Still “Me” First

doctor_narrowweb__300x356,2New Orleans Last evening I was being interviewed by Diego Mulligan for his talk and comment show on KSFR in Santa Fe, New Mexico about Citizen Wealth. He raised the point about a news report that $30 billion went out in bonuses to executives and traders at nine of the banks that received gazillions in federal bailout dollars, so we found ourselves talking about the equity gap that still persists in America today.   What have we learned from the meltdown really?

The “me first” policy in Wall Street which is confounding citizens and politicians is leading to a systemic breakdown and thwarting more than one public policy initiative it now seems.  I don’t know if this is a “crisis of the commons,” or something more atavistic and dog-eat-dog that puts individual interests so far above the common good that these folks can’t even see us down here any longer.

Wall Street’s excess is beyond the imagination.  The fact that these firms were paying out over $30 billion in bonuses while getting federal bailout dollars of over $80 billion is a fundamental breach with reality. This money is fungible.  These bonuses should never have been paid.  Who was running these shops, and why are they not all unemployed now?!?

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Infiltrators

New Orleans While I was being interviewed by Peter Collins, the former Air America host (www.peterbcollins.com ) for a radio podcast a little after 6 PM, I began getting instant messages that somehow Glenn Beck was airing an “exclusive interview” with me.  No way!  I had to focus so wasn’t able to click on the links until 630 when the interview on Citizen Wealth ended.  It was hard to concentrate!

The first flurry of emails assumed that we had been punked by Fox News documentary folks with whom we had interviewed and that despite their pledge they had shared footage with Beck and his crew.  Quickly it became clear that this was shaky, barely focused handheld footage, and the guys on the Fox contract at the Octavia Books signing for Citizen Wealth were total professionals, so there was no way they had sloppy stuff in the can.

Marie Hurt, Louisiana ACORN’s state organizer, quickly nailed the issue.  This was bound to be film from the two young white guys who claimed to be visiting New Orleans from Michigan, but were bloggers about healthcare, had seen the Times-Picayune picture of me and the notice of the book signing, so came on by.  I forget who brought them up to the signing table, but they asked if they could get some film for their blog and ask me about the need for national healthcare.

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