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Screw Wall Street > Letters

Web Letter

It is about time our country wakes up and realizes that lawyers, doctors and investment bankers are not marvelous citizens but merely the best-dressed thieves.

All those kids graduating from Ivy League schools don't want to go into real work--becoming engineers, architects, artists, etc. That would mean they actually would need some talent.

Much better to get into a profession where the only talent you need is having a degree from the right school.

I have no pity for financial people. I got a finance degree as an undergraduate and worked for a firm, but I hated it. Because I actually had business ideas and financial people are all about status and ego. They don't want to work for their money.

So let those investment bankers get real jobs.

Lawrence Smith

Palos Verdes, CA

Sep 20 2008 - 5:38pm

Web Letter

This article is absolutely astonishing in its failure to appreciate the symbiotic relationship between "Wall Street" and "Main Street." Perhaps it does not occur to the author that millions of houses were constructed for Americans of modest means, enabled purely by the insane leverage and liquidity that was orchestrated by the government and investment firms. Working Americans built those houses and earned good salaries for doing so. Retailers and others enjoyed the benefits of outfitting those families and houses.

Prior to the crash of this whole arrangement, most people would have thought it was a generally good arrangement, and several trillion dollars in real wealth was created, even net of the current downturn (seriously--check your stats on the stock market, housing market, etc., which are collectively valued in the tens of trillions of dollars)

As the saying goes, "be careful what you ask for... you might get it." A maimed and gun-shy NY financial sector means economic problems for New York City (public services, schools, etc.), and dramatically reduced availability of capital for the rest of the country means higher borrowing costs, fewer mortgage loans available, fewer business loans available and a generally more conservative economic environment--more cautious employment decisions by companies, etc.

There is no question that many Wall Street execs are really feeling the pain this time, like many in the middle class, but we should take no comfort in their misfortune, because it foretells additional misfortune for others, many/most of whom have far fewer options than the recently disemployed Wall Streeters.

Speaking as a business owner, I can attest to the very difficult credit environment at the moment, and the impact on employment. Hypothetically, if I can't borrow money for equipment because the credit markets in NY can't resell my loan, then I can't hire workers to run the equipment, and the factory that makes the equipment won't be able to sell the equipment to me, and consequently won't hire the workers necessary to manufacture the equipment. Now, multiply this effect across 10+ million businesses in America.

So, the author may feel satisfied at Wall Street's travails, but that will be of scant comfort to the people who cannot find work as a consequence of this financial debacle, not to mention state and local governments that will be deprived of tax revenue, etc., etc. And to those who may see this an opportunity to raise taxes to fill the breach, please note my equipment example above--compounding the credit crunch by removing even more money from businesses isn't going to lead to more employment and higher wages. If you think otherwise, then you probably have never run a business, met a pay roll, and paid taxes (property, income, payroll, sales, excise...)

We all "hate" the greedy I-bankers, but maybe it would be a good thing if they weren't unemployed for too long...

David Fisher

Denver, CO

Sep 20 2008 - 1:08pm

Web Letter

Bravo to Flores-Williams for capturing the spirit of the "rest of us" who don't enjoy in the illusory, ephemeral--yet oh-so powerful--world of the investment bankers, carpetbaggers, corporate leeches & CEO-mongoloids ruining all of our economic day from the killjoy that is Wall Street, and take a degree of pride in our righteousness watching them fall over their indexes like so many King's teapots. If not for the bailout from their friends over in the Treasury & Federal Reserve, we'd be rid of all of 'em. The Bible says the "first shall be last, and the last first." Let's hope it's onto something... and we are too.

Napoleon Blake

San Diego, CA

Sep 18 2008 - 11:02pm

Web Letter

I wouldn't consider myself an advocate for the super-wealthy but The Nation should be ashamed for publishing an article with this kind of tone. It smacks of class warfare and will do nothing to bring about a more reasonable dialogue in this society. Just because injustice is taking place doesn't mean those who see the injustice have a right to act like a bunch of kindergarteners. By the way, injustice has been taking place for thousands of years, it's not an invention of Wall Street, so get real! At any rate, the gentleman writing this "editorial" is a lawyer, and last time I checked lawyers aren't among the most oppressed members of our society. If he protests that I'm generalizing, then it would appear he's had a taste of his own medicine. I'm less inclined to pick this journal up if this is the kind of "journalism" I can expect to see. I would expect this kind of rhetoric from Rush Limbaugh, not The Nation.

p.s.: I don't know what would lead Mr. Flores-Williams to think that "newfound poverty of the super-rich" is about to grip the nation. The super-rich will hardly be affected by this travesty, if at all!

Roger Farwell

Washington, DC

Sep 18 2008 - 8:57pm

Web Letter

Although I am in agreement about many the problems inherent in a capitalist system (such as was espoused by the author), I am shocked that this article took such a glib tone. This crisis not only harms those who used to rake in the big salaries; it also hurts all of the city agencies (especially in NYC) who rely on taxes from these companies' earnings, and not-for-profit organizations whose funding streams rely on both corporate and private philanthropy. The investments of private foundations have also taken a hit, as have the countless service employees who are now out of work and/or not benefiting from the disposable income that flowed so freely out of the wallets of those banking on wall street. The system may be flawed and needs fixing, but this is certainly no time for celebration.

Yasmin Sabrina

Los Angeles, CA

Sep 18 2008 - 7:43pm