Main Street Needs to Protest Wall Street Bonuses
by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Generally, I make it a rule to never go to sleep with the news on. (Yes! I’m one of those people who live with TV in the background.) However, I dozed off around 4:30AM after having spent the night “fighting material” (a Lincoln University old school term for studying hard). Around 6:25 I heard something so disturbing, I was compelled to get up and write this article: Wall Street is Leading a Protest Against President Barack Obama! Today!
My subconscious said, “That can’t be possible. You’re having a nightmare. Pay no attention to that nonsense. You know they have better sense than that.” But the other side of my brain argued, “No they don’t. They’ll do anything to duck responsibility, maintain the status quo, and continue to suck off society until not even the marrow is left, while they collect their bonuses, and we collect unemployment and welfare!” With that my eyes popped open, I couldn’t sleep.
So, here I am, 6:40 in the morning, writing this piece. If this true, and it most likely is, then Main Street (the rest of America) has to protest Wall Street. Main Street needs to put Wall Street on notice that we are not going to let this nonsense go unchallenged.
Of course, it’s no accident that they chose the day of President Obama’s State of the Union Address to pull this prank. They have been trying to weasel out of their responsibility for collapsing the economy for the past two years. They’ve turned a blind eye to the plight of Main Street for decades. They had the temerity and the gall to flip Main Street Mortgages, securitizing them, and selling them, over encumbering them (I.e. loading them up with debt), while the home owners were being gouged with higher and higher prices, for lower and lower valued properties — and at the same time dealing with an economy where increasingly lower and lower salaries were being offered for fewer and fewer jobs (with the bulk of the better paid positions being sent overseas). So eventually, and inevitably, the house of cards collapsed, literally — along with cars, banks, insurance companies — whole systems that were being carried by frustrated and beleaguered home owners.
When the great collapse came — guess who was in charge of the United States of America? Bush and all his cronies. It was like having Dracula in the White House. Were they surprised that this happened? Probably not. Did they care? As long as their cash kept flowing, most definitely not. Were there prepared to — or even interested in — doing something to help the struggling families who suddenly found themselves without a roof over their heads? Not in the least!
Were they prepared to help the Wall Street investment firms who caused the problem, and were righteously teetering on the brink of disaster, brought on by their own greed, stupidity, avariciousness? Can you say cover up, boys and girls? Remember that taxing the poor to save the rich has been around at least as long as the Bible. It’s nothing new. You can bet that when they came on TV that Sunday morning in 2008, saying to the American public that they should do absolutely nothing, but that the President (Bush) should give them billions of bail out dollars, they were not in the least bit concerned about you. You were going to foot the bill, no matter what. Foot it, but not benefit from it. They were only about covering their asses — er, I mean assets (sorry).
These “smartest minds” as they called themselves, announced that they’re planning to protest President Obama! How dare they! The smartest minds are who got us into this mess to begin with. We really need to send a signal to them. Ain’t no business as usual in Wall Street. The President, via our Attorney General, should not stop until a forensic investigation of every transaction that has negatively affected us and the US in general is conducted.
President Obama is calling for greater regulation of the financial sector, and it’s quite probably they are now feeling the heat breathing down their necks. And it’s about time. I suspect the reason we didn’t have financial literacy classes in elementary, middle, and high school, is because, armed with the appropriate information, Wall Street would have never have been able to undermine the stability of the economy. When everybody knows and understands how a system works, and has an interest and involvement in it, it’s pretty difficult to get away with what they’ve been able to get away with.
Think about it, we in New York City, live in a society where the biggest industry we have is money and investment, but I daresay, less that 12% of New Yorkers in the five boroughs of Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island, have working knowledge of Wall Street; much less ongoing investments in the mid to high end stocks, let alone municipal bonds. It’s certainly not taught in any of the 19 schools Bloomberg’s henchmen just closed. Hmmmm! When adult education courses are offered, rarely are programs offered in financial literacy or demystifying Wall Street.
While the rank and file of Wall Street live in a home where the median income is $250,000 annually and upwards to $millions, we, the “little people” are acting as though $35,000 puts us in the middle class income bracket (well it does if both husband and wife are earning $35,000 each); but you’re struggling if it turns out that you have an over priced apartment, or if your mortgage exceeds $1200 a month, and you have children; possibly a car. You’re struggling.
I love money just as much as the next person. I’d love to be independently wealthy. But not by climbing on the backs of the rest of society to do so. And if my actions caused the severe privations currently faced with rampant foreclosures, business failures, people losing their jobs, how could I (or Wall Street) in clear consciousness, expect to receive a bonus?
Now, these same proposed Wall Street protesters who may have caused you to lose even your basic means of support, have the temerity and the gall to try to protest President Obama. Obama, who has assiduously worked to restructure the broken toy (the economy is like a broken toy that your big brother or sister gives you after he or she has ruined it, taken all the fun and life out of it, and then sits back smugly while you try to make it go, knowing all along they still have a key piece in their back pocket). These characters (oops! I almost called them cretins — but how could the smartest guys in the room be cretins? Duh) want to protest him?
Don’t you find it interesting that they didn’t protest the bogus wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan? Don’t you find it amazing that none of them have been sent overseas? But you can bet that they are underwriting some of the weaponry that is purchased for the war. Remember elementary economics: Guns and Butter. Guns are more important than butter. (by the reason they are asking dumb questions about how the Health Care Bill will be paid for is because they are making far more money paying for a losing war — their return on their investment (ROI) is through the stratosphere. And when it looks as if we are moving in the direction of pulling our troops and ending the war, the pull an old photo and recording of Bin Ladin out of somewhere with some new threat, and we end up sending more troops whether we needed to or not. They’d protest ending the war, not because we don’t need to be there, but because it’s messing with their favorite cash cow.
So let’s protest Wall Street. Let’s protest them for trying to collect bonuses for a job poorly done. Let’s protest Wall Street for lying to the public. Let’s protest Wall Street until every penny of those so-called bonuses go to underwrite New York’s economy. Let’s protest them until every one of those homes that went up in flames via mortgage backed securities (please don’t put the blame on the so-called sub prime loans — it’s really all Wall Street, either overt or covert), get’s at least $100,000 to pay down some of their mortgage or move into a new home, after their home was foreclosed upon. Let’s protest Wall Street, and put a freeze on any and all funds over and above salaries that they are trying to sneak and give to each other, while the rest of us go twisting in the wind.
In other words: Don’t let Wall Street get away with this garbage! Tie their feet to the fire. Make them understand that we are all human beings, and deserve to be treated with honesty, integrity, respect — i.e. humanely! And at the same time, we should demand that our education system immediately implement ongoing financial literacy education and training programs, beginning with our first graders, and continuing through college FREE of charge; as well as a remedial Adult Education Financial Literacy program for those of us who went through this system and did not receive the basics.
By the way, for those of you who think that the Wall Street protest is nothing serious, just remember these facts: Barack Obama is the first Black President in the United States; he’s taken on a system that was morally bankrupt from beginning to end. He’s catching hell in the press, not because he’s not doing a good job. In fact, check the real records. He’s doing an excellent job. But Mephistopheles is in the game; Machiavelli is setting the tone for the Republicans — because this is the way Republicans operate — and remember who runs the mainstream media and Wall Street — oh, yes Right Wing, conservative, Republicans.
Remember two years ago when there were seas and seas of Obama buttons because America finally woke up and found itself in the middle of a mess (once again) thanks to the Bush Administration? We once a member of the opposition party gets into office, they do their best to try to make his life and administration a living hell. They did it Clinton. They did it to Carter. They will try to do it to Obama, too. But we’re not going to sit back and let that happen this time. This time we should be astute enough to recognize their m.o. (method of operation/modus operandi) by now.
So, with that in mind, let’s not only protest Wall Street protesters, because they are part and parcel the reason we’re in the mess we’re in now; but let’s get those financial literacy classes going — whether in the schools, or in our many churches (probably better if done in church, it may actually keep the greed factor in church if economics is taught from the standpoint of being our brothers and sisters keepers).
And while you’re at it, get out your Obama buttons, tee shirts, posters, caps, cups, clips, pens; support OFA, and any other organizations that support President Obama, or form one of your own, locally, nationally, internationally. It’s going to be a long haul and a bumpy ride. If you think that you’ve done something by electing him — you’re definitely right, and have a great deal to be proud of. But we now have to make sure that the agenda we helped him become elected on is implemented, and not circumvented via political expediency and yellow striped blue dogs, filibustering miscreants who are only concerned about party issues, not people issues.
Every time an election comes up, a referendum, or any measure, think “how does this affect Obama, therefore me and my family. You have to vote the same way you did when Obama was running for president. You have to line up to the polls the same way you did on November 4, 2008. You have to send a signal for all times that we are alive, large and in charge, and are using our activism and our constitutional right to vote to make sure the guy we put in office doesn’t get sidelined by insidious, duplicitous activities that in the long run undermine us.
Now more than ever YES WE CAN has to be our watchword when it comes to supporting President Barack Obama. Supporting him is supporting America – black, brown, yellow; Red, white, blue.
Stay Blessed &
Gloria Dulan-Wilson Is a veteran New York City Journalist who is new to the bullet. Her experiences, perspective & sense of history are an invaluable combination. “check out my blog:” www.gloria-dulan-wilson.blogspot.com