Dear Wall Street: We're Watching You

Don't let it get away!

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Welcome to your nightmare, Wall Street.

For years and years you've been able to do pretty much whatever you wanted. Paid yourselves as much as you wanted, created esoteric products, pushed around regulators, bought politicians, took enormous risks -- risks far bigger than your companies could have ever hoped to cover by themselves.

And now you've done something incredible. You've managed to tarnish -- to bring into question, even -- the primacy and superiority of free market capitalism. That takes a special kind of stupid. It takes really smart stupid. It takes Harvard stupid.

But you, you managed to do it. You did it by creating a system that was a complete bastardization of capitalism. The free market is pretty good at ensuring that successes are rewarded and failures are penalized. It fails when stupid doesn't come with penalties.

Harvard stupid comes from thinking that you're smarter than everyone without recognizing that you still might not be smart enough to control the evil your creations threaten to unleash. The genius financial products that kept you eyes-deep in Cristal and vacation homes nearly caused the global financial system to seize up. Do you think that the titans from the University of Maine could bring the free market, the global economy to its knees? I sure don't, if for nothing else because they don't come from the right families.

I'm not quite sure that the "let 'em fail" crowd realizes just how spectacularly you almost succeeded at failing. And I do mean you. Yes, mortgage banks everywhere participated, and yes, a whole lot of people bought houses that a few seconds on a $3 calculator would have told them they could not afford. But you know and I know that it all started because your yawning maws would take in whatever garbage-quality credit risks you could find because you could feed them into the machine and they'd come out smelling of rosewater on the other side -- part of a AAA-rated tranche of loans for you to sell, speculate in, or re-securitize. You got your sales commissions, your fat bonuses, your skyrocketing share prices.

Here's what else you got: thousands of families losing their homes. The devastation in some parts of the country is so bad that it's transcended the financial on into the ecological. Click on this, if you dare.

So here's the thing. It seems ever more likely that the U.S. taxpayer is going to step in and clean up the mess that your chase for yield created. The Senate has passed a bill, and now comes a revote in the House of Representatives.

If they pass the bill and decide to put your mess on the Underhill tab, we, the Underhills, own you. (Yes, that was a Fletch reference.)

Today you might do a little dance and thank the Almighty that the cavalry is on the way. But recognize that this cavalry isn't some sovereign wealth fund from Norway or Abu Dhabi. You can't roll out some statistical arbitrage chop socky and expect us to believe you. We don't. Further, we're not at all pleased that you nearly managed to ruin capitalism for the rest of us.

And we have folks in our midst who are capable of reading financial statements. Remember those big fat bonuses you got last year for turning toxic paper into AAA-rated inverse IO Strips which you dumped on some benighted bank somewhere (who really ought to have known better)? If your bonuses come within an order of magnitude of where they were last year, I'm pretty sure there will, in fact, be bloodthirsty mobs.

By the time they're done, Wall Street will look like it has been hit with a wholly unlikely combination of calamities including hurricanes, staph infections, choking, golf ball-sized hail, dropsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, homeowners' association meetings, and Mongol invasion. It's the kind of violent force of nature you're pretty sure you'd rather have pointing away from you.

Congress knows it, too. They would like nothing more than an excuse to frogmarch a few of you down to Washington for any perceived inability on your part to get That Which We Are Coming From.

The gigantic paydays of the past aren't coming back anytime soon. Truth be told, you were never worth that kind of money anyway. Sorry, Wall Street. Your Masters of the Universe privileges have been revoked. Please stand by; your new assignments will arrive shortly.

Bill Mann owns some companies but hasn't really figured out how to work them into this article. Maybe that's for the best. Anyway, he's pretty sure that whoever keeps running into his mailbox must have learned how to drive on Wall Street. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.

Read/Post Comments (58) | Recommend This Article (182)

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  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:12 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    We are victims of evil people and stupid people. Evil people who took advantage of stupid people by selling them crappy loans that they will not be able to pay back. Stupid people who don't do their homework before applying for a $300,000 mortgage. You would think they would read a basic book about mortgages before applying for a $300,000 loan, but noooooo..... Why do your homework when you can trust a scumbag lender?

    Evil people + stupid people = incredible damage to good people.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:25 PM, SteveTheInvestor wrote:


    I agree completely with your sentiment with the exception of a single issue of semantics. I don't know that I would classify the victims of loans as "stupid". Certainly, some of them are genuinely stupid. I suspect though that it is more a matter of ignorance. They don't know that they are supposed to know. The lenders on the other hand are fully aware of who they are loaning to and what the end result is likely to be.

    All of it is why I fully support a mandatory 2 semester personal finance and investing course in all high schools, just to get some of the basics to sink in. I wish I had taken such training in high school. It would have been very helpful. Of course, now I'm in my 50's and am able to look back at how completely helpless and clueless I was. My 18 year old self scares the hell out of my 55 year old self.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:29 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    Are you sure you don't have it backwards? That the $700 billion bailout was proposed so quickly and is being pushed for so hard, by known cronies of the "Harvard stupid" gang, is a clear indication that Wall Street still has Washington bought off.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:38 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    mlaursen, if we do not bailout the Wall Street scumbags, WE will suffer a lot more than they will. They have golden parachutes. We don't. Think of it this way. You and Mr. Wall Street are both in a burning building. Both of you have broken legs and cannot move. Mr. Wall street is blocking the exit. The only way you can be saved is if Mr. Wall Street is rescued first. If you do not want Mr. Wall Street to be rescued, you will die too. People who want the bailout bill to fail are wishing for their own demise. They just don't realize it yet.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:43 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    Different people have different reasons for opposing the bailout. My reason is that I don't want another $700 billion+ added to the national debt. I don't see how running up the national debt is helping the average American. If the government wants to inject real economic stimulus into the economy it needs to cut spending -- they could start by bringing the troops home from Iraq.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:46 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    mlaursen, Warren Buffet this week stated that the government can actually profit from the bailout because they will be buying mortgages at super cheap prices that will be worth a lot more in the future. The $700 billion would be an investment, not money down the drain.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:53 PM, mlaursen wrote:

    First, these MBS packages are notoriously difficult to value, so it's not clear how they would know they are buying them at super cheap prices. Second, you are trusting a bunch of Washington politicians, who are cronies of the folks being bailed out, to keep their word on that once the American public's attention has moved on to something else.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:54 PM, kwill10 wrote:

    Harvard stupid, that's a classic. Any way this letter can get added to the language of the bill going to House?

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 4:56 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    mlaursen, I don't trust the government, but I trust Warren Buffett, and he thinks the country is doomed if there is no bailout.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 5:15 PM, ramjet449 wrote:


    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Crooks policing crooks is not good for the taxpayer. McCain is blaming wall street greed, Obama is blaming the Republicans, Hank Paulsen (a former wall street shyster himself) is pulling numbers like 700 billion out of his arse a few months after he said that the system is fundamentally sound...who the hell is the average investor supposed to trust? I for one would like the Gardner bros to give us an in depth analysis of the bailout and our system in general. I think I can still trust them, but their silence is deafening.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 5:28 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    ramjet449, Tom Gardner supports to bailout. See article....

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 6:08 PM, TMFBomb wrote:

    "That takes a special kind of stupid. It takes really smart stupid. It takes Harvard stupid."

    That line made me laugh out loud...great article, Bill!

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 6:45 PM, bobbyca wrote:

    You have to see Youtube video "Burning Down the House" to know why the Wall Streeters will never be dragged on the carpet, like the suffering oil companies do.

    The real culprits will be running Washington.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 7:27 PM, knighttof3 wrote:

    Wait Bill, I heard Wall Street reply back! Unfortunately it wasn't printable, but it can be translated roughly as:

    "And who will bell the cat? Your cogress-critters? We pwn them, buddy!"

    Congress couldn't even get any meaningful caps on executive pay. Who will write them huge checks for reelection campaigns? You the average Joe? Puh-leeease.

    The MotU (Masters of the Universe) crowd has bought our government fair and square and there is nothing we can do about it.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 7:33 PM, hurls99 wrote:


    I true masterpiece!

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 8:35 PM, upupaepops wrote:

    Bill Mann has written a fairy tale that actually props up the very people he appears to hold to the fire.

  • Report this Comment On October 02, 2008, at 8:46 PM, pedorrero wrote:

    An excellent article. It'd be wonderful if a new slate of elected officials do the right thing ... which (in my book), would be to reform things, and make sure a lot of these crooks do some hard time in a real prison, where they can get done to them what they've done to smaller investors for years. But, of course, most of them will get off scot free. Oh sure, a few unlucky folks will be convicted (recall the dot com fiasco of a few years back), and it'll be business as usual. Did I mention, that a lot of this mess is directly attributable to actual or implied government guarantees in the first place. And more to come.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 1:47 AM, HKendrick wrote:


    Your optimism here might border on endearing, if it weren't so misplaced.



  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 3:42 AM, MattAless wrote:


    Great piece. Makes me recall how as a venture capital reporter in 1999 and 2000 I interviewed Harvard grad after Harvard grad who had persuaded VCs to invest in their ideas.

    Yes, grown men, some with decades of business experience, couldn't approve these deals fast enough. And it seemed Harvard couldn't spit out MBA graduates fast enough, either.

    I have nothing against Harvard. I'm sure it's a good school. But there was something foul about how experienced VCs and fresh Harvard grads so quickly and eagerly jumped into bed together.

    As we now know, the lack of critical thinking in both private and public markets eventually ended in a market crash.

    But not before a lot people made a lot of money. Just as with this latest collapse.

    Makes me wonder if those Harvard grads, who so artfully duped VCs 10 years ago, simply used their university's good name to find positions in the financial sector and set about dealing in loans, thus bringing their lack of critical thinking to an industry whose reach extended beyond U.S. borders.

    To be clear. I'm not picking on Harvard. But if a person's alma mater is cited as a reason for a money transaction, then I think critical thinking has been shortchanged. And losses ensue.


  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 4:10 AM, NoMoeMoney wrote:

    I would like to add to this open letter to Wall Street: Do the Harvard stupid actually know what they truly have done? What happens when Markets around the world burn up (as they are now) and the citizens of these countrys no longer have jobs or food? They become restless and violent and thurst for blood. Whos blood? The great Capitalists who got them in this predicament in the first place. Remember what happen after the last depression: thats right, WWII. Only this war will not be an Iraq war but a world war. Do you know what will happen when this war is fought? Millions will die all over the world. All because you were greedy. I hope none of you have children, their future has been spent by you.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 8:19 AM, ClusterTim wrote:

    I am sick of this stupid "bailout" thing. I could care less about the stupid DOW or stupid Wall Street in general. What has Wall Street EVER doen for Main Street America? NOTHING. These idiots dug their own hole, now its time for them to sleep in it!


  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 9:36 AM, jwiest wrote:

    Bill, you contradict yourself:

    "You did it by creating a system that was a complete bastardization of capitalism."

    No, this is capitalism, pure and simple, it's just you forgot that Money = Political Power, and that the market is happy to cast its greedy eye on all that untapped taxpayer capital.

    "The free market is pretty good at ensuring that successes are rewarded and failures are penalized."

    Sure, when deciding which widgets win...but not always even there (Beta vs. VHS anyone?).

    "It fails when stupid doesn't come with penalties."

    And there's the rub. The market contains no penalties of the sort you're talking about. It contains no enforceable ethics or aesthetics, it is only visceral. Without external controls, it only serves its own mathematical laws, which in turn tend to serve existing power structures. The market is like an ecosystem: it's a lot healthier the humans in it when there's diversity of organisms. But unlike an ecosystem it's entirely possible for one entity or group of entities to dominate, and for far longer than human lifespan.

    No, Bill, the market wasn't stupid, it was doing exactly what it was supposed to do. The stupid are those who think that letting the market run wild without regulation is going to serve humanity's interests.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 9:54 AM, chegeordievara wrote:

    I'm surprised I actually had the urge to comment, but the garbage this guy has written forced my hand.

    Like the name, this site and all who sail in her, who have (and check past links, articles and posts) been riding the wave for the last 6-7 years never mentioned what was going on behind the scenes. You guys read the same trade press I did, but did very little about it in print at least, why?

    It was obvious, and you Mr Mann know it, unless your analytical skills are sub optimal of course..., complaining about it now makes you look the 'fool' - now it's come home to roost, this article sounds disgusted - about what? Trying to keep a readership?

    The media, including you, should be tied to the same stake the corporates, bankers and banking families should be for being in the same ring and churning out the same rubbish as the rest of the 'financial media'- your time is coming. The 'motley fool' name is irony in it's purest form.

    Karma catches up with us all.

    'Let them eat cake' may very well be the last thing we hear from the corporate media for a few generations.

    Respectfully and with no swearing,


  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 10:42 AM, TMFMarlowe wrote:

    You rock, Bill. Great commentary.


  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 11:01 AM, TMFOtter wrote:

    Dear Che-

    A modicum of research to help you wash down that crow:

    …and about 200 more. Pity that you didn't choose to use the Google before you used the keyboard.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 1:09 PM, jmweese wrote:

    TMFOtter...that's okay, Che must have graduated from Harvard. The Elite MBA's know much more than us simpletons...

    As for the press, not all of the press was so gleeful about what was happening with mortgages. Several commentators on MSN have been warning of this collapse for at least two years.

    As for the bailout, better plans exist. Reinstating the leverage caps would be a good start, no firm should have been allowed 50 to 1 leverage! How possibly can you expect to pay that back? Also, I resist the push to eliminate mark-to-market accounting rules to make banks look better.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 1:51 PM, Tygered wrote:

    I'm not so sure that it won't be business as usual in a year or two maybe. I have no faith that the government will make them behave in any way different.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 2:13 PM, elv1659 wrote:

    I'd like to see all of the rats put in prison and all their assets seized.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 2:53 PM, wuff3t wrote:

    Sadly, mlaursen is correct when he/she states that the speedy passing of this bill is an indication that Wall Street has once again, "got away with it". I appreciate the sincere anger of this article and its good intentions, but time will pass, platitudes will be offered to the American people ("We will take the appropriate steps to ensure this never happens again..." etc etc) - and quietly, as the economy and market stabilise, nothing will be done. Any measures taken to prevent Wall Street's greed will be far less than required or deserved, and drip-by-drip the Masters Of The Universe will resume their old ways, unobserved by the public and with either the casual approval or worse still the ignorance of those tasked with overseeing their behaviour. The wheel will turn, and one day we will all find ourselves back where we started....

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 3:18 PM, ButtSauce wrote:

    Rome is still burning.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 3:38 PM, scollins1225 wrote:

    While our "wise" representatives were busy adding pork to a bill they failed to pass earlier, did any one of them think it might be good to add a balanced budget amendment to the bailou... er, rescue plan.

    The "rescue" does nothing to fix the root

    cause of this mess.

    It's time for the country to start FOOLISHLY living within its means!

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 7:14 PM, aclue2u wrote:

    I think alot of your posters are missing some important points. STUPID PEOPLE? who are the stupid people? not the ones your posters speak of. you cant tell me that americans that purchased homes that foreclosed had the foresight of what was coming next. higher property taxes to pay for more pork, higher fuel prices because the liberals and eco freaks wont let us use our resources, job loses due to higher taxes and fuel prices, higher food costs due to the same and so on. blame your government for the pork bills, the lobbyists, wall street greed and corruption, and the politicians that let it all take place.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 8:27 PM, TheFiftyStateBan wrote:

    I was vacationing in Costa Rica in 1996 and met a mortgage bond trader on the run from the IRS for tax evasion. He told me he had invested the profits he'd made from a brick of cocaine he'd sold to fraternity houses while in college himself. He took the money and bought fraudulent credentials, bought favors, and landed on the Monopoly board, making 20k a phone call and living like a pig. He did that for ten years, profiting from debt. Then he had to run. He abandoned his family, ran to Costa Rica and was trying to start over.I live next door to a disgusting foreclosed property. The previous tenants had left food in their fridge, and it exploded. Eat some of that, you Wall Street goons, eat some rotten food that was going to a couple of special needs kids who lost their home. Eat the roaches that feast on the rotting offal my city refuses to remove. Eat my rage, eat my lonely neighborhood full of sad and scared middle-class suckers like myself. I moved here because my county was the FASTEST growing county in the US in 2005. Wow, I'd thought I'd landed on Park Avenue, and a couple of trips around the old board later, I'd sell my house and be able to invest my money on Wall Street. Now I'm thinking about growing my own vegetables in my lawn, and I just landed my second job. Now I can truly miss out on my son's childhood and focus on survival. Harvard stupid. It's like a toll road that never pays back taxpayers. My state government is BROKE, and my wife's state job is shot full of furloughs. Hooray! Yay!

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 8:54 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    aclue2u, most of the people who foreclosed their homes bought a house that they could not afford in the first place. That's stupid behavior.

  • Report this Comment On October 03, 2008, at 9:31 PM, starmon wrote:

    The Harvard Stupid know what they have done. They took their profits last year. They milked the system. Now they are relaxing and watching the politics like we watch a Sunday football game. They are sitting back and thinking "Isn't America Great".

    Once the dust settles, they will be back. They are working on the next great investments right now while we are stomping out the fire.

    They are in charge and there is nothing we can do.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2008, at 7:22 AM, chegeordievara wrote:

    A financial journo with some balls - cool. Me "Wrong"? no.

    The personal email was a shock, without that I wouldn't have investigated your writings and the Motley fool website in general to put the reply below together - you brought this on yourself.

    I've read all your articles since January 07. The reason I chose this date was because the writing was on wall then for what we are beginning to see now - and like I said in my comment the trade press and relevant forums were getting quite heated about it back then. Although you are obviously an intelligent person and have written some good articles (mainly the ones not having a subscription sell at the end), I apologise for what is about to follow, because "wrong" I was not. The evidence (I like evidence) tells its own story and thus I stand behind my comment.

    To explain the reason for my comment:

    I had just read this story, then your article, it is sickening that she shot herself and sickening the bank just let her off because of it hitting mainstream press; however, how does a 90 year old have a mortgage? I think we will soon see more than a few Americans damaging themselves to avoid foreclosure as a precedent has now been set.

    Your article and my comment's timing caught me at a particularly low period in my opinion of the financial system, it's masters and the financial press 'experts' who infect people's decision making capabilities.

    On first reading and with no personal experience of your other writings, (I rarely read the Motley fool website and rarely comment on anything due to my examples below) your article fell into (in my opinion) the self aggrandising, vitriolic bile that most 'financial journalists' have been pumping out this year (after talking the bubble up for the last few years) and moaning about the horse bolting, when the educated investor watched it start heading out the gate in Clinton's second term. The book 1984 is a parody now of where the world's banking/media/oil families have been taking the western tax payers since before the second world war; and most recently the late 90's after Clinton removed the Glass-Steagal act.

    The horse started running in 1998, then a crash (how many dot com tipsters lost their jobs?) and then off it went again in 2001/2 - and then - we watched it's derriere head over the hill 2 years ago. When I say educated investor (and they more importantly have a critically minded education and the time to investigate - the rest rely on the press (you) to tell them the 'news'), I'm talking about the investors who understand 'double speak', propaganda and how it affects people and of course journalistic integrity, of which there seems to be very little nowadays (a good percentage of your articles have a subscription sell at the end).

    I stand corrected on some of your own writings, so I apologise again, mainly for upsetting you, but not for holding my opinions as I will prove below.

    There is great scope for improvement in financial journalism in bringing the financial world, it's players, governments and the way they do business to light. This does not let the Motley fool or you off as a suitably investigative news source in my opinion when taken as a whole - let me elucidate with examples:

    Why'd Foreign Stocks Go Up So Much?

    By Bill Mann

    September 20, 2007

    Recommend (74)

    Good call for a few months, but there isn't an article specifically saying get the hell out a few months later?.

    The Next Bull Market

    By Bill Mann

    January 31, 2008

    Recommend (63)

    In this article in January were you recommending/suggesting American express would enter a bull market? Did it?

    Not a bad call on POT, but then July arrived...


    I can't find anything saying get out of these even though they are now losses since the article.

    These Markets Aren't Emerging, They're Exploding

    By Bill Mann

    November 15, 2007

    Comment (0)

    Recommend (185)

    It is articles like this that have particularly annoyed me for years. Yes they were exploding, but why?, other than the obvious ones you rightly point out, they were running off the debt sales and consumer burn the US provided. It had bubble written all over it, so why didn't you say that? At the end you point out your 'Global Gains' (foreign company focused) subscription service after up selling all the way through (create the idea, magnify the problem, provide the solution! - how to sell 101).

    Excuse me for continuing to hold my opinion of the majority of financial journalists.

    Saying that, this article I thought was excellent:

    What Does Fannie Mae Do?

    By Bill Mann

    October 6, 2004

    Comment (3)

    Recommend (8)

    More from the Fool:

    "Invest big in great companies, Fannie Mae, Berkshire Hathaway, Proctor and Gamble, Kimberly-Clark" (Oct 2007)

    Berkshire hathaway is fair enough, but most people can't afford 1 share... ($138000/share on Friday) P&G and KC have mysteriously risen since July after a decline then major fall prior (i.e. not long after the article was written). And Fannie Mae does not need to be mentioned.

    Why Paulson's plan works - April 08

    "Paulson envisions a far more powerful Fed than the current version" and the author thinks this is a good idea?! Once one knows who owns the Fed (i.e. privately owned banks around the world) and the family interconnectedness of the worlds banking institutions (plus Paulson was Goldman Sachs...), it is insidious beyond belief. Putting regulation into the hands of privately owned 'regulators' (and this guy in particular) with only their own interests at heart could literally not be any worse, their track record speaks for itself. The 'bailout' speaks for itself and the US will see blood on the streets because of it. Whether the media shows it is another thing entirely.

    The days of golf and roses - April 05 (I think) (2005)

    Favourite quote, "Everything else (after the author suggests 'safe havens' in bonds et al, please see my bond comment below), Buy stocks".

    Good advice? Only if you sold out last year.

    "Generally speaking, here are the Fool's rules for asset allocation:

    1. Any money you need in the next year should be in cash.

    2. Any money you need in the next two to five (or even seven to 10, depending on your risk tolerance) years should be in a safe fixed-income investment, such as certificates of deposit or bonds.

    3. Any money you don't need in the next five to 10 years is a candidate for the stock market."

    I'll answer them in turn:

    1. The US dollar is now, when taken against real inflation and relative value to commodities and foreign currencies, is worth somewhat less than it was, say 10 (or 20) years ago. Wrong? no.

    2. hmm, how's the bond market faring? Good and bad, the IRX for one is in trouble, but when I say 'good' it is sucking dollars into a 'safe haven' that is backed by the US taxpayer's dollars and a printing press, prior to an uber collapse of the dollar's value. We'll see if I'm wrong.

    3. Was this good advice do you think?

    ...and if I may quote you, there is about 200 more....

    Was I wrong in my opinion of the financial press or my own investment decisions over the last 10 years? Ignoring the mainstream financial press and shorting the US$ and buying gold in 2001 after that idiot (or puppet) Gordon Brown (now UK prime minister) sold all the UK gold at the bottom. Wrong? No.

    Or searching for investments where the main proponents were involved in a banking/corporate press propaganda push for credit 'the easy way' and property investment; which in turn (over a few years) pressed the majority of the population's greed button. The evidence from my daily living suggests not.

    The power of the banking families/institutions with absolutely no oversight from the people's representatives is unbelievably sinister, once you scratch the surface of their practices, especially since before the second world war.

    The corporate owned media are now giving the people what their owners want, which is fear, in preparation for what is coming.

    Hopefully the above gives some context to my comment. At the end of the day I don't want Mr and Mrs America, or Europe to be lied to any more by the media and financially screwed by the banking world. Too late I fear.

    However, as I have now read a lot of your articles and you seem to be one who writes well researched articles at times, may I suggest you investigate and educate your readers on for example, JP Morgan's 93 trillion derivatives exposure, (looking forward to see how that one plays out!) and maybe also the accounting practices of the US and EU banks to date?

    The links below may also be of some interest: - does this strike you as odd, if not why not - it didn't take much digging to find out the reasons.

    "American securities regulators vote to ditch their own accounting standards" Wonder why?... "one study found that the majority of American firms made more under the foreign rules." Apart from sweeping past transgressions under the carpet, have you read the international rules? Probably not. I gave it go, but you'd need 10 years of almost constant reading to get through them (is this deliberate?), the devil is very much in the detail here and the people who write about it never see the mainstream light of day.

    The current scenario nicely predicted in May 2008, lets see if the rest of it comes true?

    Further reading would include the UN soldiers (US citizens, but under UN control) soon to be deployed in the US this month, for 'security'. PS. The soldiers sign a declaration before inclusion that they'll fire on US citizens if required (not cool).

    Google finance - vatican

    Scroll down to Reinhart's comments (note the date).

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, or from Harvard, I'm an investor who makes a living from knowledge in a country away from the west; I only believe in facts as best as I can discern them at the time, but I investigated this one quite extensively and again, quite sinister once one looks at the charts and knows the personalities and organisations involved.

    Where are the mainstream financial journalists like yourself investigating the above?

    Wrong? Not really.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2008, at 9:12 AM, aclue2u wrote:

    to cranky texan..... stupid behavior is purchasing a house on the gulf coast. then expecting the american taxpayer to build them a new one after the storms take them out.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2008, at 9:42 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    aclue2u, I agree with you there. Stupid behavior is rebuilding New Orleans even though the levies will break again someday. They should rebuild the city inland.

  • Report this Comment On October 04, 2008, at 12:07 PM, MRWALLST08 wrote:

    Mr WALL ST. HERE…all you lemmings really have no clue about how this bailout really works…we are going to baffle you with bullsh%& about derivatives, arbitrage, swaps, mark to market, hedging, collars, shorting, naked shorting, tranches, no uptick and a whole slew of terms and conditions that will only confuse you. You really are not smart enough to understand why we need and will get this bailout since you the general public have and always will be an endless source of capital for US the super-rich and politically connected…YEAH we made another bad bet with your money however please do not fret about it, we are so good at what we do that we will make your kids and grandkids pay for it all!! Mr Paulson is just our puppet who knows the game inside and out, remember he was the top dog at Goldman Sachs for years, so he knows how to make and protect our billions of dollars of profits.His game is basically simple- to scare all of you into the bailout, DAMN HE’S GOOD. And consider Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase coming in as angels to lend a helping hand to these suddenly impoverished banks…jeez, we are going to reep GODZILLA sized profits from those transactions. We made billions the last 6 years during the bull run after 911…WE EVEN PROFITED FROM THE 911 ATTACKS, THAT WAS PURE GENIUS ON OUR PART. What is the government going to give you for your $700 billion?? OH ya!! Another tax cut in the future, not a single dollar will go into your pocket, GAURANTEED!! So, Someone has to pay for my new castle in the Carribean, why should I use my own money when I can use yours, AGAIN!! LEMMINGS WILL ALWAYS BE LEMMINGS …

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2008, at 2:22 PM, INsano12 wrote:

    I guess hearing the phrase enough finally made me think of the actual visual of what a "Golden Parachute" might look like.

    Gold is dense. Gold is heavy. Gold carries little wind resistance. Gravity thinks gold is delicious.

    I'd be interested in implementing a few prototypes on greedy goons.

    I'd love to see some CEO vaguely negotiating his severance and mention he wants a "Golden Parachute" in case of disaster. They walk him up to the roof 3 weeks later to make sure he gets what he was promised.

  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2008, at 3:55 PM, PTKeil wrote:

    I get what you are trying to say, least some of lost me on other parts, but that is more due to my lack of financial knowledge than anything.

    By default, anyone who is knowledgeable about finance and in a position to inform others is not to be trusted because somehow they have something to gain by it.....

    This is not to say those here at Fool are swindlers or whatnot, but I'm sure that they don't spend countless hours upkeeping this website for naught. We would all be foolish to believe so. Unfortunately, there is no Mother Theresa of finance objectively looking out for people's wealthfare. That is unrealistic to expect....when you're in the system, you're IN.

    One thing this website does do is provide another point of view, and it's a good resource because of that.

    The public must do their own homework, and I think that is one of our biggest faults when it comes to financial matters and why so many people are in trouble today. I, too, love the idea of a mandatory year high school course in personal finance. Fantastic idea. I can't count how many people I know who have a financial advisor, and don't even know what a loaded fund is. We entrust others to tell us what to do without any further consideration.

    It takes time and effort to educate yourself, and if there's one thing Suze O. taught me, was that you MUST be responsible for your money, and that includes empowering yourself with the knowledge you need to properly do so.

    A little baloney detection doesn't hurt either. Check out Sagan's baloney detection kit:


  • Report this Comment On October 05, 2008, at 9:24 PM, pythagoras99 wrote:

    The lenders are "evil"? This based on the idea that they actually knew that the borrowers would be unable to repay the loans? They knew the loans would fail, and they made them anyway, leading in some cases to the failure of the institution employing them, or, in the more typical case, the loss of their jobs? This sounds more like "stupid" than "evil." So lets call both the borrower and the lender "stupid." Better yet, let's not call anyone anything, and rather apply the creative energy we would otherwise expend coming up with insults, instead on coming up with good solutions for stopping the chain reaction that's threatening to wipe us all out.

    Speaking of a "chain reaction", Chernobyl provides an excellent analogy. One can blame whoever one wants, but it comes down to a failure of the actors to fundamentally understand the dynamics of the system, and therefore the ultimate consequences of their particular actions. In one case, the dynamical system is a nuclear reactor, and in the other case it is the global credit cycle. Unfortunately, this is the way that the human mind seems to work -- we don't, for the most part, take potential consequences seriously until we see an example of them actually happening.

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2008, at 12:50 PM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    pythagoras99, maybe you're right. Let's consider no one in the world to be evil. Let's release all convicts in the world. We don't need prisons. We don't need laws. We don't need the SEC. Koom-by-ya.

  • Report this Comment On October 06, 2008, at 10:00 PM, bilding wrote:

    Professional market players thrive on volatility.

    Long term growth is anathema to them.

    These past 18 months have been beautiful beyond their wildest dreams.

    Nothing is beyond their reach.

    My prediction is that even Berkshire Hathaway is under 65,000 in less than 6 weeks.

    An ideal short that will feed on itself.

    Watch for it.

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 2:00 AM, Tiingall wrote:

    I'm not a USA citizen but I do invest in your businesses and from what you're saying we've all been taken for a ride. Surely it's time to turn the tables on the bad guys:

    1. There is a Presidential election coming up. Which candidate will demonstrate their commitment to protect all the small investors and victims in this debarcle by freezing the personal assets of the big players, the big brokerages, the present financial institution CEO's and Boards of Directors until lengthy FBI and IRS investigations into their personal lives and financial arrangements are completed? I'm sure they have lots of skelletons in the cupboard which they'd hate to have revealed. That should win lots of popular votes.

    Hit them where it hurts and get back the bailout money. If some get locked up because of it, or have to flee the country, all the better as a clear signal to the rest. People power can be exercised. You have the opportunity to exercise immense people power right now.

    2. Find some smart but sympathetic Harvard lawyers and organise multiple class actions to recoup the money lost to these parasytic Harvard finance guys. There must be a way.

    Remember the famous quote - it was written above the credits on a recent holywood made movie. I hope I can recall it correctly - made by a UK statesman in the 1800's I believe. "All it takes for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing".

    If you guys don't want this happening again, you need to do something very nasty, very embarassing and very costly to them. Toss out the bad fruit to prevent damage to the rest.

    I'm an educator and I can tell you that all the educational psychology research and theory confirms the three key factors that make us humans learn quickly and thoroughly. We must be immersed in the learning process physically, emotionally and mentally.

    These bad guys won't learn just by intellectualising about how they did a bad thing. They need to suffer, they need to get desperate, angry, frustrated, demoralised, broke, hungry, out of a job, out of money, out of home etc.They need to personally feel and experience the horrible consequences of their greedy actions.

    They need their lines of personal credit cut off, their bank acounts frozen and their homes seized; the same consequences many of their victims will experience.

    And all their friends need to see that it's happening to them.

    And the public needs to see it's happening so the blood letting some writers have referred to is prevented.

    "Justice must be done, and it must be seen to be done".

    Quickly, before it's all swept under the carpet and they are left to repeat it again in another ten years using a different strategy.

    Democracy underpins successful capitalism. Get the democratic processes working on this. Use the press and the media, create a movement, sieze political power, so the exploitation and inequities mentioned by other writers are stopped. And so faith in capitalism and the USA is preserved.

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 5:13 AM, IPDAILY510 wrote:

    So..who supports the " bail-out " plan now that it has no " taxpayer "component "?

    I respect Mr. Gardners views. I just don't trust the "gummint", to do anything but *@%# this up again. The plan is a failure except for those who now recognize what to do.

    Right now, be smart and play the volitility for all it's worth.

    As for Mrwallstreet. I have just placed a contract on your genetic futures options.

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 8:28 AM, Chandlier wrote:

    What has happened to American companies?

    What does it mean to be a company in today’s modern world?

    A company used to be an extension of ourselves – a way to make a living, feed our families, meet friends, and provide a service to our communities.

    Does that sound like your job?

    In reality, this idea of a company that not only employs people, but is a part of the community, a part of people’s lives, a place where someone can stay and work for 60 years and then retire, seems like a dream of yesteryear. This idea is what all companies should be: miniature communities whose goal is to better the lives of everyone in them, and this goal is achieved by providing a service in such a way that it brings a profit to all involved.

    Where did the simple, practical companies go?

    The good ones got big, unfortunately. And when they got big, the people who built them often left their companies in the hands of people whose sole goal was to make money – not to improve their company or help those within it (the community of workers, which is, in reality, the company itself) only to make more money, by any means necessary. Companies transformed from small, localized communities that provided useful services into faceless, heartless, soulless money making machines – an entity entirely separated from the worker, which is illogical since the worker is the basic building block of a company.

    Why do companies that achieve incredible success want more?

    Why would a company like Coca Cola, which has saturated the world market with its product, buy other companies? Why not just make Coca Cola and make everyone who works for your rich? Why not do something for the people who have worked so hard and long for you? Why not give the money to the people who work for you and inject the economy with that hard earned cash which would benefit everyone in the country and eventually around the world? What is the point of exploiting the workers while making ever-increasing profits? “The Company” is a lifeless facade – why does it matter if “The Company” has a lot of money or not?

    The real question is: who profits by a system in which workers do not share in the ever-growing profits of the companies that they work for?


    But which investors? You and me and grandpa with his 401k? Sometimes, yes. Usually, small investors provide access to money for growing corporations in order for them to expand even further, and that money is returned with a healthy percentage. But this money is not lived off of. We still go to work every day and do something productive with our lives.

    Sometimes, however, we all succumb to greed, and we dream that our investment, our lifeless money, will somehow do all of the work (the real living) for us, and we will be able to sit back and simply enjoy the fruits of our money’s labor (which is really the labor of others).

    Sound like anything familiar? Of course it does – it’s called feudalism, serfdom, tyranny, slavery, and many other unpleasant synonyms.

    Money for nothing, taxation without representation, exploitation, injustice, the bourgeoisie – there have been many names for this idea which people have fought against and died for throughout the years.

    Then there are the big investors – the trust fund babies, the men and women who do practically no work at all (no physical or practical labor – they add nothing to the value of their communities), yet they receive more than 99% of the world’s wealth.

    And the sad thing is, you wish that you were one of them.

    These are the people who have destroyed our economy. And we have let them do it.

    Why do we let individuals get so rich? Does it make any sense? Does it make sense for a company to become so large that it can lose billions (and BILLIONS) of dollars, yet call itself successful? Whose money is that anyways? – Usually yours, the small investors with real jobs.

    Why are there super companies that own hundreds of other companies? What is the point of their existence? How can they exist at all?

    Ironically, the largest source of funds for expanding companies has ended up costing our companies their innocence: the stock market.

    The public trading of stocks has allowed for the over-expansion (hyper-expansion) of businesses. They have become too big for their own good and for the good of the human race. The purpose of a company is (ideally and logically) the betterment of mankind, or at the very least, the betterment of its employees (just as the purpose of the existence of a government is the betterment of its country’s citizens, or at a primal level, the purpose of an organism is the survival of its cells, and DNA).

    Today’s mega-corporations have become so big that they can destroy the lives (or the productive equivalent – the value of what people can produce) of thousands or millions of people without being effected. This is illogical. It is a cycle of destruction and exploitation that will eventually eat itself from the inside out – as is happening right now.

    Our system (which we consider capitalistic, but which has become a massive oligarchy) takes money from regular people and gives it to the rich, making the rich richer, just like other archaic economic systems.

    The only way out of this cycle that feeds the rich is to find a way to spread their wealth – to take the money from the super-rich and use it to benefit society - not just individuals, but society as a whole. Their money should be used to build something better than what exists - not to simply build another company (re-investment) which once again exploits workers for the benefit of the rich.

    When a company is private, its only duty is to itself, to its employees, and to its customers.

    When a company is publicly traded it is given a new duty – a duty to the invisible shareholders.

    And what do the shareholders want? They want one thing and one thing only – money. They want the company to do whatever it can to increase the return on their investment. They want the company to do whatever it can to increase its profits and to increase its share price.

    And then there are the members of the board – the real men behind the curtain – the men who control the business world. They hire the CEO’s. They fire the CEO’s.

    Why do they hire a particular CEO? Because the CEO promises to raise the share price, which increases their profits – which gives them more money for nothing.

    It doesn’t matter what happens to the employees, or to the community, or to the quality of the products, or to the integrity of the organization. Those things don’t matter to the members of the board – the men who vote the CEO out when he can’t deliver exceptional numbers year after year.

    This means the CEO’s only focus is making the members of the board rich. But why? Why does he care if these fat old men get any richer?

    Because they make him a promise – if he makes them rich, they’ll make him rich. And they do. The CEO becomes incredibly rich. But not as rich as them, of course.

    So the CEO who controls the company is hired (or fired) by a group of men who have no desire whatsoever except to make as much money for nothing as possible.

    The CEO directs the company in such a way that it will make a profit (real or not) which will in turn drive up its share prices (justifiably or not), which will enable him to become very very rich as well.

    Thus, when all is said and done, this monstrosity of a company, which started out as a group of people, perhaps even friends and neighbors, which made a product and provided a necessary service for those in the community, is now being used to better the lives of the already-rich in order to make them much much richer in exchange for nothing (no labor, no products), all at the expense of the people who work at the company, who are exploited by the company, or who are foolish enough to invest their hard earned money into the company before the rich old men bleed it dry and the hard earned (actually worked for) money disappears before their eyes into the invisible abyss of rich men’s pockets.

    Thus .01% of the population of the world rape, pillage, and steal 99% of the value of production of the entire earth. And all of this is done (like the company exploiting those who make it run) at the expense of the earth itself. Humans destroying humanity.

    Thus these men slowly destroy themselves as they destroy humanity. They will drink from the wine of the grapes of wrath grown in the soil of those they have exploited.

    But remember… as the markets fall, the banks close, and the jobs are lost, remember as you and those you know and love are suffering, remember that during this time of hardship and pain – for them, it’s like Christmas. Better than Christmas – for the whole world is on sale at a discount – and they’ve got enough to buy it all and then some.

    Remember who these men are, so you can recognize them in the next life (or the next economy)…

    They’ll be the ones holding the whip.

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 1:08 PM, beegdawg007 wrote:

    You go Billy Boy..... you got um shaken in their boots now.. yeah, we're watching them... I'm sure that the goons who are workin us over day to day are worried about us watching them about as much as would be a lion being wathed by a mouse.

    hmm .. now where did Paulson work before he became the treasurer... hmm .. where is Greenspan now employed.. and hmmm hmmm, where do we think Cox will go in January... has Bernanke ever attended one of your meetings?

    And, when's the last time you had lunch with Maria Buttaroma, Charlie Gasparino, or Liz Clayman....

    95% of the people in the U.S. have no idea what is going on with Wall Street, and that includes our polititicians..

    Yeah, we got those WS insiders shaken in their boots.. They own the politicians and the press, and they make their own laws and ignore the ones they don't like .. can you say reg SHO is a no go? The only game for a very long time will be "buy the dips and sell the rips".

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 4:44 PM, JCoeur100 wrote:

    Isn't there some way to nail some of these folks for money laundering or RICO violations? I want perp walks!

  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 9:57 PM, PTKeil wrote:

    Chandler...well thought out arguments, and, obviously, you made good points.

    I am curious to know if you have ever read "Atlas Shrugged." It's been around 50 years or so, and I am rather young and recently stumbled across it. I have never thought about capitalism and big business in any way other than what you propose ( I can even picture myself saying your exact words) until I read that book. It is on my personal top 5 due to the new perspectives it gave me on many things. I recommend it highly if you haven't read it.

    "Their money should be used to build something better than what exists - not to simply build another company" or "The purpose of a company is (ideally and logically) the betterment of mankind"

    Your thoughts, as you admit, are very idealistic and I used to heartily and completely agree with them, but they smack of the sorrowful attitide of many characters in that book, and they truly make me shudder when I recall what the outcome of the book was. It's just fiction, but it's a scary thought based on good reasoning.

    The problem you are proposing, I gather, is not big business per se, but the extremity of it. Is big business generally an asset to the economy of a country? Yes. The U.S. and others wouldn't be where we are today without it.

    Do you buy your clothes, your food, and other goods to outfit your home from them...probably. So you support the system in some way.

    Do you have a choice to buy goods from anything other than big business in this day and age? If you want an HP computer, a Sony TV, Levi jeans, a Chevy truck or a Coke....No. Is that a problem? Sounds like it...but would you have access to these products if these companies weren't big? Maybe not.

    Would you be willing to give them all up to bring down big business? Just look around yourself for a minute and take a mental log of everything you own that was made by a big business....a great deal for most of us, I'm sure.

    Is there a limit to this BIG where the good of all are concerned? Yes. Are there people being exploited? Yes. Just investigate to where the e-waste from the U.S. is shipped, and there is no doubt....and that's just one example.

    Does it appear that many of us are serfs? Sometimes I'm sure.

    Do you live well? Do you have life's necessities? If you have a computer I'm assuming so. Does everyone? Certainly not. In the 3.5 billion year history of life on Earth there has never been absolute equality. It's called survival of the fittest.

    Unfortunately, to rectify the situation as you see it, some collaborative government or regulatory group must be involved. To even BEGIN to wrap their heads around tangible, concrete worldwide limits (which any proposed limits would have to be... no country would be ignorant enough to agree to them otherwise) and setting them into place, taking into account fair trade, the wealthfare of the poor, and the other innumerable considerations, seems like an impossible feat in my eyes. I start to sweat just thinking about it.

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Just a few of my own.


  • Report this Comment On October 07, 2008, at 11:10 PM, france4s wrote:

    "If Wall Street executives are hoping to forestall a wave of new regulations of the finance industry next year, they better hope the public isn't watching the hearings in Congress this week."

    The sheer arrogance of the CEO's is appalling....and what goes around comes around. And we will be watching you can bet on it!

    Bill Mann your comment of October 2, 2008 was absolutely outstanding.

  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2008, at 6:08 AM, Chandlier wrote:

    PTKeil (Tammy),

    Thanks for your response - I haven't read Atlas Shrugged yet, but it's on my to do list for sure - (I just finished "War and Peace" so I'm kind of into Russian literature right now).

    As for a worldwide regulatory committee - I am whole-heartedly against that - it would be an even worse disaster than what we have now.

    My personal conclusion, which I did not spell out in the previous post, is that individual greed is responsible for this mess, not "Big Business" in general. Big business is great if it improves the lives of MANY people, not just a few elites, which is what's happening now more and more. The people with the power exploit that power, and the scary thing is, many of us would do the same thing if we were in their position. We like to think we wouldn't, but the word "billion" is a temptation that many people can't resist.

    I agree we need big business - but the current structure of business, along with the current psychology of the business community, is so focused on money (or in many cases - intangible numbers and statistics) that we forget that there is a higher purpose for all of this stuff - namely, a better life for everyone. And many of the current strategies are so focused on numbers and other intangibles that we completely overlook our purpose as workers and as human beings, and our business practices start to make life worse for the whole world, not better - and in the end this is illogical, because a business that hurts the economy (or makes itself rich at the expense of the economy) ultimately hurts itself as we have seen with the bank failures.

    Business has become disconnected from its inherent purpose, and this is our fault as individuals.

    Yes, technology is great - people have i-phones - but what are you going to do with your i-phone if the faulty structure of our banks and businesses comes crashing down? And do the exploited workers in China have i-phones? I doubt it.

    So the short answer is - we all need a new mindset when it comes to business and life in general. That is not something you can regulate. It must change with each individual. "Change yourself and change the world" comes to mind.

    Donne said that man is not an island - but perhaps this analogy goes double for businesses - A company is not an island - it is a part of a network of joints and ligaments that all hold each other up, and if one falls...

  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2008, at 12:35 PM, schlottman wrote:

    Yes this expresses a lot of frustration, but what is ironic is the intellegent investors know how to make money in a down market as well as an up market. I am not on the side of the intellegent investment group, but I can recognize when I have been had. The pain will not be felt in the Wall Street crowd as you imply but it will be felt in Main Street. Wall Street has gotten it's bailout. Their companies will stay in tact. Now when the Economic crisis which follows the Financial crisis runs it's course all of us will be scratching our heads and wondering how did we get left holding the bag chin deep in a big stinking pile of manure. It will be interesting to see if the Bush Administration cronies and Wall Street execs even stay in this country after they get done pilaging it.

  • Report this Comment On October 08, 2008, at 5:57 PM, Tiingall wrote:

    I agree with Chandlier's perspective that doing business and the improvement of life experiences for all, should go hand in hand. And that personal greed has motivated a lot of the people we trusted to manage those businesses - in particular the financial businesses - to exploit the system, to abdicate their professional and corporate responsibilities, and to completely abandon concepts such as trust, honesty, duty to shareholders, lenders and the community.

    Despite the bailout packages, the interest rate changes and all the political reassurance, the market has not settled. I believe that's because the same deceitful, devious, despotic, selfish, short-sighted, incompetent people who created the problem, are still there doing the same jobs and still ripping us off as usual. And they are now getting the financial benefit of government (ie: taxpayer) money to support their greedy antics. And from what I detected happening in the banking system over 12 months ago - and it worse now - they expect tus to pay for the catastrophy their personal greed created through other bank scams; such as slowing the movement of TTs so they can keep our money longer in their short term loan funds, and delaying the daily processing of credit card transactions so it finishes early the next morning and - according to the credit card merchant contract - they give our money to us one day after processing finishes.

    I don't think we'll see stability in the markets until we see a lot of these parasites publically humiliated by being tossed out of their jobs, locked up as criminals and their assets liquidated to pay back some of our money they've stolen.

    If we borrowed money from the financial institutions they exploit, and we failed to pay it back, we'd be taken to court, have our assets seized to repay the debt, and locked up if our finacnial behaviour was criminal. We loaned them our savings as bank deposits and mutual funds, we trusted them with our money invested as shares. They have not paid it back. In fact, they abused that trust, ripped off our money and created immense personal turmoil and harship for millions of families in USA and around the world.

    The financial industry needs to show some professional and public responsibility by kicking out these rotten apples and take back our money they have stolen. Only then will people begin to have faith in the same financial institutions again.

    The public minded people people in the financial institutions who have the power to create these changes must remember the modern definition of Freedom - "the opportunity to police yourself before someone else - who knows nothing about your busines, values, ideals, potential etc - does it to you".

    New financial regulations, talk of joint international governmant bodies to control financial institutions, bank behaviour etc, are examples of such imprecise and almost certainly ignorant intervention that can only damage many of the systems' potential benefits which have actually worked very well in the past. If the insiders don't act fast to kick out the people, policies and the practices that created or supported this fiasco, then someone with a lot less knoweldge of the industry, will do it for you with imprecise regulations and new rules that seriously limit your operational flaexibility and the problem solving capability to effectively operate and manage an efficient and self-determining system. Then we are all in permanent trouble.

  • Report this Comment On October 12, 2008, at 11:59 AM, CrankyTexan wrote:

    <<< It will be interesting to see if the Bush Administration cronies and Wall Street execs even stay in this country after they get done pilaging it. >>>

    You left out Barney Frank, our Democrat congress, and ACORN.

  • Report this Comment On December 11, 2008, at 10:45 PM, pauljfitzgerald wrote:

    This is a great tirade, and the term "Harvard Stupid" should make it into the dictionary. If you haven't yet, View the KCET story in the link, about what families leave behind in foreclosed homes, to be shoveled into landfills, and share the anger. This is going to leave a decades-long legacy of harm to our children and grandchildren as well as harming thousands of young families -- and the earth -- right now.

    I always felt there was a sense of wrongness about the accepted belief that "they" could make something out of nothing - could spin finite value into a limitless cotton candy economy, sell and resell the same empty debt over and over, and expect that we could sustain a national wealth machine out of such sugary air and glammer. But those of us who shared that suspicion kept quiet or were drowned out. There was a national denial, and these people manipulated the rest of us while the "mortgage sluts" carried on in a fashion worthy of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Studs Terkel, in one of his last interviews, nailed the lesson we need to learn:

    "Don't blame yourself. Turn to others, Take part in the community.

    "The big boys are not that bright."

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2008, at 4:09 PM, TradingHOPE4ever wrote:

    If it was not for Wall Street all of you would not be living in that McMansion and watching CNBC on that 50 inch flat screen

    And oh, by the way, stocks IS Wall Street

    Buying stocks is bringing Wall Street do to life

    Do all of you really thing your little accounts are the ones pushing this market around?

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2009, at 11:49 AM, OldEnglish wrote:

    Nice article.

    From one of the comments:

    mlaursen- "Warren Buffet this week stated that the government can actually profit from the bailout because they will be buying mortgages at super cheap prices that will be worth a lot more in the future. The $700 billion would be an investment, not money down the drain."

    Sorry, but Warren is "talking his book". It is laughable to think of the bailouts as an investment.

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