Topic: Wall Street

Memo to Wall Street: Victimhood is a losing trade

The major problem of the investor class these days is piles of cash and lack of investment opportunities. The major problem of the middle class is lack of a stable paycheck, underwater mortgages and, in many cases, ruined lives. And yet it is the former who are quick to be offended and portray themselves as a persecuted minority, and it is the latter who quietly toil away paycheck-to-paycheck without making headlines. For some reason it is the working stiffs who … Read More

Libor Fixing Scandal in the Grand Scheme of Things

 ”Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done.” Fiona Apple Libor is an acronym that stands for London Interbank Offer Rate. It’s the rate at which banks borrow and lend between themselves. But Libor has much wider implications. In fact it affect several hundred trillion dollars of various investments. Libor is the basis for calculating interest rates on your mortgage, your student loans, your credit cards, as well as on any corporate, municipal and mortgage-backed bond out … Read More

In None We Trust

At this point, I’m not easily surprised.  But when I heard last week that multiple banks had committed major fraud in a market with a notional value of trillion of dollars, even I was stunned. Fear not: I won’t try to explain the LIBOR scandal myself.  (The details don’t even matter much for our purposes.)  I’ll refer you to the folks at NPR’s Planet Money, who put together a superb piece.  To quote the analogy in their intro: In France, … Read More

Regulate Wall Street

Honest Competition by Katya G. I put this video together since Wall Street is my pet issue. It highlights the general idea of a fair game, of following the rules. Those who undermine the rules are simply not equipped to play the game — thus they bend them to their own advantage. Be a mensch, Wall Street – play by the rules. Creative People: ACT NOW is thinking about doing a series of social ads — for example, touching on taxes, … Read More

The Spell of Wall Street

“Seek first to understand, then be understood.” -Anonymous Understanding Wall Street mentality is a bit like understanding military mentality. There’s something utterly profound when brothers in arms pull together in the heat of battle and persevere. Wall Street fancies itself to be like the military. The place is rich soil for military quotes and references and “war stories”. Making money in adverse conditions is viewed as an act of valor, a display of incredible courage. Many in a decision-making position … Read More

Honest Conservatives

It is possible, although decreasingly so in American politics, to admire, if disagree with, your political opponents. I keep a dwindling collection of conservatives, who are not preoccupied with vengeance, destruction, pledges and sexual politics. I call them “thinking conservatives” and perhaps the matters where we disagree would come down to economics and foreign policy. David Frum is on that list. So is David Brooks. William Buckley, the lucid founder of conservative magazine National Review, whose son Christopher Buckley famously … Read More

Republicans – A Party without Judgment

Capt. Willard: “They told me that you had gone totally insane, and that your methods were unsound.” Col. Kurtz: “…Because it’s judgment that defeats us.” – John Milius & Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now. In the run up to a debt ceiling debate last summer, I wrote this on my wall: In the battle between the Tea Party and Wall Street I’m betting on Wall Street. How naïve I was back then. How much faith I put, wishfully, into Republicans’ … Read More

Think Wall Street Suits are the 1%?
Think Again.

Remember how in the original Wall Street movie Gordon Gekko, while riding in a limo with Bud Fox, describes what it means to be rich? I’m not talking about $400K-working-Wall-Street-stiff-flying-first-class-and-being-comfortable. I’m talking about being rich enough not to waste time. Then he points a finger at a homeless person and a man in a suit on the sidewalk and says something like “there’s no difference between the two.” I agree. There’s no difference between the current day protesters and most … Read More

Whose Street is it Anyway?

I have a lot of thoughts about the current “occupation of Wall Street.” To put it simply, I believe that the protesters are right – corporate greed has royally screwed not only our economy, but our humanity. Whether you find capitalism to be the perfect economic system or not, there’s no denying that it has been manipulated and abused in order to benefit the wealthy few. Just look around – you shouldn’t need a chart to understand that those are … Read More