Schwarzman’s “Nazi’s” Comparison
We have met the enemy, and he is . . . us.
Stephen Schwarzman, a Wall Street honcho, made headlines last month for comparing President Obama’s proposal to raise (the absurdly low) tax rates on hedge fund compensation — called “carried interest” — to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
Funny, I had another Hitler reference in mind.
Specifically, Philip Roth’s provocative and very unsettling “The Plot Against America.”
No George Bailey’s
The book’s central premise is that a politically weakened FDR is defeated by Charles Lindbergh, a Nazi sympathizer. Once elected President, Lindbergh first appeases, then cooperates with Hitler in what is effectively a bloodless takeover of America (sorry, Lindbergh relatives).
In my economic version of Roth’s nightmare, I imagine what The Great Depression and the following decades would have looked like if there’d been no FDR, no New Deal, no Securities Act of 1933, no Glass-Steagall, etc.
Instead of reform and recovery, Wall Street uses its financial and political muscle to lay claim to the (remaining) public resources it hasn’t yet appropriated.
And the result would have been what?
Potterville, writ large?
Unfortunately, as you read today’s headlines discussing Too Big to Fail financial institutions, (still) obscene Wall Street pay, devastated savers, etc., this alternative, nightmare scenario hardly seems imaginary at all.
Re-read your Pogo, Mr. Schwarzman.