America is undoubtedly the best place in the world to live. If you doubt this ask any of the millions of people who are here illegally and constantly face incarceration and deportment to their former locals. They will tell you a different story than the friend who grew up down the street. We have far more opportunity to grow financially, physically, or spiritually than those who live almost anywhere else on the globe. Just look around the room you are in right now and reflect on the prosperity you see. Is it exactly like you want it to be? The answer is probably no. Can it be improved on? Sure. But, look around the room. Would you swap it for anything in 90% of the rest of the world? Again, the answer is probably no.
However, we do have problems. Our biggest problem, I think, over the last 25 to 30 years is too much opportunity. There has not been a level playing field for the nation’s financial institutions and they just could not help themselves but to loot the bank and our people. They could not stop themselves from disgracing the longstanding integrity enjoyed by the financial institutions of our country. They could not stop themselves from robbing our future generations of the same opportunity to succeed that they enjoyed 25 to 30 years ago. It has been disgraceful.
Another aspect of the disgrace exhibited was the failure of the American press from screaming from the rooftops of every newspaper office in the land to tell us what was being done in the name of capitalism in this country. We have been raped and left with no avenue of recourse but to pay for the privilege of having been raped by those who were supposed to be trustworthy men with a high degree of integrity. It has been disgraceful.
The last piece in Until Today is regarding the failed banking and mortgage industries in our country. There has been much said about this insult to our futures and I can add little else to what already stands as record. I will lead you to three recent films which in different ways say the same thing about this collapse of honesty and integrity in these institutions. The three films are Too Big to Fail, Margin Call, and the documentary style film of Inside Job. They are all good and any of the three tell more than our nation’s press told us of the issues in 25 to 30 years. It has all been so disgraceful. It has all been a true blight on the otherwise beautiful landscape of America. I hope you enjoy the poem.
A pitiless apathetic forceful wind
Howls through our financial fidelity
Unseen, unheard, we are unaware
Of the lost integrity of a financial fraternity
But fortunes are made by the unscrupulous
Their millions now securely vaulted
With homes in the Hamptons and Park Avenue
While our pillaged America stands defaulted
They have leveraged our nation’s future
On worthless overexposed subprime debt
Creating in the common man a skeptical mind
Leading our pillaged America to hedge all financial bets
The dishonesty displayed by those who we trusted
Feeds on the carcass of our dying democracy
They will destroy us, bury us, and lead us astray
And replace our government with a financial aristocracy
We stand now at the precipice of what course to take
As the wind continues to howl and profits grow
For the Wall Street Barons with finery unsurpassed
While the common man fails and has no place to go
The pillager purges and mines our fortunes
As we Americans watch with our lives defaced
And the pillager still plunders markets entrusted with
Until we are all, even them, financially disgraced
The system still works is what we so often hear
But only if we return to where this all started
But for now most of our American families
Are in default, defeated, and bitterly broken hearted
Who do we trust from this day forward
With retirement funds on which we depend
This question is best served to our elected officials
Who must regulate what we expect in the end
The time has come now after 30 plus years
Of unchecked capitalism at its worst
For fiduciary investment from those we should trust
To put their customers and not their profits first
Who do you trust?