Stockbrokers: Better than us, smarter than us and dog-gone it, people like them … no, wait …

I have no idea what effect Occupy Wall Street (and spinoffs such as Occupy Raleigh and Occupy Chapel Hill locally) will have in the long run, but they’ve definitely hit a nerve.
Not surprising. We’ve been stuck for years with a one-sided economic narrative: Slashing taxes on the rich will lift all boats, regulation does nothing but kill jobs, and the tax system treats millionaires much more unfairly (why, this man only has $400,000 a year left after paying taxes, business costs and family needs) than the poor. Politicians of both sides have been repeating these cliches since the Reagan era, to the point it’s next to impossible to make a case for government spending: a)people have been hearing the opposite for three decades and b)everyone is still convinced it’s the real third rail in politics.
Having people actually state that the rich getting richer while the poor and middle-class get poorer is bad——let alone that the rich getting richer is contributing to the losses of the other 99 percent——is kind of startling. And for the Worship the Rich crowd, alarming——my god, it’s the French Revolution/Lenin/the sixties all over again! George Will, for example, responds to political candidate Elizabeth Warren’s arguments about what the rich owe society by asserting that she’s rejecting the individualism that makes America great. His evidence? A book that came out in 1958 which said stuff like that, so Warren must be thinking the same thing.
As Digby observes, Wall Street is reacting rather like a duke confronted with protesting serfs: Do they not realize who their superiors are?
One financier asserts that if the protesters don’t watch out, Wall Street will just outsource high finance to the third world. Is he seriously suggesting he and his coworkers are going to relocate to Singapore/South Korea/Vietnam? Let alone work for Third World wages? Somehow I’m not convinced.
Digby also quotes a rant from an email earlier this year: “What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. We don’t take an hour or more for a lunch break. We don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at 50 with a pension. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.
For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a year and whine just like you that we are so-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.”
I am strangely unconvinced that this guy has the skills he thinks he does … and completely unconvinced that if he did get an assembly-line or a teaching job, he’d still be willing to skip lunch, skip unionized protection and wouldn’t be looking forward to retiring as soon as possible (I did retail for 10 years and it does wear on the legs——never mind landscaping).
Perhaps it reflect, as Digby’s observed in other posts, the 1 percent’s conviction they really are an elite who earns everything they get. And that even if their company is floundering, they deserve a big bonus (when it comes to whining, they already have an advanced degree). And that it’s not enough they’re paid more than almost everybody else, their greatness has to be acknowledged.
And if it’s not, heads are gonna roll!

1 Comment

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One response to “Stockbrokers: Better than us, smarter than us and dog-gone it, people like them … no, wait …

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