I have a dream

Wall Street Bankers

A number here or a number there
As products and people go nowhere
and disappear like an off switch.
Ones and zeros that do not twitch

in their spreadsheet rows that are shown.
So that numbers can be crunched.
So that the numbers can be thrown
into a file to be reviewed

And then tweaked a bit to show a new view.
The free markets are what people still preach
even after their freedom has been leached
from the walls of a mighty empire.

The walls of our family homes on fire
with bad mortgages that were given
under false pretenses and sold like a false war.
But you must pay it or ask what is your word good for?
A lie we were given and bought with a smile and a coke.
A lie we ate at drive-thrus, our obesity now not a joke.

Free markets are the only way they say.
Let the free markets compete and the strong will prevail.
As many told us they were too big to fail
With no idea how to follow the Monopoly money trail.
As people continue to lose their jobs each day

How can we trust our government or economy today.
If the Federal Bank can not be audited just as us.
If the banks are not allowed to be policed as such.
With million dollar bonuses being given away

They say we have no way of saying, no way.
That you will not tax the people to give to the rich.
To give to the very people that made this economy sick.
Who are literally laughing all the way to their banks.
Who are literally robbing the unborn while we grow even more weak.

I have a dream and in it America unites.
We realize that this is not politics as usual.
I see a time when we realize that this is our fight.
That America has been fleeced and we must band together.

I have no plan of how this might happen.
But I see that Democrats, Republicans and Independents have forgotten.
That together we stand and divided we fall.
For a government that does not control its banks is no democracy at all.

Comments

  • greginjax

    Nice poem, socialistic, well versed and articulate, but nice, still think you views are amazingly socialistic. I can’t for the life of me conceptualize how you say America is about the government controlling the banks and thus it is democracy. That is not what our constitution or government stands for. It is about individual freedom and the pursuit of your life, not about the government safeguarding you from your ignorance, stupidity or general shortcomings. That has been done to the point where the populace already expects to feed off the teet of the government instead of braving it in the world. Seriously not sure where you link the two together but capitalism is not bad just because it causes some people to lose when they make bad decisions. That is called adult responsibility Global, maybe if you preached a little more about people being responsible, educated, and motivated then your message might have some merit. But to say the banks are mean and nasty because they sold something to people who could not afford it, that is really letting the individual of the hook. MOST of the mortgages in trouble were sold as 7-1 or 5-1 ARMs )adjustable rate mortgage, which means the loan interest is adjusted dependant upon the prime rate, when the prime rate jumped due to the economy then the people with these loans saw their payments inflate accordingly. Lesson is, when you gamble on a ARM loan you also take the risk of the rate going up. That is why the interest is so low initially to entice you to take that risk. Also why fixed loans are more stable but save you less in the long term.

    In conclusion I believe you are letting the individual of the hook and are having serious issues with financial success of some people. Just because some people are creating wealth does not mean they are wrong, it just means they are successful at making money. It’s called capitalism and THAT is the foundation of the economic system that allowed America to thrive and become the world superpower.

  • Thanks for the compliment. Appreciate it. Very kind of you.

    I’m not saying America is about controlling the banks. I’m saying it doesn’t control the banks and allows the Federal Reserve to do whatever it wants. And in the process the banks are controlling America therefore it’s not a democracy. But again it’s a poem and you can read it any way you want to.

    I find it interesting you can defend the banks even after they have given themselves huge bonuses off of tax payer dollars after failing and nearly driving this country into a depression while people continue to lose their homes.

    I also think you missed the point of the poem, which was about unity. I don’t believe unity is socialism. The word socialism is now thrown around so often these days (usually by people who don’t know its definition) in order to instill fear in others. Name calling and judgment, this is the state of politics as usual. I would like to get past that.

    I would prefer not classifying anyone’s views and trying to treat each other as equals while listening to each other. What say you? Is that possible or is it really just a dream?

  • firstly, that last line g-tron is a kicker, well done.

    to greginjax-

    i will remake the point, personal responsibility, accepting consequences of risk…well, the banks certainly expected to suck off a government teet and are doing so, so your argument is absolutely false on that account.

    capitalism, like any competitive structure, thrives on solid regulation…have you ever watched a football game where you could tell the referees were biased, it’s horrible and it angers the players and crowd, a good game depends upon somebody who can make judgment calls about fairness. and banks used to assess peoples’ capability of repaying loans, so that they did not set themselves up for failure. that was good for the banks, good for the borrowers and frankly, good for america. there is nothing socialistic about this…come on, use a little common sense on these issues, and stay out of the party, team-like, thinking…we all need some decent regulation to make the game more equitable and more stable…anybody with half a mind knows this, but unfortunately half a mind is getting harder to find.

    akbar

  • Logocentric

    greginjax–

    i agree with you in the letter of your statement that the individual is getting off the hook. problem is, your argument is turned around and really ineffective. i don’t have time to go into all the ways in which your argument is screwed up, but i’ll hit a couple of notes.

    first, and this is just a matter of aesthetics, when you call people ‘socialists’ in that apparently derisive tone that is hard to detect on message boards (but which is clearly there nonetheless), you behave just like a person who has a severely diminished ability to think for himself. come to think of it, this is just like the characterization of the people (the ‘individual’) you critique in your comment (people who sign onto things without thinking them through). anyway, it’s obvious that you are parroting that term (‘socialist’) with, as globatron said, very minimal depth or thought. just putting my perception right up front, so there is no question about that.

    i always find it strange that ‘conservatives’ nowadays like to talk about the evils of big government, but rarely if ever do they connect big government and big business. in fact, the two work hand-in-hand. and when you describe capitalism as glibly as “THAT is the foundation of the economic system that allowed America to thrive and become the world superpower,” i frankly get really concerned that you’re just barking things that you hear on the tube. do you think that it’s a coincidence that businesses have grown in size over the same period that government bureaucracies have grown? one might rebut, ‘well, that’s because government grew (especially after the new deal) in order to regulate businesses.’ but do you really suppose that there is no relationship that goes the other way? in other words, do you really believe that there is some historical wonderland called the free market in which the businesses that made it to where they are competed freely and openly? what we see today is the result of a long history of cooperation–and, often, collusion. the businesses that have made it–including the unimaginably wealthy banks you defend–made it BECAUSE of regulation, because of agreements and partnerships, special interests, etc. THAT is capitalism, at least in the way it has worked in america. the pertinent question is, ‘who gets to decide what kind of regulation we have?’

    in this situation, responsible regulation is the only tool ordinary people can hope for. again, all that free-market, laissez faire stuff is pure propaganda, because in the modern world, it does not work, unless you’re a tycoon who doesn’t care what happens to people who are not millionaires. in fact, there aren’t any really good historical arguments out there that say that capitalism was ever theoretically meant to work without regulations, without, as akbar puts it, referees–and by that, i mean the socially-responsible kind of regulation that businesses sorely lack today. at the very least, adam smith never foresaw the 20th and 21st centuries and the age of multi-billion-dollar global machines.

    when i say that i agree with you that ‘the individual’ is getting off the hook, i mean the multi-billion dollar corporation, which, legally speaking, is an individual–a person with rights, and with a legal responsibility to reap profits by any means necessary. is that the entity you defend? you seem to act as though people who get ridiculously rich do so without harming the people around them, as though they are completely upfront and transparent about what they do. but i don’t think that is really your stance. i think you’re smarter than that. i suspect that you really support deception and exploitation as personal values. i suspect that that’s the way your operate in your daily life.

  • Amen Logocentric. This country really needs to take a collective step back and look at what we mean when we say business and what we mean when we say government.

    I think the word government has not been clearly defined. I enjoyed how you pointed out the connection between big business and big government. Our government is a business. When lobbyists buy votes and corporations have the rights of citizens then we are no longer a democracy. I think we should really define what type of government we have.

    If only we as a people could come to some consensus on anything we might be able to save the collapse of the empire. But when it comes down to it there is no real desire to save it, it seems. It’s as if we are headed for a cliff and we’d rather argue and snipe at each other before going over.

    Maybe it’s just human nature and maybe this country and mankind deserves anything that it gets because our true nature is being tested right now and maybe that is the purpose of all of this. A test to see if we can evolve. How social are we? Has humanity disconnected from it’s collective sense of WEness. The collective we? That was one of the main reasons we have evolved past our closest genetic cousins the chimpanzees. It would seem we have much more evolution to do.

  • Greg

    Ok I am not going to argue with all the points on here, I am at work and do not have enough time. In the issue of the mortgage qualification issue, yeah the banks SHOULD qualify people for loans, ALL loans, that is not regulation, that is called risk management and responsible business practices. IF the government was not going to the let them off the hook you can bet the banks would have NEVER done something so careless. That is one of the problems is the mentality of “the government won’t hold me accountable” still is the perceived notion. THAT has to stop, you make bad business decisions then your business FAILS. Sorry, that is life, and please don’t start with the line about what about the people effected thing, stuff happens. Life is not fair, never will be. So if a business is going to fail because of its own bad decisions LET IT.
    Ok next thing, the origin point for all the mortgage fiasco was when the DEMOCRATICALLY controlled congress removed and or lightened the regulatory requirements for making the mortgage loans in order precipitate more people being able to afford houses. They wanted to make it FAIR, that is one of the problems when you try to make things fair you usually end up making things worse. So the whole arguement of fairness while is great in principle does not work in reality. The regulation you speak of was in place and removed but here is the thing I disagree with, the government should not be in the middle of this, BUSINESS practices should be, why because it is not the governments JOB to do that, they should simply also not bail out the failures of banks, businesses and anything else that fails due to stupid decisions of the company. PERIOD. You do that and business works because then business no longer has a safety and they usually won’t risk their business for a financial gain.
    I do not simply tow a party line, I am an independant conservative and form my own perceptions and opinions based on what I know and see. I know this, capitism does work, does it mean someone probably loses in the end? yes. That is life, as in the football analogy, someone ALWAYS loses in the football game, it just it what it is. Does not make it wrong, just makes it fact.

  • greg, i probably agree with many of your points, but i would like to make an important distinction.

    one, those parties that engaged in the questionable business practices do have the means to avoid the consequences of those actions, which poor people do not…point being, even if we allowed those businesses, banks, to fail, the primary actors would escape with billions of dollars, they would have very little consequence. in fact, they would benefit from their fraudulant practices, whereas those poor people who took those loans, who i agree were not all very forward thinking, would have their financial lives destroyed. this inequity seems a biased referee system. if those banks fell apart, most likely the ones who would feel the hit the most would be all their employees, janitors, tellers, all of us who depended upon the framework. i’m not saying i disagree, it is possible that we ought to have stayed out from governing it, i just don’t think the primary risk takers would have been the primary owners of the consequence, and given their capacity for virtue, their knowledge, it seems perhaps there might be a moral justification for expecting more of them.

    and as i know that the clinton administration is responsible for much of the mortgage deregulation i entirely agree with you on that point. however, we have to look at business with a subtle eye. there is a hugely growing industry of predatory lending, like the paycheck lending stores, they make untold amounts of money, and do so because of people’s desperate situations. it is entirely reasonable to question certain levels of interest. lending and debt and the problems therein are ancient problems, and the unregulated levels of interest has always been bad for society. and so such speculation is itself something that must be regulated, it cannot be seen as a ‘business’, for it does not produce anything, except an indebted situation. it is a con game.

    and i agree that it seems our government is involved in this game somehow, but i hope we can agree that both parties seem to have their hands in the cookie jar. i find this aspect optimistic, because maybe this is something people can become united about.

    if there is any virtue in capitalism it is the idea that such competition reveals a higher value, that is implicit in any defense. in other words, capitalism, the free market is supposed to empower people by allowing their expenditures to shape the market, but when the producers use their means to actually limit the market, let’s say the auto-industry, who in collusion with fuel companies, over produce inefficient automobiles, this takes the power away from the people. and then, the ideal capitalism turns into a form of fascism, corporate control of the market. so, many of us hope government will be a vehicle for the kinds of regulation that will free up the market to those businesses that wish to produce higher quality products, so that the free hand will represent a greater number of people. so, the question is always, if we don’t turn to government, what are we left with, if corporations, who once were merely players, have turned into the referee and both teams on the field? to continue with the football analogy, while we serve popcorn.

    akbar

  • Greg

    Capitalism like all forms of social concepts is prone to one weakness, MAN. Communism sounded like utopia until MAN got involved and then it was no longer feasible because man ruined it. My point is in the business world I do not believe your assertions are correct, the consumer drives the market. This is true for 99% of the capitalist system, consumers decide what they want and a company provides this to them at the price the market will bear. I know this might come as a shock but a good part of the population of America does not WANT to drive more efficent vehicles. We would if we did not sacrifice power or something else but there is a trade off and the American public in large is not ready yet to make that move. As for you car companies controling the market, well there is holes in that, one of which is my favorite, Saturn, they saw the void in the public sector of people being dissatisfied with car companies and did it differently, their cars are very reliable and well built and the people are top notch, it is a shame they are closing.

    Movies are kinda symbolic of this, if you make a movie that sucks and no one wants to see then chances are no one is going to pay to go see it. No one forces them to make the movie and chances are there will not be a sequel.

    I totally agree with your opinion about the nature of business being somewhat predatory, here is something to think about, WHY is the vulture nature’s most effective predator? Because it only preys on things that can’t fight back or that are already dead. Business is the same way. It is not wrong or right, it is what it is. Human being take advantage of each other, it sucks, I know. Is it the government’s job to protect the masses of stupid people from themselves? I personally do not believe so. People need to get back to being SMART and self reliant, being poor and desparate is no excuse. You don’t cut off your head because your hair is on fire. Robin Williams had a great idea, force the government officials to wear jackets with the logos of all the sponsors they have so we can see who is buying who. Only then when the jackets are CLEAN and logo free will the government be working for the AMERICAN people. Not working for the people funding them, business. Oh and I know that will never happen because of a saying once said. The golden rule, he who has the gold, MAKES the rules. That is a truth in life my friend. Accept it, those in power only make decisions to benenfit themselves. Yeah it blows. Big time.

  • you make a solid set of arguments, and in a way we are in agreement. the logo jacket is genius.

    yes, the ignorance of humanity is the primary problem, and yes, consumers do often drive faulty businesses.

    the logo jacket, is simply another way of seeing a more ideal state, which is all any of us are trying to do. and although, humans will always find a way to corrupt a system, it doesn’t necessarily mean we ought to detach ourselves from investing in our future. in other words, although I HAVE accepted a lot of the hard facts you point to, i would warn against a kind of detached bitterness, for in some ways i think, this is the ultimate surrender to the ignorance, the un-smartness you speak of. and i myself am sometimes guilty of this.

    akbar

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