“Greed is good!” snarled Gordon Gekko, (brilliantly played by Michael Douglas in the movie, Wall Street) before he was convicted of cheating, and in a venerable Hollywood tradition, caught and made to pay for his crimes. In real life, there are thousands of Gordon Gekkos, few caught, fewer convicted. That’s why people are protesting in lower Manhattan, and all over the U.S.A.
Eric Cantor and his bull guano ilk, eyes wide shut, call the protestors a “mob.” Bad mouthing your opposition is also a venerable tradition, more amusingly seen on wrestling shows. Cantor and his bull guano ilk defend greed ala Alisa Rosenbaum, aka, Ayn Rand, whose fractured arguments inspired crackpot economist, Milton Freidman, who in turn attracted hordes of Gordon Gekkos because his theory lets them legitimize their greed.
The Greed-is-Good crowd may finally be under investigation. Congress’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is building a file of actions that caused “a man-made economic catastrophe.” Its stated goal: “to protect Main Street from the excesses of Wall Street.” (Calling Wall Street’s criminal behavior “excesses” is like calling a mugging “unfriendly.”)
• They fostered “subprime” mortgages, bundled them into high-risk “toxic” assets called “collateralized mortgage obligations,” or CMOs, and taking fat commissions on each, “fed them into the financial system like a polluter dumping poison into a river.”
• They pressured, bribed, and otherwise got Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s to bequeath AAA ratings, pure bull guano, but enough to fool buyers into thinking they were safe investments.
• They dreamed up “credit default swaps,” a kind of insurance, so that those who saw the meltdown coming could make a killing.
• They took securities poised to fail, sold them to trusting clients, then bet against them, making a killing when they tanked.
• They got government regulators to turn a blind eye, and now hope to stop regulations by proclaiming the Tea Party anti-regulation bull guano line.
• After the meltdown and subsequent government bailout (to keep a dire situation from becoming far worse), top management awarded itself fat bonuses.
Gordon Gekko was a piker compared to these vampires. Eric Cantor and his bull guano ilk, who loudly condemn the Zuccotti Park occupiers, should go on trial along with the perps.