Posted March 21, 2017on:
Yesterday felt like I had been at the carnival too long. I had ridden the Tilt-a-Whirl too many times and eaten too much cotton candy. I was dizzy and jittery. Sensory overload.
There was just too much news yesterday. It was a carnival sugar high leaving me craving something savory – wanting something real. No what ifs – no fake news – just what’s real.
This story is real.
Imagine an eighty-something guy – let’s call him Marty. Marty is a retired AT&T employee. Not a sophisticated investor, Marty had accumulated a sizable chunk of AT&T stock at discounted prices. It was a nice nest egg, except…
In 2008 Marty watched Jim Cramer of Mad Money on the Today show say, “Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now.”
So without consulting financial advisers or knowledgeable family members, Marty sold his AT&T stock. This was October 2008. Wall Street was beginning a bout of serious bulimia after gorging itself on the mortgage/derivative/credit cotton candy fraud scheme. Selling was neither smart nor prudent.
If Marty had reinvested his funds, the S&P 500 total return would have been 192%. Within just five years, reinvestment would have returned him 98%.
In the popular vernacular: Sad!
Here’s where it starts getting real. Marty’s last name is Bannon. Marty is Steve Bannon’s dad. And Steve Bannon lays his entire life philosophy around the “Rosebud moment” of Marty losing money in the stock market in 2008.
The elevator pitch offered by The Wall Street Journal is this:
There were many factors that turned Steve Bannon into a divisive political firebrand. But his decision to embrace ‘economic nationalism’ and vehemently oppose the forces and institutions of globalization, he says, stems from his upbringing, his relationship with his father and the meaning those AT&T shares held for the family.
“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon told the Journal. “All of it.”
Let’s break this down, shall we? Marty was 80-something then, he’s 95 now. He watched Jim Cramer screaming on the teevee. He didn’t call his son Steve who worked for Goldman Sachs or his other son who also worked on Wall Street. He didn’t reinvest. He was overleveraged in AT&T. He didn’t diversify. And here’s the kicker…
Marty probably didn’t lose $100,000. Without getting all wonked up, given the time Marty worked for AT&T he most likely paid a lot less than what he sold for. In fact, when he sold, the stock was trading at a 2006 level, far above Marty’s accumulation dates from 1945-1995.
If Marty had sold at the high point, most likely he would have made $100,000 more, but he didn’t lose money. Marty made a stupid mistake. I’m sorry that he did, but he wasn’t the only retiree who suffered because of Dubya’s lack of SEC enforcement and the greed of Wall Street.
What’s different is that Marty’s son is using this as his personal “Rosebud moment” – his excuse for being. So what does Steve Bannon do to protect the little guys – the Martys of the world?
Like Sancho Panza, Steve Bannon hitches his wagon to the millionaire, pussy-grabbing heir to a real estate fortune. A fortune siphoned-off renting to blue-collar hardworking Joes and Josephines as long as they were lily-white. To everyone’s surprise, this legacy heir wins the presidency.
Bannon pedals his tricycle to the White House where he is tickled to see a bevy of Goldman Sachs buddies occupying every nook and cranny. Within a week, Bannon has dinner and helps send a Navy Seal, someone’s husband and son, to his death. Not to be deterred, Steve then sets his sights on taking away the insurance of 24 million ordinary Joes and Josephines. The demonic irony is that by denying these folks insurance it will ensure the one-percenters an $800 Billion tax cut.
I can’t begin to capture the hypocrisy as well as Francis Wilkinson does:
So if you want to know why Steve Bannon ran a website that became a digital drag bar for neo-Nazis and racists, or why he is determined to ban desperate, war-ravaged Muslim refugees from reaching American shores, or to deport mothers of American children to nations they haven’t seen in years, or to stop subsidizing health insurance for the poor and middle class, or to eliminate environmental safeguards, or to deregulate Wall Street so that it has fewer constraints in exploiting vulnerable investors, or to deliver vast tax cuts to extremely wealthy people like Steve Bannon — all while the president of the United States conceals his tax returns and sells the presidency for profit, well, it all comes down to what the elites did to poor Marty Bannon.
“Everything since then has come from there,” Bannon said. “All of it.”
An illegitimate President being served by his own kind – a Decepticon, perhaps named Optimus Subprime. Bannon is fake. His whole “supposed philosophy” is an ontological excuse for believing in nothing. A real Rosedud.
What’s on your mind today?
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