Americans Are Ticked Off – With Good Reason

  

There can be very little doubt left that many many Americans are seriously pissed off about the way our country is heading. That isn't surprising. In fact, the way things have gone over the last 10 years not only makes it clear why they're pissed off, but frankly, makes it almost inexplicable that they're not in the streets screaming and turning over cars.

Let's look at what they're pissed off about, who they're pissed off at and who they should be pissed off at.

Redistribution of wealth.

Many are afraid that the present administration will redistribute wealth, taking it from hard-working taxpayers and giving it to the poor and disadvantaged. Well, guess what, folks? The biggest redistribution of wealth in history has already taken place.

Those who were afraid that it could happen are not only too late, they were only half right. What they were right about is the wealth was taken from the taxpayers, not only in the form of taxes but also in the form of their savings, their equity in their homes, their jobs, everything. And, it has been redistributed. But not to the poor, but to the very wealthy, and I mean to the ridiculously, obscenely rich.

Prior to 2008, the bankers on Wall Street were cleaning up by making bad loans on real estate and then bunching those loans into "mortgage backed securities" from which they made another fortune. These bankers are smart people, but what they did looks dumb as a door until you realize that they were getting rich by doing dumb stuff with your money.

The result was a real-estate boom that was, as they say, "all hat and no cattle". It was bound to bust. Loans were made to people who had no hope of paying them off, but who could make the payments so long as they were interest only and interest was minimal. When interest went up and principal payments came due, they were toast. But that was not a worry because in the meantime, the value of the house would go up and they could refinance. When that happened, everyone got paid off and the bankers scooped out fees and profit like nobody's business. And it was absolutely un-sustainable. It had to collapse.

As an example, in 2002 the median value of a home sold in Shasta County was $142,500. By 2006, that median was $277,000, an increase of 23.6 percent a year. Wages in Shasta County were growing at less than 4.5 percent a year. Doesn't match up at all, does it?

If the market had not crashed, that $144,200 home from 2002 would be worth $1,465,000 in 2013 and $12,195,000 by 2023. Never going to happen, and the smart people of Wall Street knew it. But they did not care because they were "too big to fail".

Remember that the economy burned down starting in 2008. To avoid collapse, the Bush Administration pumped billions of our tax dollars (yes, folks, our money) into the banking industry. What did the bankers do with it? They took it. And they spent it on themselves. They were used to that.

In 2007, the CEO of Goldman Sacks took home $68,000,000.00. The top 25 hedge fund managers EACH raked in an average of $892,000,000 (or $2,440,000 A DAY), up from a paltry $540,000,000 each on average in 2006.

Therefore, it must have seemed to these greedy SOBs that they were being pretty generous, when in 2009, while ordinary Americans were losing their jobs, their homes, their dreams, even their lives, they limited their rake-off to a mere $140,000,000,000.

That's right, while the people who actually do the work in this country, who grow the food and build the houses were being decimated, the big shots at the 38 biggest firms on Wall Street – the people who had caused the disaster in the first place – helped themselves to another $140 BILLION of OUR MONEY.

Folks, you have every right to be totally pissed off at the Obama Administration, but not because of the crap that has been thrown at him about socialism, medical costs, etc., but because the Obama Administration has not prosecuted a single one of these fat cat thieves on Wall Street. (I know, there was Bernie Madoff, but he had to confess to get arrested. That hardly counts.)

There was a Depression song about Pretty Boy Floyd that said in part, "As around this world I wander, I see lots of funny men. Some rob you with a six-gun, others use a fountain pen."

These a**  h***s have been wearing out fountain pens and laughing at the people with the "will work for food" signs all the way home.

There needs to be a special place in prison for them while they live and a special place in Hell for them when they die.

Obama and Holder are doing nothing, and it is a crying shame.

Be pissed off about that.

Next column: Guns, schools, hysteria and the NRA. 

Dugan Barr has practiced law in Redding since 1967. He has tried more than 200 civil jury cases to verdict. He is married and has five children. The offices of Barr and Mudford, LLP, are at 1824 Court St. in Redding and can be reached at 243-8008.

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27 Responses »

  1. Fifty years ago, my father predicted that bankers would be the wealthiest men in the U.S. -- not doctors or lawyers or businessmen, but bankers. ( I said "men" because women were still teachers and nurses and tellers back then, not bank presidents.) Too bad for us that the government didn't take advantage of his wisdom.

  2. Really Dugan, the pot calling the kettle..........................and no mention of trial lawyers and what they have done to the economy. Amazing.

  3. True, but I hold to the American Dream. One day I could be elected president of Goldman Sacks and then that money would be mine, all mine! Many of us Americans who are not able to be effectively greedy, dream of greed, so we can't prosecute people that someday we hope to be us. Is that so wrong? Or, wait, is it possible that by it's nature, capitalism is greedy and unsustainable. That corporations serve their stockholders and no one else? That the stock market itself is manipulated by Hedge Funds and algorithms? That no one but watchdog groups and some elements of the government work to protect our public interest? Many of us do seem to be in trouble. And somebody besides most of us is making a scatillion dollars. They couldn't have advantages most of us don't have, could they? In our country someone who loses her home either deserved it or could soon be wealthy beyond her wildest imagination. That's the American Dream. Right? Uh oh. Perhaps we should be vaguely annoyed.

  4. The omissions continue: Yes, Bush had his issues, but no mention that BHO bailed out the very same folk. Biggest single contributor to BHO 4 years ago was Goldman Sacks. Hmmm? No mention. That 60 mill is largely our money Obama gave to the bankers.

    Wonder why BHO/Holder don't go after these bankers? Well, it's hard to incarcerate the hand that has fed you all these years and kept you in office. Just my opinion!

    • Well, you're sorta right... Obama continued the bailouts started by G.W. and has basically maintained the same economic policies in place since WWII (modified by Reagan/Clinton). But, TARP worked (to opponents' chagrin) and we'll never really be able to evaluate what the outcome would have been had the bailouts not taken place, suffice to say, I hardly think it would have been to our advantage to watch the system collapse.

      As for prosecuting the bankers, lenders and hedge fund thieves - Obama tried, but the Tea Party Fueled Congress cut the funding for legal proceedings against their pals. DOJ lawyers were outnumbered 300-1, making prosecution futile, any punitive action would take 25 years or more to implement.

      We know where the fault lies for our economic situation... and it ain't in the White House. The morass inherited by this administration will take a few years more to crawl out from, that is if the Republicans stop digging the hole.

  5. Bravo Dugan! You nailed it! At least a part of it. I find it interesting how successfully the fat cats blamed those "greedy home buyers" and the labor unions for this depression rather than who really caused it.

  6. So correct Dugan! But, we (the left, or what's left of it....) are as responsible! In fact, we all have let the taxpayer’s bailed out banks get into just as a precarious position as ever! We have opted to stop a depression buy giving the bankers what they wanted, a free ride at the discount window while letting the banks operate the economy like a gambling casino, but better; they win and they keep the profits, they lose and we bail them out! Hey, I want some of that! TARP has turned out to be a payoff to the banks and now they are really too big to fail because if they do, well like As Gordon Gekko (Kurt Douglas) said at the start out Wall Street 2 “you all are ------….” Both democrats (good ol Bill Clinton and his City Bank crew) and all the post-depression trickle down republicans, have stacked the deck for the oligarchy to the point economic inequity and disparities are at pre-depression levels. They did this by removing safeguards needed to keep the economy from becoming a casino for wealth, eliminating safeguards like the Glass-Steagall Act, tweaking the tax code and laws and buying a supreme court that says corporations are now people, with the same constitutional rights that you have (but for banks, they are above the law), among a long list of other begonia… If any of you out there are interested in how we are getting economically screwed you should read as much of Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone Magazine) as you can. Now the question I have is will the democrats (the republicans, as angry as a drunk Ayn Rand, still screaming about the “New Deal” have been doing so ever since Ronny Regain….) keep selling us out? The power is ours only if we understand that it is…. Wake Up democrats and all concerned citizens! Otherwise, it might be Weimar Republic, here we come….

  7. And yet no mention of what roll the Federal Reserve played in all this. Most Americans believe the Federal Reserve is the American people but NO it is NOT (Wiki it). The American people have no say who runs it and why is that important? FR sets the % rate. Something so important and it has nothing to do with our government or the people. Yet the people of America suffered the consequences when the % weren't raised quicker (about three years sooner would have stopped the run away house prices and all the flippers.)

    When Trillions were pumped into the banking system the FR also benefited and kept the money instead of shoring getting the housing system (although I never thought that throwing all that money was going to do a single thing because the housing cost had to come back to reality.)

    Now add to that the FR owns over a Trillion of America's debt now. That is % that you and I are paying to the FR to bail the government out because they can't balance their budget.

    FR will never loose. Did this all happen when America went off the gold standard?

    • You make some good and important points, as does Dugan in the article above. Ben Bernanke has done as much or more damage to the financial system as any of the greedy corrupt fraudulent banksters.

  8. Great article. Thanks!

  9. Very well written, balanced, and all completely factual. It is wonderful to see an article this brave and true in the News Cafe, among whose readership there are apparently many who need to hear the facts. We know, of course, as a matter of record, that Obama wanted to bring down much stricter regulations than he was able to get passed through Republican obstruction. I, for one, will be attending every town hall meeting that Doug LaMalfa holds, to remind him to attend to what the people of our area really need -- jobs, preferably sustainable energy jobs that we can be proud of. Obama has been trying to pass a sweeping jobs package for two years now. I hope LaMalfa starts voting for some of these measures. Frontline has a very informative documentary, running right now, on this subject, called The Untouchables. Excellent. Thanks again for your well-researched article. Keep it up. We on the left must now voice our support loudly for Obama's efforts to regulate banks, weapons manufacturers, oil corporations, food corporations, etc.

  10. Will you be running for congress in 2014? With your policy views voiced here, I'd vote for you.

  11. Less than 1% of Americans have 90% of the wealth, 50 % of our people, mostly those who have worked their whole lives have 1% of the wealth and the other 8% have 8%.

    While holding a sign: LIVING WAGE BENEFITS at a recent Walmart demonstration, an older women flipped me off and a man making an even more obscene jesture drove by in a new Caddilac sports car mustering up most hateful facial expressions and yelling inaudible epitaphs behind the closed windows.

    Many people in this county vote Republican...against their own best interests. The legislators in Washington, with the corporate controlled media, e.g. FOX (bad) News has our people "groveling for the bones."

    Yes, many in America are angry with

    • Never could understand why most people hold to a strict party line. Not taking each person and issue into consideration on its' own measure.

  12. Do not forget Jon Corzine, who stole almost a billion from SEGREGATED customer accounts, and after the fact continued to bundle funds for B. Hussien. He still walks around a free man, unfortunately.

  13. Individuals who splash offensive remarks on comment boards, usually anonymously, in order to start arguments, are called (in the parlance of our time,) trolls. Dont fall for it. Stay cool. Stick to policy. Nothing else matters.

    • One of the things I love most about A News Cafe.com is the tone of civility expressed in comments, even when we disagree, signed by real names. Pretty rare. Pretty cool.

      (And you are correct to remind us, Michael, to avoid being baited by flame-throwing anonymous posters.)

      • I agree. Pitching fire bombs without any identity attached is best left to the people at brand X on Twin View. It truly is a form of cowardice that is usually justified by "I am afraid of retaliation" Hells bells. I am self employed. I don't have a union or any other protection against a boycot, and I don't get public funds. If you are not proud to own it, don't say it.

        I did not see any real fire bombs in response to this piece. There was the crack about trial lawyers, which is part of the Republican Orthodoxy and has little factual basis. In fact if Marilyn wants to give me a call, I will buy coffee, and we can discuss the subject.

  14. 1) Dugan, I commend you on the many good, valid points you raised in this article.

    2) Ditto for the insightful comments.

    3) To answer the people who have been asking, no, I am not the Marilyn who commented above.

  15. Dugan, I have always looked forward to your contributions on A NewsCafe.

    This latest one, did not disappoint me........in fact I passed it on to my relatives,

    in Wisconsin. I know you must be a busy man, and I appreciate the time

    you take to do these articles. Keep them coming!

  16. What an informative discussion . . . . thank you almost everyone.

  17. lay about qne third at bushes feet the rest belongs to obama and the bad part is yet to come.

  18. Good article, Dugan. I saw it all coming -- all that stuff in 2008 was just too good to be true. I was around in the depression,(thirties) so had some idea If sounds too good to be true, it just can't be.

  19. I am wondering what laws these hedge fund managers and bankers violated. Many times there is a disconnect between what is legal and what is ethical. I am as disgusted as anyone by what these people have done and still do today but I suspect that much of what they do is legal, which, if true, is a real indictment on our elected federal and state politicians. I am ok with taking dollars from these folks if they acted illegally, but certainly there are so many wealthy that earned their money by hard work, sacrifice, talent and risk taking. Why should they have their money redistributed? Wealth is not finite, only so much to go around so we have to spread it around. There is enough out there for a lot of people to be well off or even wealthy.

    I am disappointed that there is not more focus on providing the opportunities for more citizens to achieve financially. We have so many disadvataged and we should help those who are without the education, work habits, job training and from generational welfare families to have the dignity of employment.

    By the way, Obama had both houses of congress the first two years so was not held back by anyone except his own priorities and all those folks who entered into bad loans did it of their own free will. Yes, the bankers, etc were unethical and possibly broke some laws, but the ones who took on these types of loans were not forced into making these very risky, for them, committments.

  20. I've loved reading this article and the comments.

    I'm a high school math teacher. I want things to be simple.

    My idea of ethical and fair behavior was solidified by doing playground duty at an elementary school. Kids just know what's right and fair.

    Legal has no part of the discussion. I'm dismayed that unethical and unfair practices in the world of finances, which strip people of their resources to survive in comfort are celebrated as "sharp trading" while people do time for minor infractions of the law.

    I make 250% more than the folks in our community who work at minimum wage. Some of of the foks on the top make 20,000% more than I do. Fair would be that anyone who works 8 hours a day wouldn't have to struggle like I had to when I made minium wage. Fair would be that you could work 8 hours a day and be able to take care of all the basics and have a bit over for .....

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