It makes a lot of Americans insane that Wall Street execs are paying themselves gazillions in bonuses, even as they demolish their own firms and the financial system. They blame Wall Street for the financial crisis.
Then there are others who have a different explanation.
Rick Santelli, former bond trader and now CNBC reporter. The highlight is 0:59-1:20.
(Link to video here)
It's worth hearing for yourself, but here's the punchline: "ask anyone here if they want to pay for the mortgage of their neighbor with the extra bath, who can't afford the house."
Let's leave aside whether he is right or wrong. I sympathize with his perspective, though it's evident he thinks America is stronger than I think it is, he thinks it could recover without any government aid, he thinks people will just buckle down and ride it out like they did the last Depression. I disagree, I think they get guns.
Let's leave that aside. What you need to observe is that his sentiment, shared by millions and millions of people, has the same fervor and anger as the "put the Wall Street bastards in jail" camp. You just don't hear about it very much.
Note also that he isn't angry at the government only, he's angry at other Americans. While there are millions of people who think their government and capitalism have failed them, he's speaking for the millions who think those people are the problem.
These are personal attacks about American against American, this is a new level of divisiveness.
Santelli knows enough about the stimulus package to criticize it on its merits, but what infuriates him is its symbolic meaning, a la Atlas Shrugged, that he's responsible to pay for his fellow Americans simply because he has the money.
On the other side, today you have South Carolina Representative James Clyburn saying that opposition to the stimulus package is a "slap in the face of African-Americans." What he doesn't realize is that saying it that way doesn't make people support the stimulus, it makes people resent African-Americans.
Maybe the best thing Obama could do is move as far to the left as possible. He will never be centrist enough, and certainly not rightward enough, to satisfy the Right. And he'll meanwhile infuriate the Obamaniacs who won't be able to recall if they were voting for Hope or Change.
But a prudent person will be less concerned with picking a side, and more concerned that sides are being picked.
Class warfare is back in earnest.
He calls for a Chicago Tea Party (he and the CBOE are in Chicago.) Before you jump with him or on him, a history lesson: the Boston Tea Party wasn't a protest about the British raising taxes on tea; they were protesting the reduction of the tax on tea, which meant the East India Company tea was even cheaper than the smuggled tea provided by wealthy colonists.
The British were using a low tax to seduce the colonists. Would colonists accept British rule-- the right to set taxes-- if it got them cheaper tea? Samuel Adams hadn't read the Grand Inquisitor but he heard about it. They dumped the tea before anyone had a chance to say the words that destroy civilizations: please take away our freedom, it's a small price to pay.