“I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore”
After watching yesterday’s swooning stock markets triggered by the political theater of a US sovereign debt rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) a massive flight to secure capital, the maligned US Treasuries, produced negative yields for those who sought safety. The other market lemmings sought protection by foolishly buying gold, that ‘bling, bling’ storehouse of alleged values. They were egged on by stock and commodity trading hucksters who put forth the spiel that we should return to gold backed currency. Surely they jest. That would place the US and global economies tottering on the brink of a possible double dip recession in jeopardy of being beholden to control by two leading producers, South Africa and Russia. Ultimately that could worsen what Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff calls the ‘Second Great Contraction’. The first being the Great Depression of the 1930’s. A Great Contraction caused by the bursting of the housing bubble of 2008 urged on by the S&P A+ credit ratings of worthless mortgage back securities. Securities guaranteed by trillions of dollars of leveraged credit default swaps orchestrated by Goldman Sachs and a host of banks ‘too large to fail’ bailed out by taxpayer TARP funds.
Like many in the US and, I suspect, many abroad, I needed some relief. Call it taking a virtual mental Alka Seltzer.
The only rational observer to my mind was Wall Street restructuring guru Wilbur Ross, Jr. who knows a thing or two about turnarounds and has minted a fortune doing it for himself and others who invested half a billion in his funds. His comment on a CNBC Squawk Box program was S&P was “downgrading democracy”. Watch the interview, here. He followed that with this classic quote from Winston Churchill, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else”. Small comfort for many seniors in America faced with no good options to preserve retirement income with minimal risk.
A friend in Connecticut, Carole Rubin sent me a YouTube video by an alleged Baltimore small business owner entitled, “Are You Kidding me” . In the video, the Baltimorean decried the lack of leadership by President Obama and a bickering Congress with the implied line of a ‘plague on all your houses.’
All this visual angst over a yawning deficit, galloping national debt, lack of effective fiscal leadership and, yes, self- sacrifice by our political leaders in Washington. Political leaders, cosseted as they are with benefits that most taxpayers find appalling, from President Obama and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisles dunning us to make ‘more sacrifices’. The You Tube video by this boiling mad Baltimore business owner has become an overnight ‘urban legend’ with currently over a 1.5 million hits.
I don’t know who this alleged Baltimore small business owner is, but he chanced to use a line from the soliloquy by the fabled British-born Australian actor Peter Finch from the brilliant 1976 film by the late Paddy Chayefsky, Network:“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”.
Watch the scene where late Peter Finch as the mad Howard Beale gets millions of viewers across America to go to their windows, open them and scream “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” The film character Beale eventually gets gunned down by paid domestic terrorists in a desperate effort to raise the swooning ratings of a third network underwritten in part by Arabs in the midst of an oil crisis, 1970’s version. The script is eerily prescient given today's world and domestic economic crises and squabbling America's political leadership in Washington.
The simple-minded blend of anger, and misunderstanding of what, since the days of Eisenhower, has happened to the marginal tax rates, does not impress. This example of outraged vox-populi confusion depresses.
10 Aug 2011 Mary Jackson
Why the English subtitles? It's in English, albeit American.