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Wall Street vs Main Street: The Great Divide Widens

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 4, 2009 8:01 AM |

Please rank the following professions in terms of commanding respect:

1. used car salesmen
2. lawyers
3. Wall Street
4. dog catchers
5. burglars
6. politicians

Plenty could argue that dog catchers would command the most respect, with burglars a distant second. How so? At least you know exactly what their intentions are, admirable or not, and manage accordingly.

With all due respect to quality individuals in the other professions, those industries as a whole have always suffered from a very poor public perception.

Moving to the fully serious part of my writing this morning, I would venture to say that the chasm which has always existed between Wall Street and Main Street has never been wider and is widening by the day. How so?

I am being inundated regularly with comments and questions as to whether the market is truly representative of the fundamentals in the underlying economy. Others have asked me how an industry that is supposedly once again making sizable profits can shamelessly impose credit card rates of upwards of 30%!!

It is my sense that the American consumer and investor feels woefully neglected at this point in our country’s history. As such, I have little doubt that many people have exited the markets with the intention of NEVER returning.

I would not pretend that I can appreciate the level of anxiety and disgust of everybody in our country today, but I share your contempt for a crowd both in Washington and on Wall Street that has done little to nothing to protect your interests.

This contempt welled up this morning as I read The Wall Street Journal’s, Geithner Vents at Regulators as Overhaul Stumbles:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner blasted top U.S. financial regulators in an expletive-laced critique last Friday as frustration grows over the Obama administration’s faltering plan to overhaul U.S. financial regulation, according to people familiar with the meeting.

The proposed regulatory revamp is one of President Barack Obama’s top domestic priorities. But since it was unveiled in June, the plan has been criticized by the financial-services industry, as well as by financial regulators wary of encroachment on their turf.

While I could wax poetic on the topic of regulatory reform, I will abbreviate my remarks with a very succinct and direct statement: “THESE PEOPLE DON’T GET IT!”

The fact remains, “Future Financial Regulation: Not a Question of Sufficiency, but of Transparency and Integrity.”

Does the American public understand how thay have been abused by both their political and banking representatives? I strongly believe they are gaining a greater awareness of this phenomena every day.

In coming full circle, my respect rankings from top to bottom would be:

1. dog catcher
2. burglars (at least you know their intentions)
3. used car salesmen
4. lawyers
tie for 6th between politicians and Wall Street

How about you? Please share your thoughts and rankings!!


  • Larry –

    With regards to the fundamental economy, how is it that consumer spending can increase 0.4% when personal incomes fell 1.3%??? Is that curious to you? The only explanation I can think of for this is that people are spending more with their credit cards.


    • Aaron Kramer

      Matt there are only three ways spending increases with falling demand. Those who make more than the average worker in the sample spend their additional income. The spenders are depleting their savings or they buy on credit. I also believe that there are some seasonal adjustments the the BLS uses to smooth these numbers.

  • Joe6Pack Investor

    I agree with the tone of your writing. Knowing that thos with money/power control government policy versus those that have the money/power being overt in their manipulation of government policies without the appearance fairness is what keeps consumers (like myself) clinging and clinching, in closed fists, to what dollars we have left . . .

  • Pip Daddy

    My used car salesman stole more money from me than a burglar!!

  • kbdabear

    Who’s doing the spending?

    Not the taxpayer, according to this article

    WASHINGTON – The recession is starving the government of tax revenue, just as the president and Congress are piling a major expansion of health care and other programs on the nation’s plate and struggling to find money to pay the tab.

    The numbers could hardly be more stark: Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion.

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