Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wall Street Cheers Spitzer's Fall

This was my immediate thought when I heard about Eliot Spitzer: Spitzer’s Shame Is Wall Street’s Gain. I thought about writing a few comments after his arrest and subsequent resignation, but Robert Scheer does a better job.
Tell me again: Why should we get all worked up over the revelation that the New York governor paid for sex? Will it bring back to life the eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq that same day in a war that makes no sense and has cost this nation trillions in future debt? Will it save those millions of homes that hardworking folks all over the country are losing because of financial industry shenanigans that Eliot Spitzer, as much as anyone, attempted to halt? Perhaps it provides some insight into why oil has risen to $108 a barrel, benefiting most of all the oil sheiks whom our taxpayer-supported military has kept in power?

Sure, the guy, by his own admission, is quite pathetic in all those small, squirrelly ways that have messed up the lives of other grand public figures before him, but why is an all-too-human sin, amply predicted in early Scripture, getting all this incredible media play as some sort of shocking event? The answer is that, while having precious little to do with serious corruption in public life, it does have a great deal to do with stoking flagging newspaper sales and television ratings.
I'm sure people like U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue spent a lot of time calling major media sources to push the story too. He's made no secret of his contempt for anti-business politicians. Of course, the media didn't need much encouragement. They were already jumping on the yellow journalism bandwagon. Back to Scheer:
I wouldn't have written this column had I not read The Wall Street Journal's Page 1 news story headlined "Wall Street Cheers as Its Nemesis Plunges Into Crisis." The article begins with the crowing statement "It's Schadenfreude time on Wall Street" and goes on to quote those whom Spitzer went after over what should be considered the criminal greed that has predominated on Wall Street. It was Spitzer, as much as anyone, who sounded the alarm on the subprime mortgage crisis, the obscene payouts to CEOs who defrauded their shareholders and the other financial scandals that have brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

The best rule of thumb these days is that ordinary Americans should be mightily depressed over any news that Wall Street hustlers cheer, for they have been exposed as a dangerous pack of scoundrels quite willing to rob decent, hardworking people of their homes. And of course no one on Wall Street ever paid for sex.
Yeah, right. And they never lie or cheat people out of their pensions either. As a wise friend of mine said recently, "drug dealers, cops, politicians, [and Wall Street types] all playing by very different rules, but otherwise they're all pretty much the same."


abi said...


ordinary Americans should be mightily depressed over any news that Wall Street hustlers cheer

And the best proof of that is how stock prices tend to rise when joblessness rises. There's something seriously wrong with a system like that.

Lew Scannon said...

I think Wall St types like this story because it means more hookers for them!

Kathy said...

Abi, you noticed that, eh? Please point that out to the media. I cringe when I hear someone say our economy can't be too bad because the stock market is doing well.

Lew, at the prices those women charge, there aren't too many people besides Wall Streeters that can afford those prices.