Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Arrest Those Men — They're Fiscal Terrorists!

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The economic cost New York City suffers as the result of the Sept. 11 attacks will range from $83 billion to $95 billion, partly depending upon how many jobs are shifted out of the city, a new report said on Wednesday.

City Comptroller William Thompson also estimated in his new report that it will cost $21.8 billion to replace the buildings, infrastructure and what he called "tenant assets" lost as a result of the attacks that toppled the World Trade Center.

Think about that. Those guys stole more than three times what it would cost to replace the World Trade Center, including desks, computers, carpeting, and Muzak. They stole nearly as much as NYC lost in the aftermath of that disaster.

I'll have to look up the numbers for the amount stolen in the S&L scandals of Bush Mach I.

Heyyyyyyyy, these guys are pikers! According to this summary, the S&L scandal will ultimately cost the taxpayers $1.3 trillion — which might have been only $20 billion if the government had started to face facts before the 1988 election.

These numbers are from a book called Inside Job. I don't know how reliable that book is, so I checked with another capitalist bastion: Forbes. In a recent article, they mentioned that just the Lincoln S&L collapse cost "billions" in investor money. (That's the one that Charles Keating was involved in.) They also mentioned the insider-trading scandals of the early 1980s and the Wedtech scandal.

It's easier and more fun and a hell of a lot more dramatic to blame outside agitators for attacking America. And there's no question that September 11 was a terrible tragedy. Words can't begin to do justice to the heartbreak of ordinary people dying at their desks, or the courage of those firefighters toiling up the stairs, trying with their last breath to save lives. But I think we need to look at the less easily televised tragedies of small investors, people who have worked all their lives, whose pension funds and retirement savings have been plundered by clean-cut American citizens who already have more money than they can possibly spend.

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