Banking lobby lament: Put down your pitchforks

Everybody is being so unfair to Wall Street! Won't someone tell the angry mob to just please go home?

Published November 19, 2009 3:08PM (EST)

Ironic juxtaposition of the day:

From Rasmussen Reports, via Naked Capitalism:

50 percent of Americans say interest rates on their credit cards have been raised in the past six months, as Congress seeks to limit the ability of banks to raise those rates...

77 percent of Americans believe that credit card companies take unfair advantage of consumers with the interest rates they charge. Just 14 percent do not agree.

From a Bloomberg News article detailing the prospects of TARP overseer Elizabeth Warren's brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency:

"The time for pitchforks and torches is over," [said Scott Talbott, chief lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable]. "The focus should be on reforming the system and making it better."

Pity the poor bankers, trapped in their castles while the peasants storm their walls, shrieking blood and murder! It's almost as if the financial industry hadn't been bailed out to tune of trillions of dollars of taxpayer money, or hadn't managed, so far, to successfully neuter every bit of proposed regulatory reform that has come down the pike. From the banking industry's perspective, everybody has just been so unfair. Why do all those mean people keep saying nasty things about us?

Railing against the tone-deaf arrogance of banking industry lobbyists gets old fast. People like Talbott are paid well to say exactly what they are saying, and judging by their success, they're worth every penny of it. But at some point, by their own rhetoric, they will incite exactly the kind of boiling-over rage that they make-believe is currently afflicting them. Seventy-seven percent of Americans, among whom can be counted many who have lost their jobs and homes because of mistakes made by bankers, feel that credit card companies are taking advantage of them. Imagine that! But couldn't it be possible that their real reason for rage is that the time for pitchforks and torches never came?

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bank Bailouts Bolivia Credit Cards How The World Works Valentines Day