Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 46 - Oscars .....Inside Job

Well the winners have been announced and The Kings Speech was a big winner with four of the twelve nominations including Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor. Inception also won four of its twelve nominations although lost in the bigger categories.  One thing I noticed were how many first-time Oscar winners there were.  My personal favorite was the category presented by Oprah Winfrey.  I've actually sent many e-mails to shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show to have the winner of her envelope on her show.  It was the category of Best Docmentary and the oscar went to Charles Ferguson for his documentary Inside Job. [Maybe Oprah will interview him now.]

I first heard about this documentary from Newsweek magazine. I've continually been stumped how someone like myself who lives trying to do the right thing by paying their bills on time and more than minimum payments on their accounts, could seem worse off than "kids."  I used to see what appeared to be nineteen year olds driving BMWs, Hummers, and Lexus.  I would see twenty-something parents with young children moving into brand new 4,000 square foot homes. It just ate me alive as I had worked all my life even after the birth of my children and sometimes two jobs and three jobs and I couldn't understand this.  I knew a mortgage ran about $1500-$2000/month for these homes and the Hummer payment ran about $700-$900/month and I never cleared that amount of money with a college Bachelor's degree for a net monthly paycheck.  How were these kids who didn't have degrees doing it?  Not to mention the daycare of expense of $400-$800/month.

Inside Job is a must see for everyone who was wondering this too.  It is the first documentary that clearly explains step by step what had to happen in order for this financial crisis to have happened here in America.  Very Very simply, banks were approving people for loans that they knew couldn't afford them.  These people would then refinance these loans and cash out the equity outrageously gained in one year and use this cash to buy big ticket items or a bigger house.  The percentage rate on refinancing a house was cheaper than the percentage rate on the car loan.

When we went to see this movie, first of all it was hard to find.  Not many people knew about it nor were many theaters playing it.  When we did find where it was playing, we had to drive 1 hour one way, not always feasible for some people.  I get it but this movie is worth driving three hours one way to see. Secondly, when we sat down, there were a total of six people in the theater and we were two of them.  Thirty minutes into the show, the wife of the couple sitting in the back decided she didn't understand it so she insisted her husband leave with her. When the lights came on, the other couple locked eyes with us and said, "It's a shame that nobody else was in here. Every American should see this." We agreed.

Every American should see this and at minimum, it should be a required film for finance students [both high school and college.] The reason we who have seen this documentary feel this strongly is: 1) In order to not repeat history that devastates us, we need to understand it.  Then through this understanding, we need to put procedures and people in place to keep the fox out of the hen house. 2) As Charles Ferguson said first in his acceptance speech, "Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong,"

You can watch the preview trailer here: Click Here Inside Job

The total loss was $20 Trillion! What was most astonishing to me was that these same people who have left Wall Street with millions and in some cases billions of our dollars INDIVIDUALLY, are the same people who Harvard and Yale and other Ivy League Colleges have hired to teach our young adults Economics! So not only did we have the fox in the hen house, we have removed it and now have put the fox in the fox schools teaching all the new foxes how to do the same thing!  It will be easy because there are still back doors in the hen house that open to a secret tunnel that the foxes dug in the first place.

Ferguson thinks that the same thing could happen again in ten years if we don't reinstate regulation of banks.  Deregulation started this mess and just like any entity that is left to itself to police from within, the price is negotiable for turning one's head.  I think to myself how someone can truly live with themselves knowing what was going on and then being paid to look the other way.  Being paid millions of dollars sure can provide them the means to fill the void of pain they must feel when they look in the mirror.  The problem is they haven't realized yet, that hole is just a bottomless pit and the man in the mirror is the only reflection that can see its bottom.  If a man in the mirror can face himself with moral satisfaction, the hole won't appear to throw money down it in the first place. If only the men responsible for the biggest bank heist in history were behind bars right now, they're read what another prisoner wrote on the walls, still considered a work of art, an inside job if you will, The Man in the Mirror poem:

The Man in the Mirror

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what the man has to say
For it isn't a man's father, mother or wife
whose judgment upon him must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in his life
Is the man staring back from the glass
He's the fellow to please; never mind all the rest,
For he's with you up to the end:
And you're past your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in in the glass!

This poem was found written on the wall of a cell in death row. It was composed by an anonymous prisoner who was later executed

A special Thank you to my high school basketball coach, Mr. Gregg who first read this poem to us during practice when he talked to us about doing things off the court.  It obviously has made an impression on me to this day.

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