Adding much insult to injury

The one per cent and their cheerleaders are trying to rewrite history.

The one per cent and their cheerleaders are trying to rewrite history by denying that fraud by Wall Street companies was the direct cause of the financial meltdown of 2008. Now the message being put out is that criticism of Wall Street billionaires is just jealousy, and the laziness of the 99 per cent is the cause of the troubles. I have seen this disingenuous nonsense in right wing opinion columns and on Facebook, and I find it disgusting. The facts are clear, trying to blame the victims of their machinations for their crimes is just adding insult to injury.

Lest we forget, the sorry tale of Wall Street greed and duplicity went something like this. Financial companies in the US deliberately sold mortgages to people who obviously would not be able to keep up the payments. They then bundled these “sub-prime” mortgages with other credit defaults and sold them to unsuspecting clients as investments. The famous rating agency Standard and Poor gave this financial trash, which was very deliberately designed to fail, a triple A rating. Without telling their investors any of this, which is where the fraud comes in, financial corporations then took out insurance on these doomed investments to the tune of billions of dollars.

When the crash came, hedge fund managers made phenomenal profits, one individual making $3.7 billion in one year. This earned him the praise and adulation of financial columnists, who apparently do not consider it matters that this whole exercise put millions of people out of work and/or out of their homes. And though you or I would appear in court if we stole a few items from a store, not one perpetrator of the biggest swindle in history has been charged with anything. On the contrary, the corporations were bailed out by taxpayer money and no significant changes were subsequently made to the laws that made possible a lot of the wreckage done to the economy. Out-of-court settlements are being made in which the corporations do not have to admit guilt and get off with minimal fines. These fines will be paid by their share-holders — that’s some of the people they ripped off in the first place.

This is what inspired Occupy Wall Street. More generally, the protest is about the legal system being thoroughly rigged to favour the ultra-rich at the expense of the other 99 per cent of us. It is no answer that we all have the opportunity to be rich if we want, because rich people are not the only people who count. We all deserve equal fairness, dignity and respect, but the current system is not interested in this. Thousands die and suffer because of wars and financial trickery that enriches the already uber-rich, and governments and the corporations work hand in hand to carry this out. It has to change, and the Occupy movement is currently our biggest hope that it will.

Keith Newberry

Slocan

 

Just Posted

October is Plastic Free Month in Nelson

City will examine its own plastic use and encourage public to do the same

Don Currie, local athletes win medal haul at 55-plus B.C. Games

Slocan’s Currie took home seven gold medals in track and field

Local runners tackle Toad Mountain

The 25 kilometre and 50 km event took runners over the top of Toad Mountain

Leafs fall 5-1 to Thunder Cats

Nelson is winless through its first two games

Disability employment awareness month: open house and inclusive employer award

Events take place in Nelson and Castlegar this week

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Nanaimo RCMP officer ‘walks on water’ to rescue lost camper

66-year-old assisted earlier this month by Mounties who can seemingly work miracles

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

20 day search for missing Labradoodle in Princeton, B.C. ends with tears of joy

The search brought out bloodhounds, and groups hoping to find Mordy

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, expert says

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

Most Read