If you haven’t seen the movie Inside Job, go tomorrow.
You’ll leave mad as hell — and half-convinced you should liquidate your entire net worth to sew it into your mattress at home. Because the same crowd that fleeced America in the years leading up to the financial collapse of 2007 is still running the show — on Wall Street, in Washington and in the ivory towers of academe. Nothing, really, has changed — other than the 30 million people who lost their jobs worldwide.
Inside Job is a documentary, the story of what was behind America’s, and the world’s, financial collapse. But it’s a lot more, too.
It is the story of why the inequality of wealth in the United States is more pronounced, the film says, than in any other developed country in the world. It is the story of bipartisan bought government in Washington — of 30 years of financial deregulation by administrations of both parties, assuring that the rich get richer and the rest of us get soaked. It is the story of ethically bankrupt academics who help give the financial system cover, and of big-name business schools at prestigious universities run by the very same people who either let the economic foxes into the henhouses (which happen to be our houses), or make millions sitting on the boards of those masters of the universe who play us all for rubes.
But don’t believe me: See this movie. You’ll come away seething. At the billions the financial services industry poured into lobbying and buying Congress in the decade before the Supreme Court wiped out virtually all controls on campaign contributions earlier this year. At warped “regulations” that allowed financial institutions to borrow sometimes more than 30 times their actual cash reserves during the go-go days of bubble building. At the doubling of the U.S. debt after the financial collapse and the bail out of companies like AIG whose failed top executives stepped aside with eight- and nine-figure retirement packages.
Notes the film’s narrator, Matt Damon, “This crisis was not an accident. It was caused by an out-of-control (financial) industry.”
By the time you get to the end, you’ll realize that under President Barack Obama, things are still pretty much the same, as a revolving door of top executives from Goldman Sachs and other high rolling firms join government and make believe they’re keeping an eye on practices sometimes so shady that someone — maybe lots of someones — should have gone to jail for long ago.