Groundhog Day [Reader Post]

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In the movie Groundhog Day Bill Murray plays a weatherman who is sent to cover Punxatawney Phil and relives the day over and over and over.

One need harken back not very long ago to when bankers were living high on the (ground)hog. Someone promised us that that would not stand.

“First, we cannot only have a plan for Wall Street. We must also help Main Street as well. I’m glad that our government is moving so quickly in addressing the crisis that threatens some of our biggest banks and corporations. But a similar crisis has threatened families, workers and homeowners for months and months and Washington has done far too little to help. For too long, this administration has been willing to hit the fast-forward button in helping distressed Wall Street firms while pressing pause when it comes to saving jobs or keeping people in their homes.”

Remember those terrible “fatcat bankers”?

Last night on CBS’ 60 Minutes, President Obama attacked Wall Street as “fat cats,” saying he was not elected merely for their sake. Obviously, the President is now keenly aware of how his political capital is being lost due to the bailout program earlier in the year. He is doing some serious damage control. But what does the President plan to do about this? I do not advocate taxing bonuses outright as is being done in the U.K. Taxing bonuses strikes me as a populist move similar to the desire to impose oil company windfall taxes back in 2008 – something no one is talking about now.

All those huge bonuses were offensive:

President Obama branded Wall Street bankers “shameful” on Thursday for giving themselves nearly $20 billion in bonuses as the economy was deteriorating and the government was spending billions to bail out some of the nation’s most prominent financial institutions.

“There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses,” Mr. Obama said during an appearance in the Oval Office with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner. “Now’s not that time. And that’s a message that I intend to send directly to them, I expect Secretary Geithner to send to them.”

Obama even used tough language:

“Well, let’s see,” continued the president. “You guys are drawing down $10, $20 million bonuses after America went through the worst economic year that it’s gone through in decades, and you guys caused the problem. And we’ve got ten percent unemployment. Why do you think people might be a little frustrated?”

It all sounded great. Populist. Obama’s out to protect the little guy. There was just one thing. Those contributions to Obama’s campaign:

•Goldman Sachs $994,795
•Citigroup Inc. $701,290
•JPMorgan Chase & Co. $695,132
•UBS AG $543,219
•Morgan Stanley $541,881

And remember the bailout of Wall St? Much of your bailout money went for bonuses.

Welcome to Groundhog Day 2011

When it comes to paychecks, Wall Street’s law of gravity is back in full force: What goes down must come back up.

In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. The total is up 5.7% from $128 billion in combined compensation and benefits by the same companies in 2009.

Remember Goldman Sachs? They’re doing great, thank you!

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. tripled the salary of Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and increased his stock-based bonus 40% to $12.6 million.

Bill Murray’s character spent 34 years reliving Groundhog Day. Thank God Obama can have no more than two terms.

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The thought of being forced to relive Obama’s presidency over and over again a la “Groundhog Day” sends chills up my spine. I’m wondering how we’ll make it through 2 more years, much less another four after that.

Why weren’t there demonstrations with anti-feudal slogans under feudal rule? And under Stalin, no anti-communist demonstrations? And under Hitler, no anti-fascist demonstrations? In a free capitalist society, anti-capitalist demonstrations are commonplace. Is capitalism really the worst system?

If capitalism makes some people rich without making others poor, who will benefit when capitalism is destroyed?

If cutting out the middleman lowers the price, why are we paying the government to stand between us and the markets?

How come Hollywood can always find a good side in thugs, but never in businesspeople? What was the last movie that pictured a self-reliant, industrious man as a role model?

If Hollywood types are so opposed to capitalism, why is there a warning against unauthorized distribution of their movies?