“Random Attacks on Enterprise & Capital”
You know that Wall Street is feeling at least a little heat right now because the Op-Ed pages and blogs (at least certain ones) are ramping up their attacks on what they take to be misguided “populist fervor.”
Typical on this score is David Brooks, The New York Times’ “house conservative”:
The rich and powerful do rig the game in their own favor [but] simply bashing them will still not solve the country’s problems. Political populists never . . . seem to grasp that a politics based on punishing the elites won’t produce a better-educated work force, more investment, more innovation or any of the other things required for progress and growth.
—David Brooks, “The Populist Addiction“; The New York Times (1/26/2010)
Brooks goes on to vaguely warn that “if populists continue their random attacks on enterprise and capital, they will only increase the pervasive feeling of uncertainty, which is now the single biggest factor in holding back investment, job creation, and growth.”
So, Mr. Brooks, when disgusted taxpayers finally begin to insist that their government protect them from (still more) Wall Street looting, they’re . . . “populists?!?”
And when they demand that a broken, dysfunctional financial system be reformed, they’re engaging in mob rule?
And when voters demand that Wall Street lawbreakers be held accountable and the nation’s laws enforced, they’re guilty of . . . “bashing?”
Not So Random
Actually, what Brooks labels “random attacks on enterprise and capital” are anything but; they’re aimed at specific companies, like Goldman Sachs, and have a specific, core agenda.
Namely, that too-big-to-fail — not to mention anti-competitive — financial institutions be . . shrunk.
That savers’ deposits not become chips for Wall Street gamblers.
That epic Wall Street leverage — as high as 40:1 — be curtailed (that means not being able to buy $1 of assets with 2 pennies of your own — and 98 cents of debt).
And that the nation’s financial laws be drafted and enforced by someone other than . . . Wall Street.
Far from being a radical agenda, the foregoing principles have been enshrined as the law of the land for much of the last century.
Indeed, when it comes to what Mr. Brooks calls “attacks on enterprise and capital,” it would be hard to top Wall Street’s recent record.