Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Wall Street and its 10 most ridiculous lies of 2010

1.”Honest, we didn’t do it!”
Sadly, their blame-shifting strategy worked, bamboozling the media and people across the political spectrum. Crooks? Morons? Take your pick.

2.”The overall costs will be incredibly small in comparison to almost any experience we can look at in the United States or around the world.”
Ever since Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner screwed up his tax returns we knew he was numerically challenged. But he also sidesteps the hidden costs of the bailout, including the financial insurance we taxpayers provided to every giant financial company in the country via the Fed.

3. “It’s a war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
Steven Schwarzman is supposed to be brilliant. After all, he made billions as head of the Blackstone Group, a private equity company and hedge fund. But just who is Hitler and who is Poland in his scenario? He gets 2010’s Dumbest Wall Street Quote of the Year Award. (In 2009 the honor went to Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, who claimed he was “doing God’s work.”)

4. “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government.”
President Obama words of November 29th came only days before he “compromised” with the Republicans to continue the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich and to bestow an enormous estate tax gift to the 6,600 richest families in America. Mr. President, the “hard truth” is that you’re slapping around public sector workers because you don’t have the nerve to take on Wall Street.

5. “25 hedge fund managers are worth 658,000 teachers.”
Nearly everyone on Wall Street sincerely believes that they are “worth” the enormous sums they “earn.” So we shouldn’t be shocked that the top 25 hedge fund managers together “earn” $25 billion a year, as much as 658,000 entry level teachers (they earn about $38,000 per year).

6. “To bolster the economy we need …. an improvement in the relationship between business and government.”
Peter Orszag, Obama’s former budget director, parrots the Wall Street line that employers aren’t hiring because of “regulatory uncertainty.” The truth is that employers aren’t hiring because there’s insufficient consumer demand for goods and services.

7. “Lengthened availability of jobless benefits has raised the unemployment rate by 1.5 percentage points.”
Meaning the unemployed cause their own unemployment, as per a March 17th research note from JP Morgan Chase. It takes chutzpah for JP Morgan Chase, the beneficiary of billions of dollars in taxpayer largess, to criticize the unemployed for not finding jobs that aren’t there, precisely because JP Morgan Chase helped to destroy them!

8. “Private employers, led by our revitalized financial sector, will create the jobs we need — that is, if the government would just stay out of the way.”
We now need 22 million new jobs to get us back to full employment. In addition, each month the economy must generate another 105,000 jobs just to keep up with new entrants into the workforce. To get to full employment, the private sector would have to create about 630 firms the size of Apple (35,000 employees each). Does anyone on Wall Street really believe that the private sector alone can pull off this miracle?

9. “Tim Geithner extolled ‘the benefits of financial innovation’ to the American economy.” Whenever you hear the phrase “financial innovation” put your hand on your wallet. That’s the phrase Wall Street uses to justify its casinos and its outlandish profits and bonuses. Reagan’s Fed Chair Paul Volkner said there is not a “shred of evidence” that “financial innovation” is beneficial.

10. “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.” Okay, okay, Claude Raines said that in Casablanca, not on Wall Street. But Wall Street and its defenders say exactly the same thing about their opaque derivatives games. Meanwhile, Wall Street is quietly pushing to exempt its most profitable derivatives from even these rigged exchanges. So don’t be “shocked, shocked” when Wall Street crashes again and we’re asked to foot the bill.

[Les Leopold, author of The Looting of America]

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