MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan and filmmaker Michael Moore appeared on the Today Show this morning to discuss the latest round of massive bonuses that Wall St. is doling out to their executives just a year after the financial industry paralyzed the economy.
With unemployment continuing to climb, and soon likely to break the 10 percent barrier nationally, Ratigan argued that Wall St. and Main St. are largely disconnected:
The government changed the rules on behalf of Wall St. to allow them access to trillions of our dollars, as Michael Moore has documented. When you have access to trillions of dollars of taxpayer money with no strings attached, it's very easy to make a few billion dollars...
There is a direct connection between those you see suffering in films that Michael documents and the abdication of duty by our government to allow all the taxpayer money we all work so hard to create to be the plaything, the gambling toy, of the financial industry as opposed to forcing the financial industry to get back to the business of being investors, actually putting money into the economy as opposed to taking it out.
Moore expressed his disgust over the bonuses:
They burned down our economy. They completely crashed it. And now they're getting rewarded for it... It's absolutely insane that we allow this to happen.
He also ridiculed the argument that these bonuses are a way to ensure that the financial companies don't lose their most important and productive employees: "Let's pay the best people, who helped to wreck and ruin our economy... This is absolutely crazy logic."
Ratigan also took on retention argument, used often by the banks, saying it's key to look at what you're paying, and retaining, these prized workers to do:
If you're paying your best people to extract as much money as possible from the economy, yes, they are creating that "value", if you want to call it that, but they're creating it at the expense of the totality of the system.