Monday, February 23, 2009

Which Side Are You On?

David Sirota posted 2 videos from Friday's cable news shows that shows the disconnect in what Sirota calls market populists and grassroots populists.

On one side, you have what Thomas Frank has called "Market Populism" - the portrayal of Wall Street's agenda as an impassioned mass-based populist movement. Check out this clip from CNBC, where the network's correspondent, Rick Santelli, is literally on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange surrounded by multimillionaire traders railing on the Obama administration for trying to help struggling homeowners, and berating people who are getting foreclosed on as "losers." Santelli is praised as a supposed "revolutionary" and the mob of financial elites around him is whooping and hollering, pretending to be a populist mob of regular Joes:

Now watch Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan, presenting the antithesis of Market Populism - let's call it Grassroots Populism. Bernero demands to know how anyone can be calling for wage/benefit cuts for workers at a time the government is taking workers' tax money and handing it to the very speculators that Santelli is whooping it up with:

After watching these two clips, the question is the same question that's always been at the heart of economic politics: Which side are you on? And the answer, if you look at the hard data, is that most Americans are Grassroots Populists: those who think Wall Street and the government are colluding to rip off taxpayers, and who think the crumbs of aid for so-called "losers" that Santelli is ragging on is way too small - not way too much.


Ben said...

The response to the stimulus and housing plans has put the vast gulf between Wall Street and Small Town America in stark relief. Recently released statistics show that more then 700 Merril Lynch employees earn $1 million or more. NPR interviewed ( a Wall Street compensation consultant who pointed out that a $500,000 cap on compensation would encompass -THOUSANDS- of Wall Street traders. We're talking about business who employee more workers then live in many small towns earning more in salary then most American families. And if you listen to Santelli and the interview with the pay consultant, they don't see anything wrong with this. In fact, Rudy Guilliani actually argued with a straight face that we have to pay million dollar bonuses because if we don't New York resturants will go out of money.

Ask yourself...what do these Wall Street traders actually -do-? What do they make? What service do they perform which improves the public or makes our lives better? In short, what justifies the huge sums of cash they suck out of the economy they're supposedly "running"?

noneed4thneed said...

The craziest part of the first video was when Santelli pointed to the people behind him and said "this is a cross section of America."