By Jerry Alatalo
ike Papantonio sat in for Thom Hartmann on “The Big Picture” recently and talked to Les Leopold, author of “How To Make a Million Dollars an Hour” – his book about Wall Street, deregulation, hedge funds and how they negatively affect the economy – on what to expect now that the GOP controls the U.S. House and Senate.
The following comes from Amazon.com reviews of Les Leopold’s book.
I am the narrator of the audio version of this book. This is the e-mail I wrote to Les:
I just wanted to say thank you for writing “How to Make a Million Dollars an Hour”. I finished recording it for Audible.com last week and while I was horrified and outraged to learn that the financial sector is in fact worse than I had previously imagined (and I had imagined it was pretty awful, believe me), I was truly heartened by the fact that there are people like you and Professor Fleischer out there trying to combat these sociopathic money-addicts. For the most part the hardest thing about narrating your book was keeping the angry tone out of my voice, though certainly there were times when it was warranted. I tried my best to keep it light and sarcastic, but clearly I had to lend some venom to some of the more acerbic comments. I enjoyed that immensely.
I really hope that you are happy with what I did with your words. I am honestly very proud of the fact that I have been involved in this project, as I think your book has an important message that needs to reach as many people as possible. It is incredibly satisfying for me to have the opportunity to speak with passion and conviction about such crucial and consequential issues. I am a hopeless optimist with very little faith in mankind, so it is always a pleasure to find someone out there fighting the good fight. As I tell my children, you have to be one of the good guys, because there’s way too many of the bad.
Thanks for being one of the good guys.
Another reviewer wrote:
“At a time when our politicians and the media are trying to convince us that our essential public services must be cut in the interest of deficit reduction, Leopold shines a bright light on some of our real economic problems: namely, our obscene income disparity, the dangerous financialization of our economy, and a political system that allows a handful of people to play dangerous games with our money, put our whole economy at risk, throw millions out of work – and then walk away with shocking amounts of cash”.
Many can remember the movie “Wall Street” made by Oliver Stone where the character played by Michael Douglas – Gordon Gecko – tells the stockholders of a prospective takeover company that “Greed is good”. The movie made a big splash when it became widely released and reviewed, and a lot of people thought that elected representatives in Washington, D.C. couldn’t miss the popular movie’s strong message suggesting reining in Wall Street greed, and would then implement the necessary regulatory measures to stop financial crimes and abuses hurting the American economy and people.
A lot of people got it wrong. Mr. Papantonio warns of an onslaught of Wall Street thugs, very comfortable in their criminal skins; asserts that Democrats have sold out to Wall Street, and that they’ll contribute to financial sector attacks on Social Security by aligning with Republicans behind closed doors. He predicts the excuse coming from Democrats will be “we are the party of compromise”, and that Americans need to brace for “head spinning” actions from both Republicans and Democrats which synchronize with Wall Street agendas.
While the decades-old trillion-dollar a year tax haven/evasion industry continues operating without any government “interference”, facilitated by the world’s most powerful accounting and legal firms – and without a peep of opposition coming from Washington, D.C. lawmakers – disabled Americans face a 20% cut in Social Security Disability Insurance monthly benefits.
Financial sector “gamblers” in complex financial instruments most commonly termed derivatives can without stress return to bet on a wide number of complex casino “games”, after lawmakers passed a Citigroup-written provision included in the must-pass Cromnibus spending bill which placed taxpayer money at risk for potential multi-billion dollar bets which end up losing.
Regulations/rules of the road for Wall Street in the Dodd-Frank legislation designed to prevent a repeat of the global economic crisis of 2007-8 are in the process of being rolled back. Why? The answer to that question might be as simple as the fictional Mr. Gecko’s personal money philosophy: “Greed is good”. Buy companies with borrowed funds, have the acquired firm pay back the loans, downsize the company through layoffs, reducing employee pay or hours etc., pump up the value of the company by buying the stock, then cash out and find the next company or companies for a repeat of the Gecko-like, “downsize, divest, run away” model.
Unfortunately, Mike Papantonio is probably correct. In 2015, Americans are going to experience a major-league case of “head spinning”. Are there any doctors in the house (nation)?
(Thank you to Ring of Fire Radio at YouTube)