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.