From Wall Street to...kill me now

We've heard it from all the politicians. We've heard it from all the pundits, columnists and bloggers. All of them. At some undetermined point it became the big phrase and now everybody, EVERYYYYYYYBODY, is saying it, as if they had no other choice. If I hear one person, one more person, say, "FROM MAIN STREET TO WALL STREET," I am going to throw myself from a bridge 1929-stock-market-collapse-style. Press Secretary Dana Perino: "The cold on Wall Street could infect Main Street."I could go on forever, with endless examples, but I will not. In fact, moments ago I pasted in a heap of examples from far and wide, links included, but then I came to my senses and deleted it.I have noticed that, rather than devoting much attention to explaining the federal bailout plan, the media have simplified it, in almost every story told by them and the politicians they amplify, to this: $700 billion to save our financial institutions, so that Wall Street's collapse doesn't crush Main Street. Rather than attempting, even superficially, to explain the bailout plan (pundits and politicians have long since given up on the notion that we average Joe Assholes can understand much of anything), the media have focused almost solely on the wrangling on Capitol Hill. A fight. Something we can comprehend. This is, undoubtedly an important part of the story. Will the plan pass through Congress? Will it not pass? But, with the exception of a couple of simplified tidbits that have been repeated over and over-Democrats want less money for CEOs, conservative Republicans don't like federal regulation-what they're wrangling over goes unexplained.Still, Friday night, as I turned on the presidential debate, I had hoped against hope, down in the deepest of the deep, that the politicians and the media had to have, if nothing else, ejaculated the Main Street/Wall Street comparison from their systems by now and moved onto the next catchphrase meant to help us simple working folk understand these complex times. Within seconds of his first response, of course, Sen. Obama said it: "Although we've heard a lot about Wall Street," (Oh no! Don't do it! There's still a way out!) "those of you on Main Street, I think, have been struggling for a while:" Please, Sen. McCain, you can have my vote if you just spare me. We've already heard it once. "We're not talking about failure of institutions on Wall Street. We're talking about failures on Main Street:" Take me to [200 Maine Street][1]. I'm checking in. [1]: http://www.bertnash.org/

Comments

13 years, 8 months ago

"rather than devoting much attention to explaining the federal bailout plan, the media have simplified it..."In all fairness to the media, it is very difficult to explain a plan that will not really exist until the negotiations are finished. Paulson's "plan" was really just an opening bargaining position which may have very little relation to whatever plan is actually implemented.What I'd like them to explain is how this $700 billion is supposed to solve the problem that the last $700 billion didn't solve.And then what's next?http://www.cnbc.com/id/26885559

alm77 13 years, 8 months ago

At least they stopped saying "under the bus"...

measles 13 years, 8 months ago

Here's the explaination: Wall street f-ed up, so let's give them $700 billion dollars that (sorry, I have to do it) Main street will have to pay back simply to postpone (not prevent) the economic disasater at hand. Doesn't anybody remember history well enough to know that Joe Asshole was the one who had to load up all his belongings onto the back of his Model-T pickup truck and haul it across the country looking for work, while the fat cats on Wall Street maybe had to settle for one scoop of caviar instead of two with their morning ostrich egg? The markets will crash, and we will suffer, moreso with that $700 billion dollar debt on our backs, while Wall Street men and CEOs will be partying like it's 1929. The reason they don't explain this more clearly is because, well...it would really kind of make them look like a bunch of jerks.

measles 13 years, 8 months ago

Here's the explanation: Wall street f-ed up, so let's give them $700 billion dollars that (sorry, I have to do it) Main street will have to pay back simply to postpone (not prevent) the economic disasater at hand. Doesn't anybody remember history well enough to know that Joe Asshole was the one who had to load up all his belongings onto the back of his Model-T pickup truck and haul it across the country looking for work, while the fat cats on Wall Street maybe had to settle for one scoop of caviar instead of two with their morning ostrich egg? The markets will crash, and we will suffer, moreso with that $700 billion dollar debt on our backs, while Wall Street men and CEOs will be partying like it's 1929. The reason they don't explain this more clearly is because, well...it would really kind of make them look like a bunch of jerks.

DOTDOT 13 years, 8 months ago

And I wouldn't mind hearing the word "rescue" bandied about so much if the current president didn't pronounce it "reschew."But that's just me.

frankt 13 years, 8 months ago

Borak, yeah, I'm sure it's not easy for anyone--politicians, the media or financial experts--to explain this stuff, especially since many of them may not understand it. Maybe what makes me mad isn't even the lack of an explanation; it's the dumbed-down, sort of condescending terminology that's often used. Often I get the feeling that, when people talk about "middle America," what they mean to say is "the stupid masses." And when you read those polls that sometimes pop up on how dumb Americans are getting ("Americans only read one book per year and don't know their ABCs," or whatever), it seems to verify that the masses, are, in fact, are as stupid as it has become popular to believe. But when I think of the people I actually know (some of whom don't read one book per year and are more or less uninformed of the news, but are certainly NOT stupid), who actually fits the prototype of the person they're trying to reach? Pandering to the perceived lowest common denominator with vapid, condescending phrases like "from Wall Street to Main Street" helps create an uninformed public. I know we've all heard this before a million times. But what's sad is the reason the media, politicians, etc. do this isn't some overarching plot to keep the masses dumb and easy to manipulate, it's that they think we simply are too stupid to even try to attempt to explain something in a substantive--and, maybe, complicated--way.

13 years, 8 months ago

Frank: "Maybe what makes me mad isn't even the lack of an explanation; it's the dumbed-down, sort of condescending terminology that's often used"I don't disagree, not a bit. I hate sloganeering. On the other hand, even though Congress' approval rating is lower than Bush's, 90-some percent of congresscritters will be re-elected this fall*. On the third hand, I think the major reason politicians speak simply is because they themselves do not understand. They speak to us as simpletons because they are simpletons and speak to us in slogans because they think in slogans. I would venture that very few of them truly grasp the theory behind the bailout. They are smart enough to know that whatever happens, they need to be seen doing something - the American public will not forgive someone who didn't try - but they are no smarter.Measles: you are correct that $700b buys nothing but time and precious little of that. In order to avoid giving alm nightmares of Rabbit Stew, I'll leave it there.* Those numbers prove that someone around here is incompetent, and I sure hope to God it's not me. what was it Harry S said about a one-armed economist?

DOTDOT 13 years, 8 months ago

Does this mean I should stop expecting more stimulus checks?

smerdyakov 13 years, 8 months ago

Look out Main Street!Breaking News 2:14 PM ET:House Rejects Bailout Plan, 228-205; Leadership Plans Second Attempt to Pass Bill

13 years, 8 months ago

Sure, our representatives will have to keep voting until they give leadership the correct answer. But in the meantime, who needs a law when you have this:Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The Federal Reserve will pump an additional $630 billion into the global financial system, flooding banks with cash to alleviate the worst banking crisis since the Great Depression. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aD8ILDu0nEkE&refer=news

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