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Monday, April 19, 2010

Shorting The Middle Class: The Real Wall Street Crime

The press is all abuzz with news of the SEC suing Goldman Sachs for fraud. While this is certainly big news in itself, even more important is what it says about what the financial elite has been doing to America for the last 30 years: shorting the middle class.
The SEC's action is a perfect moment for us to look at the bigger picture of how the American people were sold on the promise of never-ending prosperity while Wall Street was overseeing a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the richest Americans.
The results have been devastating: a disappearing middle class, a precipitous drop in economic and social mobility, and ultimately, the undermining of the foundation of our democracy.
Thirty years ago, top executives at S&P 500 companies made an average of 30 times what their workers did -- now they make 300 times what their workers make. And between 2000 and 2008, the poverty rate in the suburbs of the largest metro areas in the U.S. grew by 25 percent -- making these suburbs home to the country's largest and fastest-growing segment of the poor.
The human toll of the shorting of the middle class is brought to life on sites like Recessionwire.com, LayoffSupportNetwork.com, and HowIGotLaidOff.com where the casualties of Wall Street's systemic scam share their personal stories.
Looking through these sites, I came upon a story that struck me as emblematic of where America's middle class finds itself these days. It feels like a dark reboot of the American Dream. Think Horatio Alger rewritten by O. Henry. LinkHere


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