At the very first Democratic primary debate held on October 13, 2015 , Bernie Sanders made the immediately foolish statement that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.” Besides giving a pass to Mrs. Clinton for her culpability on an important transgression, he was way too premature in his assessment. There would in fact be sustained interest in her emails through the election more than a year later.
November 8, 2016, was to be a history-making election, with Hillary Rodham Clinton smashing through the glass ceiling on her way to the Presidency. But, it was not to be. Despite the wall-to-wall media narrative that Mrs. Clinton’s triumph was all but inevitable, tens of millions of regular people thought otherwise.
Despite the implication, I am not completely obsessed with Inside Job, a documentary post-mortem of the 2008 financial crisis. It’s just that I have five sections of my introductory investing class each year and we’ve been watching the movie as the culmination of the course since its release five years ago. Without further delay:
Most shocking moment It’s a tie!
- Larry Summers trying to intimidate CFTC Chairwoman Brooksley Born into silence by menacingly staring her down during her very public Congressional testimony (at 24:59), and
- Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein, who, after being asked if he had any regrets in his role as a member of AIG’s Board of Directors (which presided over its implosion, necessitating a taxpayer bailout in excess of $150 billion), to which he replied “No.” This occurs at 1:23.55. Feldstein’s nonchalant answer is so stunning that the interviewer is left speechless.
Person who should be most embarrassed Fred Mishkin, who showed himself to be a buffoon on so many levels. He acknowledged that everything he said about Iceland in his paper defending its deregulated financial system was incorrect. He had no idea that many top financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had AA or even AAA ratings until just a few days before they imploded. He acknowledged attending meetings where consumer advocate Greenlining presented evidence of abusive and predatory mortgages being offered to unsuspecting borrowers, to which his response was “So, what do you do?” Here’s an idea: immediately prohibit those types of mortgages.
A strong runner-up is John Campbell, Chairman of Harvard’s Economics Department. He saw no conflict of interest in his professors becoming wealthy by cashing in on the prestige of their positions at Harvard. It took the interviewer using a scenario of a doctor prescribing a medicine that he or she has an ownership interest in to get Campbell to understand what conflict of interest means. Upon achieving this “aha” moment, Campbell froze and could only utter “um” and “ah” for the next several seconds.
Biggest revelation That the tentacles of the financial industry are so far-reaching they’ve corrupted the study of economics itself. Basically, professors traffic in the prestige of their universities by providing cover to Wall Street firms that want a highly reputable third party (like only an Ivy League institution can be) to assure Congress, the public and critics that its latest financial innovation is perfectly safe (and couldn’t possibly blow up the world).
The Narrative Our society is not nearly as progressive and fair as we imagine. Exhibit A is our continued oppression of women by paying them less. More federal legislation is required to fight this injustice and to permanently sideline the forces waging their deplorable war on women.
The Reality When analyzed properly, there is no pay gap. As the following articles show, the pay gap seized upon by the Administration is computed as the average salary of women divided by the average salary of men. For example, if the average woman’s salary is $40,000 and the average man’s $50,000, then it’s clear women earn only 80% of what men earn.
A closer look at the issue reveals that there are many factors accounting for the difference in average pay which having nothing to do with gender discrimination. Examples include:
- the level of schooling
- number of hours worked
- number of years in a position, and
- the differences in positions held.
When these are accounted for, the supposed pay gap all but disappears. And, while there are regrettable instances of companies practicing gender pay discrimination, these anecdotal stories do not systemic discrimination make. Refreshingly, media outlets of all political stripes have stepped up to report the facts. The Obama Administrative pays them no mind. The opportunity to fire up a misinformed populace in support of further Federal regulation is just too irresistible. See:
Pay Gap Myths Spread Around Equal Pay Day – CNS News – April 15, 2016
Wage Gap Myth Exposed — By Feminists – Huffington Post – January 23, 2014
The Biggest Myth About the Gender Wage Gap – The Atlantic – May 30, 2013
The Gender Pay Gap is a Complete Myth – CBS MoneyWatch – April 17, 2011