Commentary on Wall Street – Main Street relations…and attitudes…and polling results.
First read the classic work, “Other People’s Money” by Louis Brandeis (published 1933). (Subtitled, “…and how the bankers use it!”)Judge Brandeis explored many topics of keen interest to Americans today, including the nature of “the financial oligarchy” (those who control banking, Wall Street and financial markets). Other People’s Money at work makes these interests happy and keeps the economy humming. (Common wisdom.)
Then consider, that Wall Street interests are working with vast volumes of OPM (other people’s money) while Main Street interests are using their own money — often, in limited supply at the moment (and hoped for wealth over the years if all goes well).
When you are wheeling / dealing in millions’ and billions’ of dollars and it is OPM (belonging to beneficiaries of pension funds, mutual funds, yours and my brokerage accounts and IRAs, foundation monies in trust, etc.) the attitude is assuredly different than that of the Main Street entrepreneur who —
— now has higher energy bills (including electric, natural gas, gas & diesel fuel)
— higher medical insurance fees for employees and themselves (with no relief in sight)
— higher property taxes (local government costs more to run now)
— worker shortages (causing in part the reliance on immigrant labor in some industries such as healthcare & hospitality)
— the uncertain state of employing such workers (does this invite a govt raid?)
— higher operating costs overall, thanks to the rising cost of many items
— more competition from big box stores if they are retailers nearby
— get the picture? It will be interesting to watch over the coming months if Republican or Democrat candidates for the presidency, the congress and statehouses “get it” in terms of what small business owners worry over and address their issues. So far, not much of real substance being offered. Wall Street interests are mostly always served — big lobbying bucks float around at fund-raising parties and all that. (Again, it’s usually OPM paying the freight.)
What keeps you up at night? On Wall Street, the possibility that OPM may stop flowing? On Main Street MY MONEY may stop flowing (cash in) or will flow “out” (of the cash register).
So this is about attitudes — first determine, whose money is it? (Mine, yours or OPM?) Then follow the polling numbers.
Stay Tuned to Elections 2008 and small business concerns…as well as…Wall Street concerns…ain’t the same thing, as the poll by American Management Services and Suffolk University make clear.
Editor – AC