Perhaps the most visible social mood trend today is the extreme backlash against Wall Street by “Main Street”. If you want to rally someone on your side at a cocktail party – provided you are anywhere but New York City – a sharp comment denouncing Goldman Sachs will probably win you a sympathetic friend!
We believe this trend will intensify in the years ahead, as people look for a whipping boy as the bear market sets in. It’s interesting that even with markets rallying 60%, the mood against Wall Street is as intense as ever. We don’t look at this as a matter of right and wrong, it’s just the way social mood works – the heroes of the previous bull market are tarred and feathered by angry villagers looking for someone to blame.
As you may expect, Wall Street is not taking this lying down. Courtesy of a couple of good friends at prominent Wall Street firms, here’s an email that’s circulating around today:
“We are Wall Street. It’s our job to make money. Whether it’s a commodity, stock, bond, or some hypothetical piece of fake paper, it doesn’t matter. We would trade baseball cards if it were profitable. I didn’t hear America complaining when the market was roaring to 14,000 and everyone’s 401k doubled every 3 years. Just like gambling, its not a problem until you lose. I’ve never heard of anyone going to Gamblers Anonymous because they won too much in Vegas.
Well now the market crapped out, & even though it has come back somewhat, the government and the average Joes are still looking for a scapegoat. God knows there has to be one for everything. Well, here we are.
Go ahead and continue to take us down, but you’re only going to hurt yourselves. What’s going to happen when we can’t find jobs on the Street anymore? Guess what: We’re going to take yours. We get up at 5am & work till 10pm or later. We’re used to not getting up to pee when we have a position. 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. We eat what we kill, and when the only thing left to eat is on your dinner plates, we’ll eat that.
For years teachers and other unionized labor have had us fooled. We were too busy working to notice. Do you really think that we are incapable of teaching 3rd graders and doing landscaping? 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-o-o-o underpaid for building the youth of America. Say goodbye to your overtime and double time and a half. I’ll be hitting grounders to the high school baseball team for $5k extra a summer, thank you very much.
So now that we’re going to be making $85k a year without upside, Joe Mainstreet is going to have his revenge, right? Wrong! Guess what: we’re going to stop buying the new 80k car, we aren’t going to leave the 35 percent tip at our business dinners anymore. No more free rides on our backs. We’re going to landscape our own back yards, wash our cars with a garden hose in our driveways. Our money was your money. You spent it. When our money dries up, so does yours.
The difference is, you lived off of it, we rejoiced in it. The Obama administration and the Democratic National Committee might get their way and knock us off the top of the pyramid, but it’s really going to hurt like hell for them when our fat a**es land directly on the middle class of America and knock them to the bottom.
We aren’t dinosaurs. We are smarter and more vicious than that, and we are going to survive. The question is, now that Obama & his administration are making Joe Mainstreet our food supply…will he? and will they care?”
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein felt this backlash coming on strong nearly a year ago, when he sent out an internal memo to Goldman Sachs employees advising them to shut their yappers and be humble. Bear markets are treacherous times for the rich and powerful – whether deserved or not, they become targets as the masses look to vent their increasing frustration!
UPDATE: Astute reader Marc made an excellent comparison with Colonel Nathan Jessup’s rant from A Few Good Men! Judge for yourself…