Moyers’ interviewees confirmed what most of us already knew, that the big U.S. banks and financial movers and shakers are completely out of control. The problem is one of human nature.
Those who have become fabulously wealthy investing other people’s money have an unbounded sense of entitlement.
According to both Freeland and Taibbi, Wall Street magnates believe that one’s wealth is the measure of one’s value to society, and since they are billionaires, they are therefore the most valuable.
Not only that, but their accumulated wealth is proof that their views regarding economics and politics are the only correct views. If they weren’t right, they wouldn’t be fabulously wealthy, would they?
According to Freeland, author of the book Plutocrats, “They see themselves as heroes and drivers of the American economy.”
As a result, they believe they deserve to hold a special place in society, separate and apart from others, and by and large, they do.
Limousines and private jets move them from place to place. They are escorted from penthouse to office to conference room; others handle the mundane details of life – making reservations, shopping, looking after children and housekeeping. They associate only with others who share their views and possess equal wealth and, according to Taibbi, generally feel disdain toward the rest of society.
Even their clients, those whose money has made them rich, are often referred to as “Muppets,” creatures to be manipulated and controlled.
Indeed, according to Freeland and Taibbi, the investment firms often move the money of their clients in ways that allow the firms to make money for themselves, not for the good of the clients. Their attitudes have altered the fabric of American society, disrupting the social contract that formerly valued the mutual improvement in the well-being of all members of society, reducing it to an “us versus them” mentality.
Despite the economic collapse of 2008, caused by the reckless abuses of the major American financial institutions, the big investment houses are already screaming for more deregulation,
Freeland said. “How dare they have the gall to say that too much regulation will ruin the economy,” she added.
However, they do have the gall, and their money has bought the support of the majority of politicians in the U.S. who have to have huge amounts of cash to run their expensive election campaigns.
Those who propose any form of regulation are branded socialists and anti-free enterprise. If Romney is elected, they will have the standard bearer they need to continue the push for more deregulation and unbridled manipulation of financial markets.
The sad irony is that those who are held in disdain will be Romney’s electors.
– Jim Holtz is WEEKENDER columnist and former reporter of the Grand Forks Gazette