Frank Rich explores the rage "ordinary Americans" are feeling these days in his Sunday column. I was particularly struck by a figure in this paragraph:
Citigroup had one highly visible asset that Lehman did not: Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury secretary who sat passively (though lucratively) in its executive suite as Citi gorged on reckless risk. Geithner, as a Rubin protégé from the Clinton years, might have recused himself from rescuing Citi, which so far has devoured $45 billion in bailout money.
$45 billion to one company? To one private company? That's three billion dollars more than would make California solvent.
We "ordinary Americans" are not insane. We know that California is more important in every way than Citigroup. It's time to admit that our so-called leaders are, indeed, insane.
Crazy. Cracked. Bonkers.
It is insane to save Citigroup when California is sliding into chaos. Robert Rubin is not a Duke. His private jet is not more -- is not as important as the teachers' salaries at Warren T. Eich school.
I'm not calling "insanity" because I'm resentful. I disagree with Rich's quoting of Robert Reich:
Americans "resent people who appear to be living high off a system dominated by insiders with the right connections."
I actually don't think this is true. Americans love those who live large on the basis of insider connections. Just look at how we adore celebrities.
What I resent, what I think most of us resent, is the utter contempt the insiders openly feel for "ordinary Americans."
Susan Collins thinks that we are not worth a stable state budget, well-fed children, a doctor's visit when we're sick.
John Kyl has no problem with the fact that I lost my house to a voracious, rapacious, unregulated financing system. He probably thinks it's my fault.
Joe Lieberman does not care how many of us are homeless and hungry tonight, nor does he have feelings for those who are about to be.
We don't resent their insiderness. We don't resent the fact that they will never shop for groceries with the worry that they won't be able to pay for everything. We don't resent it that their children will all be found smart enough to get into the best schools and graduate with beginning salaries well over 100,000 dollars a year.
This is what we resent: Not that our leaders are insane, which they are, but that they are heartless. They don't even pretend to care about us anymore.