Little John Galt's Tantrums
Susie captures my feelings exactly:
Amazing. They don't know why people are angry - and their feelings are hurt. All over the country, people are losing their homes, their life savings and their jobs - and they're upset that the Obama administration is criticizing them over the latest round of million-dollar bonuses.
I think the word I'm groping for here is "narcissists":
WASHINGTON — The Wall Street giants that received a financial lifeline from Washington may have no compunction about paying big bonuses to their dealmakers and traders. But their willingness to deliver “thank you” gifts to President Obama and the Democrats is another question altogether.
Part of the reason, several Democratic fund-raisers and executives said, is a fear of getting caught in the public rage over the perception that Wall Street titans profiting from their government bailout may use their winnings to give back to Washington in return. And the timing of the event, as the industry lobbies against proposals for tighter regulations to address the underlying causes of last year’s meltdown on Wall Street, has only added to the worry over public appearances.
“There are sensitivities there,” said Scott Talbot, a lobbyist for the industry’s Financial Services Roundtable. Political contributions “can make a donor a target,” Mr. Talbot said. Many involved, though, say the low attendance from those Wall Street giants also reflected a broader disenchantment with Mr. Obama over the angry language emanating from the White House over the million-dollar bonuses and anti-regulatory lobbying.
They're are very sensitive. After all, they are the most productive people in the world, right?
The funny thing is that for whatever "angry language" they perceive emanating from the White House, the White House and the congress are going remarkably easy on them in terms of actual regulation. And the White House isn't exactly suffering a lack of grateful financial contributions either, despite what this article implies.
The truth is that it is more than a little bit unseemly for the White House to be holiding fundraisers with the industry they are supposed to be cracking down on in the first place. In fact, it's shockingly obtuse of all of them, but it's so common that nobody even thinks to question it. (Well, maybe the Republicans will .... after all, the article says that Wall Street is giving even less to them these days than they are to Democrats.)
But regardless of whether or not they are giving money, I do think they are genuinely upset at anyone thinking they are responsible for what's happened. They see themselves as Good People who work hard and follow the rules and are well rewarded because of their greater productivity. The fact that they are basically gambling with other people's money, skimming off the profits and laying the losses off on to their customers (and lately, the taxpayers) is actually considered "entrepreneurial" in this sick, gilded environment. In other words, they truly believe, deep down, that they deserve their ridiculous, outsized, gluttonous rewards. For someone to question their integrity goes to the very heart of their belief system.
This petulant behavior among the Masters of the Universe is one of the most distasteful displays of spoiled, immature frat boy privilege I've ever had the misfortune to watch. But you'll notice that their "sensitivity" hasn't stopped them from once more uncorking the Keg 'O Money and opening their greedy little mouths up wide. After all, they need something to comfort them when they see the President saying mean things about them. It's remarkable how a record bonus helps you forget.