Home About Archives RSS Feed

The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?

Bill Schmick

"Greed is good. Now it seems its legal."
Gordon Gekko, 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'

The Oliver Stone-directed sequel to the 1987 film "Wall Street" starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf and Josh Brolin, opens Friday in the aftermath of two years of financial crisis that almost sank the global financial structure and put 9.9 percent of Americans on the bread line. Will this new film heighten or lessen Main Street's disenchantment with Wall Street? I'm betting the former.

The story opens with the nefarious Gekko, older and supposedly chastened, getting out of jail to regain his place within the financial power structure. I can't help but think how the victims of the convicted Ponzi schemer, Bernie Madoff, or the half-dozen other crooks that were indicted over the last two years will feel about that. Will we wonder if someday we'll see the same justice system release convicted culprits of this decade's financial crimes?

As it is, most investors (up to 90 percent) already believe the stock market is unfair to the little guy. The majority of us are only now realizing that stock brokers, financial advisers and insurance agents are not held to a fiduciary standard under current SEC rules. As I've written before, a fiduciary is someone who puts your interest above their own and their company.

So many retail investors have already given up on the stock market and its unscrupulous professionals that brokerage houses have begun to report disappointing earnings because of the anemic volume and lack of participation by individual investors. Analysts have been cutting their earnings estimates for the money center brokers as well.

It is my opinion that most Americans have still not forgiven Wall Street for getting us into this mess and with so many Americans out of work, why should they? As I've written before, the new financial regulations bill passed a few months ago was a farce and did very little to protect you and I from the financial services industry. Many of the excesses that got us into this mess are still very much alive on Wall Street today.

So when you pay $12 or more for a ticket to see the movie, be prepared for some in-your-face celebration of money and power. The characters in the movie will be flaunting the latest in power clothes and accoutrements, according to a story in Thursday's Wall Street Journal.

I was working at a global brokerage house in Manhattan when Mr. Gekko first descended upon our consciousness. I admit to emulating his "look" even though by the end of the show he was carted off to jail in ignominy. I found myself, along with just about everyone else I knew who was making the big money on The Street back then, squandering quite a bit of money dressing in contrast-collar shirts, expensive cuff links and two-tone suspenders. The new movie will feature custom-made $2,000 to $3,000 suits, handmade shoes and watches that are so expensive that I can't pronounce their brand names. How is that going to play with you and I who continue to cut corners, make do and forgo new clothes for our kids this school season?

The point is that this new "power style" was copied from what the people on Wall Street are wearing today. That's a far cry from most of us who get along in our LL Bean khaki dress pants and "wrinkle-free" blue oxford, button-down, dress shirts. Now don't get me wrong, I like dressing down and would never want to go back to those days of pinstriped three-piece suits, watch chain and wing tips. But just seeing those actors glorifying a culture that has driven most of us to the wall and gotten away with it makes me see red. To me, "it's about doing the right thing," words that I lifted from a line in the movie. But Gekko sums up the credo of Wall Street, which got us where we are today and will continue to drive the financial industry toward its next melt-down when he replies

"No, it's all about the money."

See it and weep. 

Tags: Wall Street, excess, Gekko      

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Thistle and Mirth Owners Open Third Downtown Eatery
Sacco Brothers Honored at North Adams American Legion for WWII Service
Williamstown Farm Reimagined as Education, Rescue Center
Williamstown Planners Still Split on Upzoning Proposals
City of Pittsfield Enacts Water Usage Restrictions
Berkshire Music Academy Works to Change Lives with Music
DA Finds Officer Acted Lawfully in Shooting Miguel Estrella
Overnight Repair Operations on I-90 Week of Aug. 8
Two Live Debates for District Attorney Candidates Aug. 15
Chipotle Opens in Pittsfield
 
 


Categories:
@theMarket (417)
Independent Investor (451)
Retired Investor (102)
Archives:
July 2022 (7)
June 2022 (7)
May 2022 (7)
April 2022 (8)
March 2022 (9)
February 2022 (7)
January 2022 (7)
December 2021 (9)
November 2021 (7)
October 2021 (8)
September 2021 (9)
August 2021 (4)
Tags:
Employment Markets Taxes Federal Reserve Banking Jobs Currency Commodities Stocks Pullback Recession Congress Japan Debt Debt Ceiling Banks Selloff Rally Retirement Crisis Stimulus Election Metals Euro Energy Greece Oil Europe Europe Fiscal Cliff Bailout Deficit Interest Rates Stock Market Economy
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
Independent Investor: Europe's Banking Crisis
@theMarket: Let the Good Times Roll
Independent Investor: Enough Already!
@theMarket: Let Silver Be A Lesson
The Independent Investor: Japan — The Sun Is Beginning to Rise
Independent Investor: What To Expect After a Waterfall Decline
@theMarket: One Down, One to Go
@theMarket: 707 Days
The Independent Investor: And Now For That Deficit
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Fed-fueled Gains Support Markets
The Retired Investor: No End in Sight for Airline Agony
The Retired Investor: Local Gas Stations Suffer From High Fuel Prices
@theMarket: Market Beat Down
The Retired Investor: Public Sector Can't Compete in Tight Labor Market
@theMarket: More Market Gains Ahead, But for How Long?
The Retired Investor: China Tariffs on Deck
The Retired Investor: Streaming Comes of Age
@theMarket: Recession: 'Certainly a Possibility'
The Retired Investor: Stock Market & Midterm Elections