For those of you who do not spend your waking hours prowling the blogs and newspapers (e.g. those of you with jobs) I thought I would summarize what I have learned lately.
1) The rich people who (used to) work on Wall Street are morons. Completely incompetent. All of them. “These people are idiots.” says Claire McCaskill, and she’s a senator, so she knows about groups of idiots.
2) Until recently, the idiots who worked on Wall Street, who most Americans associated only with making great piles of money without apparently doing anything useful, were nevertheless loved and trusted by all. There was never any envy or animosity. All that has changed now. “America doesn’t trust you anymore.” said Rep. Mike Capuano (D – MA) to a panel of Wall Street CEOs. And members of congress know a thing or two about not being trusted by America.
3) The really rich people who (used to) run Wall Street are particularly clueless. For years, they paid thousands of somewhat less rich people more than a million dollars a year because it amused them. Sorta like how some babies like watching mobiles. Obviously (see #1) there was nothing special about these workers, so they could have paid them a lot less. Now that the government is in charge, these banks will be run to maximize profit, so they will no longer pay anybody more than $500K a year. That’s not a bad salary for an idiot. Believe me, I know. It’s not like these people could just walk out and spin money for another employer or start a hedge fund or something. They’re idiots.
4) In these stressful times, comic relief is important for all of us, and what could be funnier than laughing at idiots? The New York Times has been making the most of this, with articles and opinion pieces that maximize the Wall Street idiot hilarity. Two weeks ago it was a side-splitting piece about how hard it is to live on $500K in NYC. Today we get one on what happens when the “Rituals of the Rich Meet the Realities of the Economy.” It turns out that those idiots indulge in such obscure rites as having their so-called “suits” put through a process called “dry cleaning.” Apparently, they still practice this behavior, but less often, much to the relief of the staff at Manhattan dry cleaners, who now have more time for reading and other hobbies.
5) Meanwhile, rich people outside Manhattan continue to reaffirm our faith in their judgement. A British bank, Barclays (not one cent of TARP money!) has introduced a Visa Black Card. For a modest $495 a year a person carrying this card will not only be able to buy all those things that a Visa card can buy, but will also get “24-Hour Concierge Service.” And the card itself is made of a carbon graphite substance, meaning it’s not mere plastic but really expensive plastic.