|Giving Thanks for Obama||Warren Buffett, Robber Baron|
by Christopher Chantrill
December 09, 2010 at 11:11 am
ALL OF A sudden, liberal pundits are getting worked up about the influence of Wall Street. From the concern expressed one would think that the contributions from Goldman Sachs have suddenly dried up now that the Republicans have taken over the House of Representatives. Heres William D. Cohan in The New York Times worrying about The Power of Failure.
Despite the very dire consequences of the latest financial crisis that Wall Street perpetrated on the world, America cannot seem to shake its infatuation with Wall Street bankers and traders.
We continue to shower them with riches, prestige and glory...
The question is why? Why do we tolerate the questionable morality and behavior that too many on Wall Street get rewarded to exhibit?
Perhaps the purpose of the article is merely to buttress the narrative, copyrighted by Sgt. Schultz of Hogans Heroes, that liberals know nothingNOTHING about Fannie and Freddie. But really, what does Cohan expect? This is not that hard. Big Government equals Big Debt, and when government wants to borrow it needs Wall Street.
Its not just the Feds that need money. The United States has a huge bestiary of governments, special purpose districts as well and state and local governments, and they all need to borrow money. Who do you think they call?
Closer to the truth is Charles Gasparino and his Bought and Paid For. He tells Shawn Macomber that Wall Street is actually not that capitalist, but that The people at the top have political beliefs that are strongly aligned with progressivism.
In any case, politiciansfounding father Alexander Hamilton exceptedare clueless about money. Heres an example, from The Merchant Bankers by Joseph Wechsberg. Its a story about the French. Youd expect the country of John Law and the assignat to need serious advice from a good finance professional, and you would be right.
After their victory in the Napoleonic Wars the victorsthe Brits and the Prussians and their hangers-ondemanded an indemnity from the defeated French of 700,000,000 francs. Newly installed Louis XVIII and his courtiers didnt have a clue what to do. But Paris investment banker Gabriel-Julien Ouvrard had an idea. Dont borrow from the rich in France with a compulsory loan, he said. Dont raise taxes. Float a bond issue in London and borrow the money from the victors. Everyone thought the guy was crazy. But he wasnt. British banker Barings and Amsterdam banker Hope & Co were happy to syndicate a loan for the French in the City. The bond issue sold out and the prices of French rentes went up. Everyone made lots of money, and, best of all, Louis XVIII got himself and the French people out of a jam so they could go on to lose three wars to the Germans in less than a century.
When a politician wants money, who does he turn to? He turns to a friendly investment banker, maybe the one that gave him a helpful investment tip a while back. He always has, and he always will.
Want to know why Wall Street honchos make so much more money that you do? Its because the money men are essential to the politicians, and you are not.
Also, the bankers take care of politicians in other ways. Guess who got to marry Chelsea Clinton? A son of politicians who had worked as a banker at Goldman Sachs and 3G Capital.
Heres an idea for all those liberals that want to reduce the influence of Wall Street. Cut back on government. Especially cut back on government debt. And that includes all the funny money that floats around quasi government operations like Fannie and Freddie. If Wall Street werent making all that easy money servicing the government they would have to figure out how to service the private sector. They might even end up accidentally creating good jobs and reducing inequality.
From a conservative point of view, the flap over Wall Street and its travails is not all bad. We hate the bailouts, but we love the political opportunity. Without the financial meltdown, the nation might have swallowed ObamaCare. Without the financial meltdown we could have put off the moment of truth with entitlements longer. Without the financial meltdown and the Obamanomic knee-jerk Keynesianism the Tea Party movement might not have gone critical.
Weve got the Wall Street we deserve. Decades of reckless government finance have created the monster that is too big to fail. All the liberal bluster will not change the real problem with meltdowns and bailouts, for it will be the little people, not Wall Street, that will pay the price for the failures of the big boys.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State