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What’s Fueling America’s Rage?

Posted by Larry Doyle on November 20, 2009 10:56 AM |

What is fueling America’s populist rage?

Is it the unemployment situation? Is it the volatility in the markets? The weakening greenback? Perhaps the generally perceived level of incompetence amongst our political and corporate leaders? Is it a media that does not hold our public officials and corporate leaders accountable?

While I could write extensively – and I have – on each of these questions, I am firmly convinced the ever increasing levels of populist rage go much deeper than any of these questions. How deep? To the very core of this great nation. What is at the core of any individual, institution, or nation?

Honesty and integrity.

Americans are a strong people. America is a proud land. That said, I believe we have allowed a semblance of moral decay to increasingly infiltrate our very core and we are now paying the price for it. How is this growing moral decay exemplified?

I am not suggesting that those who might hold differing opinions than mine on specific questions addressing ethical and moral topics as being the root of our current problems. I would like to think I am not so narrow-minded or judgmental. I do believe, however, that the rage sweeping our country on both sides of the political aisle stems from the reality that Americans are increasingly convinced that our political representatives, government officials, financial leaders, and their selected constituents have not been honest with America.

This lack of integrity and its growing level of awareness enrages Americans. They are voicing their rage. Congress is starting to hear this rage and is redirecting the anger and frustration toward leaders in Washington, state capitols, and Wall Street. We are now seeing this reality each and every day. America knows a lack of integrity when it sees it or feels it, despite the fact that large swaths of our media (exceptions include Susan Antilla and Jonathan Weil of Bloomberg, to name a few) provide the establishment cover.

Where have we seen a lack of integrity and honesty?

1. Select government reports to the contrary, the massive failings within the financial regulatory structure with specific emphasis on FINRA and the SEC.

2. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s confession just this week that Goldman had engaged in activities that were clearly wrong and led to the economic crisis.

3. I have no doubt that many within our nation believe the Obama administration fundamentally believes in the principle of redistributing wealth via a number of programs. This emphasis on redistribution in one direction while simultaneously bailing out financial institutions leaves a very large percentage of those in the middle and on both sides of the aisle feeling totally disenfranchised. Not only do these people feel disenfranchised, but they feel that the government is not being honest with them regarding its motivations.

Will this situation turn around quickly? No. We did not get here just in the last year. While America is enraged currently, ultimately America itself needs to be held accountable for allowing this lack of integrity and honesty to promulgate over the years.

The cauldron is boiling. Washington and Wall Street feel it. I would expect we will witness more and more statements and acts from our leaders on Wall Street and in Washington to appease the electorate and assuage the rage.

Washington and Wall Street can keep their acts and statements.

Stop lying to America. Only then might we be able to make real progress.


  • Randy Bowman

    Astute comments Larry.. but history suggests that both Washington and Wall Street have been lying to us for decades and if they were to suddenly stop now we would soon be horrified by the underlying truths of what has gone on and what yet continues. Eventually, as mentioned in one of your earlier notes… the truth will bubble up from this morass of lies and half-truths. However, by the time that all happens we will have been royally fleeced of our wealth and our freedoms, all while we sat by and watched it happen.

    The bigger question in my mind is what will the American public really DO about any of this?

    Will we collectively find the courage to stand together and rant and rage so loudly that those in power truly do an about face and take appropriate action? Or will we all talk each other to death and never really bring enough societal pressure to bear on our representatives and thus be left to simply tolerate the continuing financial and moral decay of America until it is all over but the shouting?

    If the choice is to stand up.. just how do we do that? Do we create a national website on the Internet for all citizens to comment into and vote on over the issues facing us? Do we collectively join to acquire a national network? What do we really do? Do we truly have available to us any meaningful nationwide communications tools other than a highly fractionated Internet, that is not already controlled by the Wall Street and Washington handlers?

    We all need to begin deciding right now exactly what steps are necessary to grow and focus our combined public efforts so that we can have a real impact.

    Otherwise, it is nothing more than little pockets of us across the country bitching to each other at how bad things are getting and questioning whatever happened to the honest people we thought we sent to Washington, etc.

    While I am still slightly hopeful, it apparently takes some truly horrendous conditions for the general public to finally get mad as hell and shout out in unison that they are not going to take it any more.

  • Mike

    I like the way you think. Unfortunately there aren’t enough informed people for action to be taken…yet. People are too busy dealing with their own day to day struggles than to read, research, discover and understand the real problems.

    I think once unemployment gets to 25% then there will be a HUGE amount of people that have a vested interest in seeking answers. Then we’ll have riots, public hangings, who knows.

    Once the government truly fears it’s people will there be real change. Maybe all the upcoming 2012 hysteria will lead to some.

  • Larry –

    I discovered your blog this afternoon, and have read it with significant interest. I find many of the things you write about deeply insightful.

    However, where we diverge is the persistent blame directed toward Obama and redistribution of wealth. Let’s be honets here.

    The “redistribution process” began back when Ronald Reagan was President. Income growth has been stagnant in virtually every income category – poor through middle-class – since the early 1980’s. The only segment of income and asset growth has been in the top 3% of income earners. It is no irony that these people also have increased their share of total U.s. assets from approximately 25% to over 40%.

    This is a massive shift in income/assets/political powere. That Obama is doing nothing to stem this tsunami of redistribution of wealth is very disturbing to me – andI voted for him!

    However – and once again, to be perfectly clear – the lions share of that “redistribution” of wealth into the hands of the ultra-wealthy, occurred between 2000 and 2008. Before Wall Street, Halliburton and its KBR subsidiary received untold Billions of $$$ via the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now Obama was not even sworn into office until January of 2009.

    Let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs – on both the Democrats AND Republicans, Bush and Obama.


    • Larry Doyle


      I am glad you found Sense on Cents and I appreciate your comment. I hope you will visit and comment often as I think you will find that I call out people from both sides of the aisle regularly.

      In fact, I would and have said a pox on both their houses often. What I will never do is shill for one party or the other out of blind loyalty. I have none.

      Each and every day I call for truth, transparency, and integrity.

      I believe we need a credible third party.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

    • Larry Doyle


      Additionally, I will never believe it is productive to excessively tax those who have pursued advanced levels of education and worked tremendously hard to improve their lot in life so as to redistribute their income. That to me is not and never has been America.

      Do not confuse the positive nature of help and support with the economically destructive nature of redistribution.

  • TeakWoodKite

    Comme la grenouille meurt lentement dans l’eau bouillante,
    Il se sent à l’abri des caprices d’un monde vide de l’honnêteté et l’intégrité;

    • Always Learning

      Very metaphorical, Teak. I like it!

  • coe

    LD – That I share your point of view is not a surprise. Yet I do agree with Randy’s comment – sort of an accusation to the American people that “You can’t handle the truth”. It is simply easier to hope and trust that with a little time all will be just like it was when things were good (though for some, things were never really all that good). But, to me, the truth is that life, the world scene, technology, and the global economy have grown increasingly more complex. We, as a nation, have indeed squandered our “lead”, if you will, and in not recognizing the signals early enough, we find ourselves in a very difficult spot. To Obama’s credit, he seemed to offer a change and a new direction and energy. But two things seem to be happening in my opinion – first, he didn’t really identify and prioritize the issues clearly, and even if one happens to believe he did, he seems to be calling the wrong plays; and second, good intentions and sweeping rhetoric do not constitute real leadership and frankly, it doesn’t get it done. The fact that his sidekicks are partisan and mediocre (to be charitable), that the Congress is even moreso, and that the media, the municipalities, the educational leaders, the business titans, the entertainment industry, the health care octopus, and the judicial and legal systems tend to promulgate their own selfish and misguided agendas really serves as no help. At the end of the day, LD, don’t you think that the turnaround has to start in each of us individually?

    I hope Randy is wrong in that it may well take even more horrendous conditions to galvanize the people in a wake-up call. It is indeed way past time to be honest, to treat each other with charity and kindness, to upgrade our community sensibilities, and to demand more of our “leaders” – whether the field is politics, journalism, business, religion, or education. But, as with many real core values that form the ethos of a people, it has to start with the individual and the family! That’s what I am talking about – though I am often wrong as my wife and children tend to point out. Keep things real, LD, and all of us informed and fired up – STR

    • Larry Doyle

      Coe….there is no doubt it takes each individual and each family unit to galvanize their own will, spirit, and determination and then spread the same. It’s always easy to assume somebody else will do it, but we need to look inward as we look outward.

      America certainly has the capabilities and a charitable spirit to improve our current lot, BUT we need to raise our collective game, become more informed, and voice our opinions LOUDLY.

      Thanks for the inspiration and support.

      I hope others will get on board.

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  • Bill

    Most of the public seems incapable of dealing with the truth. Beyond that, any public official who attempts to tell the truth is eviscerated with the complicity of what passes for the media. Social security and Medicare are two prime examples. Can you spell “unsustainable?” Yet people don’t want to hear that. When SS was first proposed in 1935 actuaries informed FDR and others it would be insolvent by 1980, which of course was dead on accurate. The solution of the pols from both parties was to fashion the world’s greatest Ponzi scheme. As long as the public is gullible enough to fall for those ploys things will not get any better in this country.

    Obama stood up there and said we’ve all lived beyond out means. Well, there are a lot of us who haven’t, but we get to pick up the tab for the rest of the jokers he was talking about, which probably make up most of his constituency.

  • Donnie

    LD A third party is not the answer.What we need to do is get rid of all the partys and have the canidate run on his or her own merit.Maybe then we can get this mess turned around.I still believe there are good people in congress and should not be told how to vote by the “party” but what is right for the country.How’s that for a dream?

  • Larry Doyle


    Wouldn’t that be ideal? Where are the real statesmen who wouldn’t have it any other way? Regrettably, we are left with a bunch of oink, oink..or in the spirit of the season perhaps I should say, gobble gobble.

  • Michelle

    I’m Working on An Article Working in America !

    Many People are Getting Fed Up! With Low Pay, Cut Hours, and Some Company are using a lot CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL Tricks
    to get out of paying unemployment and getting away with.

    More people are become more in rage with the unemployment and I think in time more people will start to take a stand and not take no more!

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