The most amusing thing to me about this Rick Santelli faux populist broker revolt is not his invocation of the Nixonian silent majority, but the utter lack of perspective it displays. Yes, there is a simmering discontent and anger out there, and clearly the Republicans are going to try to tap into it, but the problem for Santelli and his crowd is that the anger is not directed at the people who are losing their homes, but at the people Santelli spends every day rubbing shoulders with at the trendy Chicago restaurants the brokers go to these days.
The audacity of Santelli’s “revolt” is that a mere 75 billion is being spent to help struggling families repackage loans- a pittance in the terms of the gargantuan amount of money being thrown at the banks, the Wall Street wizards, and the rest of the rocket scientists who are the root of this problem. Case in point:
First, Arthur Santa-Maria called Bank of America to ask how to check the balance of his new unemployment benefits debit card. The bank charged him 50 cents.
He chose not to complain. That would have cost another 50 cents.
So he took out some of the money and then decided to pull out the rest. But that made two withdrawals on the same day, and that was $1.50.
For hundreds of thousands of workers losing their jobs during the recession, there’s a new twist to their financial pain: Even when they’re collecting unemployment benefits, they’re paying the bank just to get the money — or even to call customer service to complain about it.
Thirty states have struck such deals with banks that include Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase and US Bancorp, an Associated Press review of the agreements found. All the programs carry fees, and in several states the unemployed have no choice but to use the debit cards. Some banks even charge overdraft fees of up to $20 — even though they could decline charges for more than what’s on the card.
Santelli, who is kind of the CNBC version of a right-wing Cafferty, better be careful where he leads his mob with their chants of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité,” because before he knows it, he could be looking down on the mob not as a leader but from his new position mounted at the end of a pike. Joe The Plumber isn’t big on nuance, and a broker wearing a thousand dollar suit is on the wrong end of the equation.