A Letter – And a Challenge – To An Anonymous Wall Street Whiner
By Richard (RJ) Eskow
May 3, 2010
An anonymous email’s been making the rounds on Wall Street from some loser
who thinks he’s a shark. It’s a nasty piece of work that reveals the
mentality of the people that have been running our economy for some
time, thanks to deregulation and political influence peddling. We
caught a glimpse of that mentality in Goldman Sachs’ testimony last
week. But even though they seemed pretty odious to the public, the
Goldman Sachs boys actually had their "play nice" faces on.
This email takes off the mask. It reveals the psychology of Wall
Street in its rawest form. If it didn’t it wouldn’t have gone viral so
quickly, being passed all around the Street by brokers satisfied that
someone is finally telling "Joe Mainstreet" what superior human beings –
what ubermenschen – brokers really are.
We’ve responded, below, and we’re offering a challenge to the author:
We’ll debate you anytime.
Why go after this loser? Because he’s the real face of Lloyd
Blankfein. He’s Robert Rubin’s Id. He’s Jamie Dimon’s Picture of
Dorian Gray. He’s Alan Greenspan, too. He’s the inner monologue, the
true voice of everyone who offers supposedly "rational" arguments for
the perpetuation of a runaway Wall Street kleptocracy. Oh, Mr. Wall
Street? Show yourself. If you think you’re right, have the guts to
come out in the open and fight.
Dear Privileged Recipient of Public Largesse:
I’ve read your email, and let’s get this out of the way first: The
only thing worse than a spoiled, self-satisfied brat is a whiny,
spoiled, self-satisfied brat. Why are you spoiled? Because you’re only
successful thanks to the indulgence of the American public, which for
too long has allowed its leaders to cut you one break after another in
return for fat cash and cushy jobs when they retire. Without that you’d
have failed a long time ago.
Know what, hot shot? You’re no shark. You’re a pet goldfish who would
die and float belly up at the top of the tank without politicians to
protect you and taxpayers to bail you out. Think I’m wrong? Come out
and face any of the dozens of well-informed people who know you’re
wrong. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m available. Anyway,
anyhow, anywhere, as the old Who song goes.
You know the real reason you’re so angry? Because the public’s
starting to figure you out and it scares you. Good. You should be
scared. Your easy life of privilege is coming to an end. If this
year’s reforms don’t end it, a whole lot of people will keep working to
make sure that next year’s will. The tide is turning.
"It’s our job to make money," you said. "Whether it’s a commodity
… or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter." You
know why it doesn’t matter to you whether what you’re selling is
fake? Because you’re a criminal at heart. Only larcenists have such an
amoral indifference to the idea that they might be selling phony goods.
You know that guy selling bootleg DVDs on the corner of Pine and
William, the one you pass everyday on the way to work? The only reason
you’re wearing Cole Haans and he’s not is an accident of birth. You’re
both peddling fake goods. Chances are you’re worse than him morally,
because you probably had more choices.
You talk big. You claim that Main Street Americans will "hurt
themselves " if they "take you down." Here’s what you said: "What’s
going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? We’ll
Take America’s jobs? You? You don’t have what it takes. Where are
you going to work, a warehouse? You don’t have the tenacity to stack
hardware onto pallets in a warehouse for twelve hours a day. Without
some fast-money grifter buzz to keep you juiced you’d fold like a stack
of wet Post-It notes.
"We get up at 5 am and work till 10 pm … we don’t take an hour or
more for a lunch break … we don’t demand a union. We don’t retire at
50 with a pension." Actually, pretty much nobody does anymore, but
we’ve already established how out of touch you are.
"We’re going to take your cushy jobs with tenure and 4 months off a
year and whine just like you that we are so-oo-oo underpaid for building
the youth of America." Oh, please. You couldn’t handle being a
teacher. You don’t have what it takes. You couldn’t face a classroom
of inner city kids for fifteen minutes without getting the shakes.
You’d be craving a double gin and tonic and a few hits of chronic by
recess just to steady your nerves. Those kids would break you.
Think you’re tough? You couldn’t drive a cop car around Detroit for
eight hours on the night shift, either. All you guys – like the ones
from Morgan Stanley who’d brag that they "ripped the face off" their own
client by selling him phony goods – all of you would quake in your
Ferragamos at the sight of real danger. You’d burst into tears of
terror and boredom before the stroke of midnight.
You gonna work in a hospital? You don’t have the courage to dress
the wounds and wipe the butts of dying children. You’d fold in less time
than it takes to tip the delivery boy when he delivers your Turnbull
and Asser shirts from the drycleaner. The only blood and feces you can
handle are in the derivatives you sold to America’s struggling cities.
"We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your
dinner plates, we’ll eat that." The truth is, you don’t kill
anything. The American government softens your prey up for the kill,
and then you come in for the easy pickings. If you really had to kill
what you eat – without cheating involved – you’d starve to death. You
think you’ve got a competitive advantage? Newsflash: Lying isn’t a
competitive advantage – unless you’re working in a criminal enterprise.
And skipping lunch or dinner doesn’t make you a harder worker. It
just makes you somebody who really, really enjoys stealing. It makes
you somebody who gets an adrenaline rush from cheating people. You
think that makes you smarter than them, but every cheap grifter since
the Dawn of Time has felt that way.
Sure, there are some people working downtown who can compete on a
level playing field. There are people who don’t depend on legalized
gambling with government-backed "losers’ insurance" to make a living.
But not you. That’s why you – and the lobbyists and politicians who
work for you – are struggling so hard to prevent change.
You talk tough, but the truth is you’re running scared. Those beads
of perspiration on your forehead aren’t from hard work. They’re flop
sweat. You can’t cut it out here where the rest of us live, and you
I’ve got bad news, pal: We’ve carried you long enough. We’re
cutting you loose. We’re leaving you and your friends to face the awful
truth of who and what you really are: Government-subsidized losers.
Get a life. Or don’t bother. Just stand there and watch while we
take your unfair advantages and your legalized theft away from you. If
we don’t succeed this year, we’ll do it next year. Then you’ll have
to get a life. And you know what? You’re in for a nasty shock. Fact
is, when it comes to being a contributing member of society, you don’t
have what it takes. Honest working people have nothing to fear from
you. Their jobs are safe.
But that guy down on the corner selling phony DVDs? He’s the one who
should be worried. You guys are in the same line of business, after all.
And you probably have less scruples than he does.
Think I’m wrong? Think I’m being unfair? Think you can back up your
talk? Fine. Come out in the open and we’ll talk about it. Like I
said: Anyhow, anyway, anywhere. Some of us aren’t afraid of hard work
or seemingly impossible challenges. We’d even be willing to try
making a decent human being out of you.