Wall Street On Battle Alert For Class Warfare

Posted on January 30, 2009

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Erin Burnett on CNBC: “It is clear that there is a war going on in this country against Wall Street.”

Oh my!

President Barack Obama announced a Middle-Class Task Force today, to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. Obama, who chided Wall Street yesterday for taking $18 billion in bonuses in the middle of an economic meltdown, said today he wants to revitalize the middle class and labor unions.

“I do not see the labor movement as part of the problem; to me, it’s part of the solution,” Obama said.

That is the most cheering endorsement labor leaders have heard in decades.

But President Obama’s comments hurt the feelings of those sensitive people on Wall Street. On CNBC, commentators were shocked and appalled. Some could not contain their defensiveness. Demagoguery and class warfare! Someone called the president’s words “political red meat.”

“President Obama wants Wall Street to work for free!” CNBC commentator Dennis Neil complained loudly and often. Obama and Biden were talking about the million-dollar bonuses received by corporate CEOs and Wall Street masters of the universe. But CNBC’s Neil pouted that the average bonus received by all Wall Street workers was only $112,000.

Hoo-boy! Personally, I have never made $112,000 in a year, and like the middle-class people President Obama is talking about, I never will. I understand that Manhattan apartments are high-rent, but don’t expect much sympathy over those $112,000 bonuses from the middle class and the labor movement.

BTW, Erin Burnett and Dennis Neil, what is the salary structure for talking heads on CNBC? Please excuse my curiosity.

Did I mention that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced a DOOMSDAY BUDGET, this morning? Oops, that’s old news.

To top things off on this last Friday of January, CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino broke the news this afternoon that the government effort to bail out the financial industry by setting up a BAD BANK is stalled. The bad bank would buy “toxic assets” from the for-profit banks. Buying the toxic assets was the plan for the original Wall Street emergency bailout passed by Congress, but so far the Treasury Department has copped a “can’t-do” attitude about the whole thing.

Charlie Gasparino’s bad news about the Bad Bank was not received gracefully on CNBC or Wall Street. Is this Friday going to close out the worst January ever for the stock market? Someone on CNBC did repeat the old business chestnut, “As January goes, so goes the year.”

Watching CNBC and the financial industry reminds me of that famous New York quote (was it Yogi Berra?): “Doesn’t anybody here know how to play this game?”

— Bernie Hayden

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