In case you missed it, This American Life in conjunction with Planet Money yet again produces radio worth listening to in Wall Street: Money Never Weeps.
Ira [Glass] with Planet Money economics correspondent Adam Davidson on why—-even after everything President Obama has done to save Wall Street, actions which have led to record profits and bonuses—-Wall Street seems ungrateful. Adam and producer Jane Feltes head out to a Wall Street bar where they're told by three finance guys that there's no reason to thank the President for saving their jobs.
The victim-hood of the privileged as embodied in the Tea Party Movement is endemic on Wall Street and for a taste of this bitter tea infused with crocodile tears I recommend you follow the link provided above and listen for yourself.
Hear budding financial media star Anthony Scaramucci complain to President Obama that he and others on Wall Street feel like pinatas; hear hedge fund manager Steve Schwarzman, head of the private equity firm Blackstone Group, complain that raising the taxes on his hedge fund earning from 15% to 35% is like Hitler invading Poland. Lest we forget, the Blackstone Group has been a principal beneficiary of the Wall Street bailout including lucrative contracts with the Treasury Department to manage numerous new financial rescue programs. And, according to Adam Davidson, Schwarzman is not an outlier. His views are widely shared on Wall Street. Davidson is reminded by all this of the self pity and lack of self reflection expressed by wealthy, high level Iraqi Baathists whose gravy train dried up with the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Davidson wishes that Wall Streeters would admit the truth: that their businesses failed and that they were saved by precisely that which they now rail against---government intervention.
Instead he and the rest of us get this. Davidson's Wall Street beat takes him and his crew to a local watering hole, the Pound & Pence, across the street from the Federal Reserve building in lower Manhattan. The Planet Money folks engage in argument with some young investment bank hotshots, maintaining that the latter would not have their jobs but for the tax payers and the government. One of the hotshots responds "You're crazy" and maintains that he has his job because:
Hotshot: I'm a smart person...it's survival of the fittest...I'm smarter than the average person...
Planet Money: Even if the government bailed out your business that failed, you say its because you're smarter?
Hotshot: The government bailing out an industry was out of necessity for whatever the situation was...the fact that I benefited from that was because I'm smart...I took advantage of a situation. Ninety-five percent of the population doesn't have that common sense.
At one point in the conversation Janet Feltes says she wishes she could walk into a bar in lower Manhattan and have one of these guys just say to her, a tax payer, "thank you for saving my job."
And there are many on Main Street who wish they had reason to offer such thanks.