Another not-so-respectful note, from Tim Heffernan at Esquire, to our Galtian masters of the financial universe:
Just a brief observation: as I write, the Dow is up one hundred fifty-plus points on the day, to something over 11,100. It is up more than 4,500 points since its recessional low point — 6626.94 on March 9, 2009 — or nearly 70 percent in less than two years. I am just guessing here, but I would bet that it has never achieved that much growth in that short a time in its history.
In any other climate, investment banks would be crowing over their profits, and politicians would be stampeding to the microphones to claim their share of credit. But this is a recession (okay, officially it no longer is one, but as with obscenity…), and there is no advantage to bankers or politicians in pointing out the blindingly obvious: that the economic health of this country can no longer be gauged by the height of the Dow. Bragging about massive profits and fat returns at this point would be vulgar, if not outright suicidal.
Still, it bears pointing out that Wall Street has figured out how to make money — megatons of it — in the midst of an economic disaster, and that the method does not involve job creation. Remember, too, that the Dow measures expected future value, and it is signaling that the future value of American corporations is skyrocketing at a time when 17.1 percent of eligible Americans are out of work or working reduced hours. The unemployed who are pinning their hopes to the GOP and its corporatist platform might want to ponder that for minute or two, and ask whether — to update the old saw — what’s good for Goldman is good for America.