Who controls the country? The government or Wall Street? That answer will determine the ferocity of the populism.
Viral violence incoming. As this NYTimes article points out, the public is actively targeting AIG execs. Death threats have resulted in armed guards posted at the company’s offices and at executive mansions.
American history is replete with examples of lynch mobs taking control of a situation and inflicting injustice. In the end most lynch mobs have dealt harmful blows to society. Congressional action to punish AIG employees over the bonus issue is already seeding that outcome.
Congress’s potemkin populism over AIG’s bonuses disguises business as usual when it comes to the really big stuff.
(I will resume blogging at the start of April. Until then, I’m off on a populist rampage.)
To get ahead of the anger, Obama must do what he has repeatedly promised but not always done: make everything about his economic policies transparent and hold every player accountable. His administration must start actually answering the questions that officials like Geithner and Summers routinely duck.
[The Obama Administration] has squandered much of the stimulus effort on maintaining fundamentally corrupt, even sociopathic, institutions like AIG or Citigroup.
Populist rage creates the political support for taking far bolder steps against Wall Street.
It’s crunch time. If the federal government can not assert itself against the criminal financial class then John Robb’s prediction of viral violence may well become reality.