the report the committee has produced...

Mar 12th
6:48 PM
Read More

Health Care for All Colorado has brought Mercy Killers, a show written and performed by Michael Milligan about our murderous for-profit healthcare system, to...

Mar 10th
1:08 PM
Read More

Health Care Dramas that Sting and Why We Have to Watch ...by Donna Smith www.michaelmoore.com The realities Milligan has written into the show cut deep into...

Mar 10th
1:02 PM
Read More

Did you know the Lehrer Newshour on PBS has been produced for 20 years by a company owned by conservative cable billionaire John Malone? Me neither. After...

Mar 7th
8:39 PM
Read More

Mr. Obama, if int’l law is so damn crucial . . . | RootsAction.org act.rootsaction.org The Russian intervention deserves criticism. But let’s be clear. The...

Mar 6th
1:21 PM
Read More

Subscribe to Mike's Blog RSS

Click here to suggest an article

Mike's Blog

See More Blogs

Vew the archives

View older articles