Wall Street owns Washington, D.C. And if you don’t believe it, catch Charles Ferguson’s new film, “Inside Job.” It’s the most frightening movie ever made.
According to Ferguson’s views, it all began on Sept. 15, 2008, when Wall Street annihilated the world’s economy at a cost of $20 trillion. Millions of people lost their jobs and homes. And the criminals who were responsible awarded themselves billions of taxpayers’ dollars after President George W. Bush bailed them out.
The scaling back of government regulation on banking activity began under President Ronald Reagan and continued under subsequent presidencies (including Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) until the catastrophic collapse. The cooking of the books had a profuse aroma, but any intrusion into the kitchen of corruption was basically prohibited; the largest global Ponzi scheme flourished while the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) was reduced to a single employee.
Ferguson (“No End in Sight”) documents (while Matt Damon narrates) the events, which led up to the crash with volumes of interviews and comprehensive explanations. It goes beyond Roger Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” in that terminology (i.e. “derivatives,” “predatory loans,” “sub-prime mortgages,” and “bubbles”) and complex information are more easily deciphered.
“Inside Job” begins in spectacularly scenic Iceland, where a long-standing strong economy is destroyed by severe deregulation of the banking system. It was an ignored omen of the financial tsunami that was about to hit the United States and, ultimately, the world. Sadly, its perpetrators hurt those who could least afford it, the poor and middle class.
Some of the architects complicit in the meltdown are now teaching at major universities such as Harvard and Columbia. Some are employed by the current administration (i.e. Bernanke, Geitner and Paulson). It’s as though Wall Street is above approach and it’s business as usual.
Ferguson points out that the madness needs to stop (check out “What Can I Do?” on Facebook). “Inside Job” is a head shaker that will leave audiences enlightened and enraged. Hopefully, it will inspire all of us to do something about bringing these thieves to justice and keep a watchful eye on their successors.
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.