The wealthiest journalist in the US says he "understands" why we're angry at Wall Street, and then tries to explain to us why we should want the bailout to go through:
Well, you say, “I don’t own any stocks — let those greedy monsters on Wall Street suffer.” You may not own any stocks, but your pension fund owned some Lehman Brothers commercial paper and your regional bank held subprime mortgage bonds, which is why you were able refinance your house two years ago. And your local airport was insured by A.I.G., and your local municipality sold municipal bonds on Wall Street to finance your street’s new sewer system, and your local car company depended on the credit markets to finance your auto loan — and now that the credit market has dried up, Wachovia bank went bust and your neighbor lost her secretarial job there.
We’re all connected.
Okay, I do own stocks through my retirement plan, but let's look at the other items here: Refinance my house? Maybe if I had one. Unfortunately I left college and entered the working world in 2004, by which time housing booms had already pushed out of reach any hope of homeownership. My local airport? I can't afford to travel much, these days, friend. Oh, back in the 90s I was a regular world traveler, but these days it takes some serious cash to get around. So the airport isn't doing much for me right now. How about those sewer systems? Actually, every time it rains, there's a lake that forms in front of my apartment building. My municipality "doesn't work." And it hasn't for some time. Taxes have gotten lower and services have been cut. Either the amount of money my city has in stock is inconsequential, or I'm seeing no benefit from it. Either way, why should I care? My local car company? You're funny. I still drive my 1995 Nissan. Hey, it still runs great. Sure, I'd love to get a new car someday, maybe one with better fuel economy and a back seat for the kid I can't afford to have, but until then, I really don't give a rat's behind what happens to the "local dealership."
But people losing their jobs? I know something about that. I've been watching people lose their jobs for some time now. And they aren't "secretaries at Wachovia" (which is I guess what "ordinary people" must be, in the richest journalist in America Thomas Friedman's head)... more importantly, I've watched my friends and family members survive on too little money working jobs they're overqualified for and get underpaid to do it, because there's no better options out there.
We're all connected. Yes, I know. That's why when my neighbor asks me for a ride to his job at Publix, I'm willing to be late to where I'm going to give him a lift. The poor man has scoliosis and gets no treatment for it because he has no insurance. He's desperately seeking a second job, but he doesn't have a car and is limited to the neighborhood. "I just need a break so I can get on my feet," he tells me. And he's right. That's what he needs. And no one's willing to give it to him.
So, no, Thomas Friedman, you don't understand. You don't understand that people have been suffering and doing without all across America for YEARS, and now the second the recession that we've all be experiencing threatens to hit the rich too, NOW everyone's yelling for action? What do you think that makes us all feel? I'll tell you, since you obviously can't know: it makes us feel like blowing up the whole damn thing just to get the attention of the heartless jerks who are running this show.
Congress could be doing things we'd approve of, like give that 700 Billion to the PEOPLE of America in the form of universal health care, public transportation, and investment in infrastructure projects that will mean well-paying jobs. Or like setting the hounds of hell on the people who caused the mess and profited from it.
But instead they want to fuel the system that rides so heavily upon our backs, and with our money, our CHILDREN'S money.
You, fatcat journalist Thomas Friedman, clearly do not understand why so many people are saying NO.