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View Diary: Wall Street might not be growing tulips, but it's still spreading manure (153 comments)

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  •  Why go all the way to 17th century Holland? (5+ / 0-)

    The NYC financial system (i.e. Wall St.) was founded in the early 1790's in order to handle the massive (for the time) level of trading, speculation and investment in shares of the first Bank of the US, founded by Alexander Hamilton under the Washington administration and leading to the US's first major speculative bubble that predictably followed the boom-bust cycle of all bubbles. It was the post-constitutional US's first major financial crisis that confirmed in the minds of many that government was corrupt and dangerous and that banks were the source of all evil, and led to the formation of our first political parties--one of which, in modified form, is still with us.

    I.e. ours. Yep, Jefferson, along with Madison, founded what would become the Democratic party (it was called the Republican party at the time, of course), in part in order to oppose the financial policies of Hamilton, whom they viewed as a corrupt lackey of northern bankers and businessmen. So it can fairly be said that the party that most of us belong to here and which this site is dedicated to promoting began as a negative and organized reaction to not only our first financial crisis, but more generally what was perceived by many at the time to be the excessive power of banks and their stooges in government.

    Yep, we were the original "Tea Party", in a sense.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:12:58 AM PDT

    •  When Washington asked... (5+ / 0-)

      where the government would get the money to found the bank, Hamilton explained how they could get a loan... from the bank they were creating.

      The Tea Party would not recognize the real founders.

      •  Talk about Ponzi schemes... (0+ / 0-)

        Of course, there was that little excise tax that was supposed to actually fund the bank that led to some trouble on the western frontier.

        I know he's not the most popular person on the left, but you're got to admit that Hamilton was brilliant in coming up with these ideas and that, although they were unfairly implemented, they did turn the country's finances around in a relatively short period of time and made it possible for the US to become economically self-sufficient and prosperous, and he seems to me to have been more naive and short-sighted than ill-intentioned and corrupt.

        But yeah, the teabaggers have little in common with any of the founders (except maybe Aaron Burr or Charles Lee) and have no idea what they really believed. They cribbed a few of their lines--out of context--and call it "taking back our country". Yeah--to the Articles of Confederation and the era of slavery, limited suffrage and inherited wealth-based oligarchy.

        Huzzah!

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:27:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have lately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      come to share the Jacksonian era Democratic attitude towards banks.  The Democrats of the 1830s hated banks as anti-democratic monopoly institutions.  Just about the only position they had that a modern progressive might agree with.

      A bank license is literally a license to create money and has an element of monopoly.  The new institutions we need are some form of Internet based micro-saving and micro-lending.  Bypass the traditional banks entirely!

      Reporting from Tea Bagger occupied America

      by DrJohnB on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:05:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We need banks and a banking system (0+ / 0-)

        We don't need crooks and incompetents running them. I've worked for a bunch, and they struck me as bastions of greed and self-interest that we happen to need to have a modern economy. Why can't we cut out the former and keep the latter? I don't see why not, if we find the will.

        We need to make banking as boring as at was before the 80's.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:32:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Also led to Shay's Rebellion (0+ / 0-)

      and other unpleasantnesses. This too is where I fear we may be headed, and I'm not sure whether that's helpful or not. Part of why I'm hesitant to wholeheartedly endorse the "Occupy _" mobs -- there's a large piece of truth in the message, and a large amount of danger in the way it's playing out. If anyone were looking for excuses to impose martial law (in addition to the Big Brother security state already in place), 700 people arrested in NYC would be one place to start.

      •  Actually, it led to the Whiskey Rebellion (0+ / 0-)

        Shay's Rebellion was over the delayed payment of long overdue Revolutionary War salaries and bonuses and the financial hardships underwent by veterans who hadn't been paid in full yet. It was one of the proximate crises that led directly to the Constitutional convention a few years later because it convinced many founders that the US needed a strong central government both to deal with such rebellions and to fix the underlying conditions that led to them.

        The Whiskey Rebellion was a reaction to the excise tax imposed by Hamilton (and congress and Washington, of course) on distillers to fund and service the debt incurred by the assumption by the new national bank of all Revolutionary War federal and state debt. It was seen by smaller "western" (for the time, i.e. western NY & PA) farmers and distillers as unfairly taxing them and not their richer counterparts on the other side of the Appalachians (e.g. Washington).

        Whatever one thinks of the policies that led to and were implemented in reaction to them, it's clear that popular opposition to government fiscal and monetary policy has been with us from the start, and hasn't been limited to the "right". We're both looking for fair and sensible policies on these fronts.

        Only one of us really means it, though.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 07:17:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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