From the Today Show Oct. 15, 2009. Dylan Ratigan and Michael Moore slam Wall Street for the latest round of bonuses being paid to their executives after being rescued by our tax dollars.
Lauer: Dylan, let me start with you. There are going to be a lot of confused people out here. The Dow is over 10,000 again. The bonuses are back, but on Main Street you’ve got money still tight, spending is tough, people can’t get mortgages, and unemployment is still a problem. Is it just the reality now that Wall Street and Main Street are completely disconnected?
Ratigan: Largely they were. Unfortunately the government has changed the rules on behalf of Wall St. to allow them access to trillions of our dollars as you and I have discussed, 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. A billion is only 1/1000 of a trillion and because our government is allowing the indulgence of the risk taking of the trillions of our own money not only is it allowing Wall Street to make the billions, but it is also depriving the rest of our economy out of the use of those funds which is why you see the heart wrenching antidotes that Michael Moore is so good at portraying.
There is a direct connection between those who 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 and becoming the next Warren Buffet, actually putting money into the economy as opposed to taking it out.
Lauer: Michael, let me make sure people understand this. The Wall Street Journal report says that firms are going to pay out about a $140 billion dollars in bonuses this year. The year before the economic meltdown, 2007, they paid out about $130 billion, so it’s gone up. How is this news going to go over with people like the ones in your home state Michigan that just found out unemployment is 15.3% in that state?
Moore: Well eventually people aren’t going to take it and I don’t know how many gated communities these people who are taking this $140 billion in bonuses, I don’t know how many castles with moats around them they can build, but I’ll tell you something—there’s an anger that’s building out there and I mean Matt, these people, they burned down our economy. They completely crashed it. And now they're getting rewarded for it. It would be like I burned down your house today and then tomorrow you send me a check for it thanking me. It's absolutely insane that we allow this to happen but not surprising because that’s our capitalist system. They can get away with it because it’s legal. They can get away with it because they can make whatever they want to make. They can take whatever they want to take. There’s no such thing as enough.