Friday, October 31, 2008

Let Loose Dogs of Justice

Look, I'm not a vindictive type. I would have no part of a lynch mob, even a rhetorical one. Vengeful anger is counter-productive, and good people try to avoid it. However, I'm a great fan of justice. And justice demands that the Wall Street plutocrats and bankers pay for driving the nation's economy into a sewerage ditch. Countless millions of Americans have lost their retirements, their livelihoods, their hopes for the future. I cannot imagine that they are not breathing fire about the fact that the architects of their ruin are doing just swell, thank you.

These Wall St. crooks have not an atom of shame. Before filing for Chapter 11, Lehman Brothers sequestered $2.5 billion for future executive bonuses. It's the same with all the other Masters of the Universe. Merrill, Lynch has allocated $6.7 billion for bonuses this year. Between them Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley will dole out $13 billion in bonuses on top of already ridiculously handsome salaries, in a year of massive losses. To me, it's unbelievable, beyond comprehension, what these executives are paid. Just one example: the CEO of Goldman's got a $67.9 million bonus on top of his $600,000 salary last year. He's not atypical. All the sordid details are right here. You'll be appalled.

So the question is how long will all those poor screwed schmucks out there in the hinterlands beyond Wall Street will remain quiet. People want these greedy bastards who did this to them to pay, but there's been no sign yet that any of them are going to. What happens if the schmucks figure this out? No society in the history of the world has undergone the kind of wrenching disasters like what's happening to the US without violent spillover. And despite the self-image we like to embrace, the US is not a city on a hill. We're just like everybody else. Once people are busted, what have they got to lose by setting fire to things and throwing bricks?

My hope is Barack Obama has plans for all those gold-plated thieves on Wall St. and he's just being quiet about it. I think we can expect the department of justice to live up to its name in his administration. I certainly hope so. The dogs of justice from Washington are likely to be a lot kinder to thieves and liars than mobs of American paupers who have finally figured out who to blame. The dogs will bite, but the mobs will tear limb from limb.
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