We Need To Buy Better Senators, Sir

The funniest thing about the NY Times’ “Let the 99% eat cake” piece this weekend is this part here:

Some on Wall Street viewed the protesters with disdain, and a degree of caution, as hundreds marched through the financial district on Friday. Others say they feel their pain, but are befuddled about what they are supposed to do to ease it. A few even feel personally attacked, and say the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have been in Zuccotti Park for weeks are just bitter about their own economic fate and looking for an easy target. If anything, they say, people should show some gratitude.

“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”

He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.

I can’t think of a better example of how Wall Street works politically, can you?  “We bought these Senators fair and square.  How come they’re backing these dirty effing hippies?  They need to stay bought, dammit.  That’s how it works in America.”

It’s not the 99% they’re blaming either, but Congress.  It’s like they expect the candidate with the most money to win and then pay industry back with sweetheart laws or something, and that Wall Street needs Congress.  Boy if these 99% guys ever figure out they can vote, Wall Street’s in real trouble, huh.  The captains of industry should probably work hard to prevent that from happening by making it harder to vote so these hippies don’t get ideas that their opinion matters.

If you thought voter suppression was the top GOP priority before, it just got super fast-tracked in the wake of Occupy Together.






62 replies
  1. 1
    4tehlulz says:

    They mad because they can’t figure out how to sell CDSs on themselves.

  2. 2
    Alex S. says:

    Financial services blahblah… This industry is strangling all the other industries.

  3. 3
    FlipYrWhig says:

    If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services.

    It’s hard to think of anything _easier_ to outsource than “financial services.” You’re moving around money you never see and repackaging it into virtual bundles. Why would you have to be in New York or the US to do that? And as for the idea that they’re so good at it — um, kinda not, or else there wouldn’t be that whole ongoing financial collapse thingy.

  4. 4
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well.”

    1. We haven’t been doing very good at it.
    2. It’s mostly because of financial services that we don’t do a lot else in this country. Quarterly profits, and if you don’t beat the prediction that you will beat the prediction, then your stock goes down? That’s a big problem.

  5. 5
    Corner Stone says:

    Re: OWS, I keep seeing people say some variant of “If it lasts through winter then it will be a real movement.” Or, “let’s see how it does through winter”.
    Well, no. The only thing it will tell us is how people with limited resources and no health care deal with trips to the ER.
    In fact, I would encourage OWS to leave the space during winter and use whatever connections and resources they have to continue organizing. Then pop back out in Spring, like a groundhog.

  6. 6
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    “Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager. “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”

    Yes, because an industry and economy that subsists on petty fucking spite to where demands for jobs are met with ‘Yeah, well, FUCK YOU, the jobs you had are going to Egypt now, fuck you!’ is REALLY GONNA FUCKING GET PEOPLE ON YOUR SIDE…

    Wait. Duh, of course it fucking will. We still have half a country with fucking Economic Stockholm’s Syndrome.

  7. 7
    Plethded says:

    Amazing to see this sentiment from Wall Street when they should know it doesn’t matter what Schumer and Gillibrand say in public, just how they vote in the Senate. For all their supposed sophistication, the Wall Streeters sound like childish dumbasses who lucked into money.

  8. 8
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @Plethded:

    That’s what most of them actually are, really. They just managed to swindle most of the country, including themselves, that it was somehow all according to the virtues of rugged individualism and Calvinistic Predestination (I succeeded, thus it proves I’m more saintly and fucking better than you dirty unwashed fucking proles).

  9. 9
    kdaug says:

    @Alex S.: Ding. And what’s the value-added here? What do they create?

    Symbiotes I can tolerate. Parasites, no so mucho.

  10. 10
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Plethded:

    For all their supposed sophistication, the Wall Streeters sound like are childish dumbasses who lucked into money.

    FTFY

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    @Plethded:

    Amazing to see this sentiment from Wall Street when they should know it doesn’t matter what Schumer and Gillibrand say in public, just how they vote in the Senate.

    IMO, this misses the point a little. It’s not enough for the banksters that they get what they ask for behind closed doors.
    They need the public to publicly have a little gratitude about it too, or the money just doesn’t taste as sweet.
    Point being, they’re narcissistic sociopaths or IOW 5th graders.

  12. 12
    Culture of Truth says:

    I used to be gruntled. Now, not so much.

  13. 13
    PurpleGirl says:

    Schumer has been protecting hedge funds and managers, as well as derivatives, for years… years. They’ve gotten good value from their money to him.

  14. 14
    jrg says:

    These fuckers can’t go into a room and trade beans without wrecking the economy, and now they are saying: “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well.”

    Really? Fucking really? If these people were building bridges, would you even consider driving across one?

  15. 15
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @jrg:

    If you asked these guys to build a bridge, they’d dig the hole deeper just to spite you.

  16. 16
    Judas Escargot says:

    “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country [..]”

    Dude… that is our whole fucking problem, right there. Financial services’ only reason to exist is to enable production and consumption: It’s a utility.

    They no longer perform that function.

    The financial “industry” first transformed itself into a pointless Glass Bead Game to see which well-connected sociopath can collect the most imaginary money faster than all the other well-connected sociopaths, and then used the proceeds to infect the rest of the culture and its political system to ensure its own survival and dominance.

    Out here in the real world, the FIRE sector has become a burden and an obstacle to real people living real lives.

    That’s not sustainable.

  17. 17
    Culture of Truth says:

    “Me stealing from you is one thing this nation does really well, so shut up.”

  18. 18
    Judas Escargot says:

    @The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik:

    If you asked these guys to build a bridge, they’d dig the hole deeper just to spite you.

    More likely, they’d take down all the BRIDGE OUT signs leading up to the river, and find a way to financialize all the car accidents and drownings that resulted.

  19. 19
    KXB says:

    If you asked them to build a bridge, they would just sell bonds whose value would depend on the price of the steel at the time of construction, factoring in the expected completion date of the bridge, and then sell bonds based on the expected toll revenue for the next 99 years. That is financial innovation.

  20. 20
    handsmile says:

    Given the paucity and prejudice of the NYT’s coverage of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest, i would suggest that “In Private, Wall St. Bankers Dismiss Protesters as Unsophisticated,” is the most favorable and unintentionally supportive article that the paper has yet published.

    Its selection of anonymous quotes from aggrieved bankers starkly discloses the sociopathy that the OWS movement has diagnosed.

    What could better legitimate protesters’ demands that the financial services “industry” must be reformed and better regulated than the delusional paranoia, self-grandiosity, and profoundly anti-democratic views revealed by these pampered MotUs. Class warfare, indeed.

  21. 21
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Via George Takei, we have the perfect encapsulation of the 1%er buttback.

  22. 22
    Culture of Truth says:

    Some have harsh words for this man of renown
    But some think our attitude should be one of gratitude
    Like the widows and cripples in old London Town,
    Who owe their large pensions to Wernher Von Braun

  23. 23

    I read that the Occupation in NYC is one month old today.

    Wow. That just about blows my mind, to use an old-fashioned phrase. To grow that much in just a month is amazing.

    The movement is acting like it is a living being, with a will to survive and a drive to grow and multiply.

    [Yeah, I know this sounds like a virus. So?]

  24. 24
    rikryah says:

    If you thought voter suppression was the top GOP priority before, it just got super fast-tracked in the wake of Occupy Together.

    truer words were never written

  25. 25
    hueyplong says:

    These guys sound like Johnny Casper in Miller’s Crossing when he says, “It’s gettin’ so a businessman can’t expect no return from a fixed fight.”

    Their sense of entitlement is boundless.

  26. 26
    catclub says:

    @jrg: Well, the interesting thing is that the central bankers AND the bankers in Europe are even more incompetent than ours. Their capital ratios
    (don’t know exact term) was over thirty when ours were in the teens. Their central bankers are pushing contraction of money when ours is doing a lot ( but not enough) to help the economy.

    It is amazing when you think about it.

  27. 27
    Montysano says:

    I was traveling by car one day last week and had a chance to check in on Limbaugh, Boortz, Beck, Levin, and Hannity. They were all OWS, all the time, pure hyperdrive demonization mode. The nascent indicators of the Left and the Right making common cause around OWS surely scares the shit out of their employers, because as long as We’re at each others’ throats, We’re not at Their throats.

  28. 28
    Montysano says:

    @catclub:

    Their capital ratios (don’t know exact term) was over thirty when ours were in the teens.

    Not exactly. US leverage ratios had been in the 10:1 neighborhood for decades. Hank Paulson went to Congress and asked to have the limits relaxed; they told him to fuck off. He went back again, somewhere around 2004, and asked again, and this time he got his wish. Many of the banks immediately leveraged up to the 30:1 level, “insuring” this insanity with credit default swaps.

    From what I read, when TSHTF in Europe, the CDS cascade will be dramatically worse.

  29. 29
    Xenos says:

    @Corner Stone: The OWS should really screw with the NYPD by becoming completely unpredictable. Pick up and go en masse to three different locations, then to one, then take a day completely off, then streak down Broadway, go visit Philly for an afternoon, and so on. Make news every day by doing something completely unpredictable and newsworthy.

  30. 30
    Ken says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s hard to think of anything easier to outsource than “financial services.”

    Especially since so much of it is automated. High-frequency trading, for example, can’t be done by humans. At some point the financial corporations might notice this, and start shedding extraneous personnel.

  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @Montysano: exact values of ratios, I do not claim knowledge of, but my understanding was that many more big european banks had substantially worse capital ratios than even the worst US banks.

    Was I wrong on that?

  32. 32
    sukabi says:

    @KXB: you forgot the part where they’d secretly set up deals with ‘demolition experts’, and short their own bridge deals… THAT’S where the big money is.

    eta, pretty sure if the public had access to the ‘shorts’ leading up to 9-11 today would look a lot different.

  33. 33
    RSA says:

    “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well.”

    “… and by ‘do it well’ I mean ‘bring in a lot of money to people like me’.”

    One of the most annoying things about the attitude of this “longtime money manager” is the presumption that he’s producing benefits to the system that are proportional to what he’s being paid.

    At best (and I mean in purely theoretical terms) money managers are directing financial resources to smart, creative people who are doing valuable work, so that their companies will succeed and benefit us all. I suspect that on average, though, money managers are just playing the system, shuffling their bets to accumulate the biggest piles of money.

    I once worked for a start-up financed by a big money guy. I once talked with him about my hope that our work could help people in a minor way. He said, “You’ll forget all about that when the first big check comes in.”

  34. 34
    RP says:

    To paraphrase Ralph Wiggum, it’s funny, but not “haha” funny.

  35. 35
    Boots Day says:

    Financial services are really good at bringing in huge sums of money for the employees, but it’s awfully hard to find anything else they’re good for. According to Morningstar, the financials sector is down 22 percent on the year, so these idiots have been watching their firms shrink in value while they’re whining about not getting a half-million dollars a year.

  36. 36
    Skippy-san says:

    Check out the response of the Reformed Broker

    Let me help you out, sir. Finance is one of the things we do terribly in this country, not well. Alan Greenspan’s policies simply created the illusion that we “did finance well” when in reality, what we did well instead was wealth transference. We used inflation as a weapon and permitted the privileged few to gorge on a bloated, overly-financialized economy that was fed with debt growth rather than actual production.”

  37. 37
    jayackroyd says:

    culture of truth, on David Gregory and 999, the Mark of Cain:

    http://bit.ly/nZ1Gan

  38. 38
    Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937 says:

    “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.

    Isn’t this the root of the protest? Gov’t is bought by the one percent and the rest of us aren’t being represented fairly.

  39. 39
    PeakVT says:

    @Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937: Yes, yes it is.

    Those Big Money Boyz are good at the grift and not much else.

  40. 40
    Sophist says:

    “Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager.

    That’s because you have all our fucking money, asshole.

  41. 41
    piratedan says:

    geez, don’t you people understand how the casino works? The house always wins…… but didn’t you have a great time spending your money here? You almost walked away a winner, but except for the free booze and the sleep deprivation….. well, better luck next time!

  42. 42
    harlana says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    [Yeah, I know this sounds like a virus. So?]

    ‘Tis the Virus of Righteousness!

  43. 43
    Brachiator says:

    I can’t think of a better example of how Wall Street works politically, can you?

    This is the way a lot of the Beltway and special interests operate, including unions (and yes, I consider unions mainly good guys). At best you hope for a politician that subscribes to this rule, attributed to the powerful California politician Jesse Unruh:

    “If you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and vote against ‘em anyway, you don’t belong in the Legislature”

    That said, the arrogance and hubris of these Wall Street types is approaching levels not seen since the precursor to the French Revolution.

  44. 44
    gene108 says:

    @Ken:

    Especially since so much of it is automated. High-frequency trading, for example, can’t be done by humans. At some point the financial corporations might notice this, and start shedding extraneous personnel.

    Lay-offs are coming to Wall Street, after thousands of folks got laid off in 2009 and 2010.

    Firms, including Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) and Credit Suisse, have begun a series of quiet layoffs in which employees were told in August that they could retain their salary and title but would not have a job as of Oct. 1, according to two sources who have interviewed prospective employees from these firms.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/1...../index.htm

    The financial services sector is a big employer in NYC. I think the boost in those sorts of jobs, during the 1990’s and 2000’s, is one reason NYC revived itself after struggling in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

    It’d really hurt NYC, as a whole, to lose out on the financial services sector. As much as people wish the bankers would just “jump” or dare them to move out, there are places that are dependent on those jobs.

    Think of it like a factory town or mining town dependent on one industry. If that industry leaves, the town gets screwed for decades.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    “If you can’t take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women, and vote against ‘em anyway, you don’t belong in the Legislature”

    I’ve always hated this quote because it’s so obviously false on its face.
    The first time you “vote against ’em anyway” is the last time you get to screw their women or take their money. And no politician makes a conscious decision to do that.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think so. The politician is going to be there for 2 or 4 or 6 years at a time, voting on all types of stuff that may affect your interests. He/she doesn’t vote for you on Issue A, there’s always Issue B, or C to hopefully bring him/her around.

    You must have a thick skin to be a corporate lobbyist.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The first time you “vote against ‘em anyway” is the last time you get to screw their women or take their money.

    Jesse Unruh and his later disciples, such as Willie Brown, made a career out of beating lobbyists at their own game.

    Some politicians look to be bought, and stay bought. Others walk a fine line. Very few politicians at any level are saints who can ignore the lure of the big bags of money that regularly get thrown around.

    Also, too, from the earliest days of the Republic, we have the example of Alexander Hamilton, who enjoyed the fruits of a supposed honey trap, and still managed to stay honest (even though he didn’t escape suspicion, derision and ridicule).

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @Paul in KY:

    You must have a thick skin to be a corporate lobbyist.

    Corp lobbyists get paid to bring back results. Usually that entails writing the actual legislation itself.
    IMO, there’s never been a “Mr. Smith” in Washington, not in any sense of the modern era.
    And the one thing I think we can agree on about politicians is they like being in power. And they know when they can’t be in power any longer, they like being in the money.
    And IMO they aren’t going to cast votes of any significance that disturbs their ability to do either one.

  49. 49
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator: I’ll go so far as to say I agree there is an exception to the rule, once in a moon.
    But I see the above quote used so much, in such a flagrant disregard for the realities of our current political system that I have just come to despise the quote.

  50. 50
    Lihtox says:

    @Sophist: Exactly. And they don’t even *pay taxes* very well, with their dodges and loopholes.

  51. 51
    Paul in KY says:

    @Corner Stone: Every once in awhile, a politician tries to vote their concience (IMO). That once-in-a-blue-moon situation was what Sen. Unruh was alluding to (IMO).

    I agree that it happens very, very seldomly.

  52. 52
    Ben Cisco says:

    @gene108:

    employees were told in August that they could retain their salary and title but would not have a job as of Oct. 1

    Exactly what the fuck kind of “layoff” is this shit?

  53. 53
    Gex says:

    Wall Street gladly outsource manufacturing. Then they outsourced white collar work. Then they convinced the government that financial service workers needed protections from outsourcing. Then they demand that we thank them for being the only thing America does anymore.

    Fuckers. Jump already.

  54. 54
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    “Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it. If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”

    Imagine two countries.

    One has a really sophisticated financial services sector, but their manufacturing sector is decaying to shit.

    The other has a mediocre financial sector, indeed with even remnents of Communist finance-by-decree in it, but has a vast manufacturing base which is moving up the sophistication ladder in leaps and bounds.

    One of these countries has a future, one doesn’t.

  55. 55
    Rafer Janders says:

    @gene108:

    It’d really hurt NYC, as a whole, to lose out on the financial services sector. As much as people wish the bankers would just “jump” or dare them to move out, there are places that are dependent on those jobs.

    Yes, but…the other side of this argument is that, while the financial services industry helped New York recover in the ’80s and ’90s, at the current time the industry is actually impeding growth, since its high salaries are bidding up the cost of scarce goods and services so much that others can’t afford them. And the high pay isn’t even doing that much good practically for the bankers, since for many costs and services they’re competing against other bankers, so the high pay serves like the competitive bidding at an auction, where the bidding simply drives up the price and thereby impoverishes the eventual auction “winner.” (Example: twenty years ago a banker could buy a tremendous apartment for $1mm. Today that same apartment goes for $5mm. Is the banker better off? No, he’s in the same apartment, he just had to pay more for it. That’s not a lot of positive utility).

    Another example: in the 70s and 80s a young artist/musician/writer/dancer etc. could move to Manhattan, get a not terrible place to live, and start their career. This made New York a cultural hub and thereby enticed a lot of others to move back to the city, so that they could live close to off-Broadway shows, the Mark Morris dance company, poetry readings, CBGBs, dance clubs, etc. But now, with all the downtown lofts occupied by 30 year old bankers, a young artist/musician etc. can’t even get started here, so the arts ndustries are being driven away. At some point a once formerly vibrant downtown will come to resemble the soullessness of the Upper East Side.

    The same thing will apply to the industries of the future, like green tech/clean tech/social media/whatever/etc. Will those industries incubate/headquarter in NY? Not if the rents are too damn high for a start-up to afford to come here, and the rents are too damn high because the bankers have bid them up against each other.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    But I see the above quote used so much, in such a flagrant disregard for the realities of our current political system that I have just come to despise the quote.

    I hear what you are saying, though I am not sure that the current political system is much different than it has ever been.

    @Paul in KY:

    Every once in awhile, a politician tries to vote their conscience (IMO). That once-in-a-blue-moon situation was what Sen. Unruh was alluding to (IMO).

    Jesse Unruh is also famous for saying that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” As Speaker of the California Assembly, and later state treasurer, seems to me that he was clearly talking about how you use power, even against those who think that they can buy your favor. The point is that as long as you have power, the lobbyists and fat cats have to keep coming back.

    And as I also noted, Willie Brown deftly applied these same principles when he was Speaker of the Assembly.

  57. 57
    PeakVT says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: Not only that, but a continent-spanning country of 310 million people just can’t survive on just a financial sector concentrated in one city. For most of these Wall Street types, their country extends from the Hamptons to Stamford to Newark Airport. But that’s just a small part of OUR country, and it needs to work with the rest of us, not against.

  58. 58
    Paul in KY says:

    @Brachiator: Can’t argue with your comments.

  59. 59
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .

    We Need To Buy Better Senators, Sir

    Fortunately, they bought the right president last time.
    .
    .

  60. 60
    Brachiator says:

    @PeakVT:

    Not only that, but a continent-spanning country of 310 million people just can’t survive on just a financial sector concentrated in one city.

    A huge amount of the world’s financial activity is concentrated in New York and the City of London.

    The City is today a major business and financial centre, ranking above New York City as the leading centre of global finance….The City has a resident population of around 10,000, but around 330,000 people work there, mainly in the financial services sector. The legal profession forms a major component of the western side of the City, especially in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas; these are where the Inns of Court are located

    The financial future of billions of people is controlled by a surprisingly small group of people.

  61. 61
    PeakVT says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, it is. That’s good for the players but bad for the rest of us.

  62. 62

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