Obama knows it’s coming. It’s been fomenting for a long time, but the anger is coming to a head, and pretty soon it’ll have one place to go: Him.
I’ve been staying away from the populist-based rants against the bankers somewhat, mostly because I’m so goddamned angry at them that I become a sputtering, incoherent blog of mucous (as opposed to…) shortly after beginning to even contemplate the problems. Today’s article in the Times, though, is showing that I’m far from alone, and that my impatience with the administration’s lack of punishment of these ne’er-do-wells is hardly unique.
For all his political skills and his capturing of the nation’s desire for change in the 2008 election, Mr. Obama, a product of Harvard Law School who calls upscale Hyde Park in Chicago home, has shown little inclination to strike a more populist tone. The danger, aides said, is that if he were to become identified as an advocate for the banks and Wall Street, people could take out their anger on him.
“The change now is you have a free-floating economic anxiety that has expressed itself in a kind of lashing out at those being bailed out and people who are bailing out,” Michael Kazin, a professor at Georgetown University who has written extensively on populism. “There’s not really a sense of what the solution is.”
“I do think there’s a potential for a ‘damn everybody in power’ kind of sentiment,” Mr. Kazin said.
I know that this is mostly coming to a head because of AIG’s revelation that they’re handing out a ton of bonuses. Because they’ve handled this year so well. While that, in and of itself, didn’t piss me off (can’t punish a dog for licking itself), I have to say Larry Summers did. Yes, he called them “outrageous,” but basically said the government’s hands are tied, and that no real punitive action can be taken. This, I just cannot accept. In a land where some asshat can get $6 million dollars for crashing his motor home, since he didn’t realize cruise control wasn’t self-steering, how could is POSSIBLY be that these execs (whose asses we taxpayers own now) aren’t liable for what they do with our money? Or what they don’t do (i.e. lend it)?
Add to this the banks’ staunch rebuke of EFCA (The Employee Free Choice Act, which gives employees the choice of whether they’d like anonymous votes or write-in cards to determine whether or not they unionize), which they’re financing with OUR FUCKING MONEY–and which, once again, spits in their federal overlords’ faces without fear of retribution–and the menace in me really began to build.
Finally, I checked my Bank Of America credit card balance recently to find that they’ve quintupled my interest rate. I called to find out why. Turns out my last payment arrived a day late, since their site had crashed. No late fee. Just quintupled my goddamned interest rate without notifying me. When I said, basically, “Your website fuckup sounds like YO problem,” they said they’d talk to someone higher up about lowering the rate. That was a week ago, to no avail.
I’ve had it. We’re these assholes’ bosses. They should be licking our taints with gratitude, and, instead, they’re trying to gouge us for more. Fine. I kind of expect that from the greedy fucks. But where is the oversight we were promised? How is it that they can get away with this? How can the new administration not at least threaten to fire all the execs and hire brand new people to take over. We’re in charge; we should be able to make that happen in a democracy. ESPECIALLY if these fuckwits actually take conservatives’ advice and “Go Galt.”*
So, yes, my populist buttons have all been pushed. But, the real-world application to my own life has now pushed my activist buttons as well, since I know I’m not the only one this has happened to. So, yes, this is my call to action. Don’t take this shit lying down. The banks need us (and our business) at least as much as we need them (Remember: We are paying their fucking salaries right now, and, as far as they’re concerned, forever. Asking to get our own money back, without having to pay ridiculous penalites for the honor, is NOT overstepping our bounds). Meanwhile, take your anger to Washington. Let them know there must be consequences.
My personal reasons are, of course, a bit pressing. I’d like to think I could return to the U.S. in the foreseeable future, but this shit is making that possibility seem remote, which is making me angry. (If I did, how could I buy a car, let alone a house? etc. etc…) It’s one thing to think that anti-intellectualism has pushed me out, due to the idiot-in-chief making it harder for academics to find work. It’s quite another to have the opportunities for academics grow, but be economically unable to return because of the banks WE JUST FINANCED refusing to help out. Are you fucking kidding me???
In short (too late): Let the execs “Go Galt.” The rest of us’ll “Tyler Durden” their asses to the ground. At the very least, we’ll win cause we’re so pretteh.
*In case you missed it, the latest trend in conservative punditry is to tout Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged as prophetic, and to encourage executives to do as John Galt did therein, and stop producing in protest of what he feels is unfair punishment for his success. First of all, I’ve been following this because, what better way to make your party appeal to lots and lots of people when its numbers are declining than referencing AYN RAND??? REALLY??? It would be like, when the Dems were in trouble, they started telling everyone how wonderful Cat Stevens is. Egads, man, what a stupid move. Secondly, this has just amazed me. The idea that, if EFCA passes and those mean unions can move in on the private sector, these execs should hold their breath till they go away…well, let’s put it this way: They’d be overpaid lazy assholes striking over petty reasons. Sound familiar?