February 17, 2016

Wall Street.

A serious Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - VT) candidacy would at least focus the mind. I have long wanted a stark contrast and would relish the thought if the GOP had some candidate to oppose him.

So, against the risk that he'll actually prevail, I am all in for #Bern. Sec. Clinton would probably be the best President of all remaining and viable candidates, but watching her lose to Sanders would be great entertainment. And she would not be that much better.

Already, we have some thoughtful articles about Wall Street. Two from the *ahem* Wall Street Journal.

Today, Joseph Epstein pens a guest editorial which is polemic but still important: "Bernie and the 'Lunatic of One Idea'." Epstein compares Sanders to Freud because as the Doctor explained everything with sex and repression, the flinty Vermoter can invoke "Wall Street" and every flaw in life is explained. (Instant Replay wouldn't be so slow if it did not serve "Wall Street and the Billeeonayuh class!")

Mr. Sanders's synecdoche for his idea is Wall Street. Everything wrong with American life can be charged up, in his telling, to a small neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Something old-fashioned there is about blaming Wall Street for all the country's deficiencies. But, then, lunatics of one idea, basking in the pleasure of Manichaeism, like to focus all their enmity on one target.

As always, bonus points for using "synecdoche."

A softer column ran last week by Bret Stephens, who dared to suggest that these people are human beings, not devils with horns and forks. They bring prosperity to the nation. And, in the unfortunate case of David Wichs, perish if a crane falls on them.

The next day the papers told the story of his life: a Jewish immigrant from Czechoslovakia; a math whiz with a degree from Harvard; a thoughtful neighbor and husband; "the nicest, most trustworthy person that I have known," according to his boss, Mark Gorton, of Tower Research Capital. Mr. Wichs was just 38 when he died.

I never met Mr. Wichs, but reading about him reminded me of so many people I know in his industry--prodigiously bright and slyly funny, reasonably wealthy but rarely ostentatious, family men of the type who show up at school auctions and United Jewish Appeal dinners. Maybe they voted for Barack Obama the first time, probably not the second. They're the people who, even now, make American finance the envy of the world.

They're the most demonized people in America.

I guess we are living in "The Merchant of Venice" full time now, and the quality of mercy is not Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. (And yes, that line was borrowed from Buffy). Always the Wall Streeters are evil and the "victims" suffer "plight." Here's Jim Geraghty:
Back on January 26 of last year, the Washington Post wrote a lengthy profile piece presumably meant to be a heartbreaking portrait of victims of the housing bubble in Prince George's County. The article showcased Comfort and Kofi Boateng, legal immigrants from Ghana, who "struggle under nearly $1 million in debt that they will never be able to repay."
Wait for it...

"on the 3,292-square-foot, six-bedroom, red-brick Colonial they bought for $617,055 in 2005. The Boatengs have not made a mortgage payment in 2,322 days -- more than six years -- according to their most recent mortgage statement."

These folks have lived in a six-bedroom house and haven't paid a dime for six years, and we're supposed to believe they're the victims here? The Post continued, "Their plight illustrates how some of the people swallowed up by the easy credit era of the previous decade have yet to reemerge years later." Wait, living in a house for six years for free is a plight?

Well, Jimmy, there are only six bedrooms in that free house. It's about gorram time those evil financiers pay!

Egalitarian Socialism Posted by John Kranz at February 17, 2016 11:23 AM

And their bible is already out per my highly educated and highly excitable L/W friend; Michael Lewis (author of _The Big Short_) has just pushed out _Flash Boys_ who in the words of my old friend's ever colorful and histrionic verbiage shows "how the whole Wall Street is completely corrupt."

Hmm, I've already countered with 'well, Wall Street is not a single, homogeneous entity' and will soon need a decent definition and example of 'corruption.' My first take would be either Head Start (zero results for several $B spent) or the Oregon health exchange. Any other nominees?

Odd thing about this guy: he's been a budding socialist-liberal voted for ages (of the "we need just the right, smart people in there") and is well on his way to being a very successful entrepreneur!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:47 PM

To save TS'ers, here's a good article ripping the veil off Lewis' fanciful meanderings.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 9:54 PM

I can't let this go; even Newsweek captures what I'd gleaned:

[the book & film] leaves out any discussion of the main culprit behind the financial crisis, which was not Wall Street “greed” but bad monetary and credit policies from the Federal Reserve and the federal government.

The article calls out the excellent
White Paper from FEE.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 17, 2016 10:08 PM | What do you think? [3]