(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
This mainstream German magazine Der Spiegel in their December 30th issue, tell us that Wall Street banksters committed nothing short of a monumental insider bank robbery, which is responsible for victims like Pam Brown who has become the face of America's nouveau poor and hungry in the minds of the Spiegel's vast readership within the European Union.
The Spiegel's article also tells us that America's has a short memory. Barely 2 years after the market crashed, Wall Street is in the process of creating a second crash by speculating just as shamelessly as they did before. The Spiegel article suggests this maybe happening because there were no criminal prosecutions ever brought. Therefore it looks like the Wall Street banksters are going to do this again.
To which this diary asks, how many more times do you want to bail out Wall Street? How much longer do the bread lines have to get, how many more millions have to lose their homes? Is 59 million without medical insurance enough? When will America say no to Wall Street and yes to Main Street European style social safety net?
As an American expat who holds an M.B.A. degree, living in the European Union, I've started to see America's economy from a different perspective.
I can honestly say that at least the mainstream European press isn't in league with the American plutocrat owned media. It is from this vantage point that this review seeks to interpret the German magazine Spiegel's ongoing series last published December 30th 2010 of the American empire in decline. Unlike the American mainstream media, the chorus from the European mainstream press of which the Spiegel represents, comes close to calling for the criminal prosecution of the Wall Street banksters. Europeans are already referring to this as a 'monumental insider bank robbery'.
(Quote from Der Spiegel: "From Wall Street to be thrown onto the street")
"Brown used to work as an executive secretary on Wall Street with an annual salary of $80,000. Then the financial crisis robbed her of her job. Since the beginning of 2009 she has been unemployed. She fell through the US social safety net which is full of holes, through to the very edge of poverty itself, and only through luck was able to avoid homelessness.
Still in a state of shock, she said, "overnight I again found myself on the wrong side of the tracks in life". For untold millions of Americans the year 2010 unexpectedly became the year of the nouveau poor. Nobody really cared about her. She was passed from one welfare office to another, only to be turned down by social workers. Her story of suffering didn't fit into the success story of Wall Street, which in 2010 slowly recovered from the crisis of the century."
(Block quote based on writer's paraphrased interpretation of German text of the magazine Spiegel December 30th 2010 issue)
The Spiegel magazine's humane treatment in putting a human face on the victims of Wall Street, in this case the face of Pam Brown, on the excesses of Wall Street now asks an important new question, is Pam Brown and the millions of American taxpayers like her all across America also the victims of a Wall Street criminal conspiracy? Let's ask ourselves who benefits from the weak American social safety net? Who profits from the taxpayer Wall Street bailout? What type of morality is promulgated here? When the American criminal justice system sits on its hands and does nothing, in what the Spiegel correctly characterizes as a "monumental insider bank robbery'. Instead of criminally prosecuting the masterminds of this conspiracy to defraud the American working class taxpayers and investors, they settle on defendants that maybe characterized as the copycat, Bernie Madoff wannabe small fish as a substitute. For students of literature, this is some how all reminiscent of German playwright Bertolt Brecht in his Three Penny Opera wherein the robbers bought a bank because they could make more money through the legal theft of the bank.
(Quote from Der Spiegel: "From Wall Street to be thrown onto the street")
"The stockbrokers are celebrating the end of the crisis. While the crisis is beginning to repeat itself, the banks are just as shameless in their speculation as they were before the crash.
The lobbyists are just as powerful as they ever were. The last 2 years were nothing more than a monumental insider bank robbery, which is long since forgotten. Not a single defendant from senior management was criminally charged. Instead the US Dept of Justice would rather pursue many swindlers who are small fish whose unbridled avarice made them mini-Bernie Madoffs. Bernie Madoff whilst in jail was notified of his son's suicide." (Block quote based on writer's paraphrased interpretation of the German text of the German magazine Spiegel December 30th 2010)
Let's be clear that the subtext of the Spiegel article is that these are the ethics promulgated by a country with the weakest social safety net of any major industrialized country in the world. Let's think about this, aren't they in fact right about that? Please consider that the annual income of the wealthiest 12,000 households is bigger than that of the poorest 24 million households. Doesn't America allow 59 million of its citizens to go without medical insurance; 132 million without a dental plan; 60 million without paid sick leave; and 40 million on food stamps. Let's please remember that, the wealthiest 1% of American households already have more net worth than the bottom 90% of American households. Is this the American dream or the American nightmare? By contrast, virtually everyone in the European Union has a medical plan, has a dental plan, gets paid sick leave, paid maternity leave; receives paid annual leave. This also includes low wage workers. Now ask yourself who has the moral high ground here? Now while we can all be proud Americans, surely we don't have to be proud of the broken American social safety net.
Clearly that's a thumbnail description of the social safety net that has allowed for the creation of America's nouveau poor, of which in the minds of many thousands of European readers, Pam Brown has become the face of and therewith has touched the social conscience of even the mainstream media in far away Germany, and its readership throughout the European Union. In doing so will this chip away at the callous indifference that American conservatives have been socialized to accept, which vociferously preaches the homiletic platitudes of individual responsibility in order to fastidiously avoid the collective responsibility of the much needed investment of a European style social safety net for the American working class.
It is only under a European style social safety net that working class Americans like Pam Brown will ever be safe from the robber baron excesses of Wall Street banksters, who are back to business as usual, back on the mount of unbridled avarice before the dust has even had a chance to settle from the near global banking collapse initiated by the Wall Street robber barons, whose unregulated excesses will create how many more taxpayer bailouts before the full faith and credit of the federal government is exhausted, with the nations that buy American debt instruments around the world.
Should America have a public option in commercial and investment banking to protect the public from the commercial sector?
Most Americans aren't familiar with the Bank of North Dakota. It is the only state run bank in the United States. Perhaps other states and the federal government should consider adopting a Bank of North Dakota model in order to safeguard the American banking system. To that end here is a link to a Wikipedia article giving basic background information to the Bank of North Dakota system.