These so called towers of evil belong to the big, bad banks here in Toronto. You can even see a big, bad Brinks truck parked at street level waiting to take away (or bring) all the money looted from us poor folk. And all their greed is for what? Just so my retired neighbours next door can survive off their pensions, which undoubtedly hold some stake in those evil banks. We should force the banks to make less profit so my neighbours will get smaller dividend cheques and can learn new recipes with cat food from a tin. Hmm… maybe not.
Okay, just being facetious.
The fact is, those big, evil banks (should I be capitalizing evil, like Evil!) are actually owned by our neighbours, our friends, our family, our co-workers. I wonder, does that make them all evil and greedy, too? I mean, the moment any of these big, bad, evil corporations make a misstep, it is reflected in a dive in stock value. What does that mean? I think it means that the shareholders (our neighbours, our friends, our family, our co-workers) are all trying to dump their shares the moment there’s a risk of profits dropping, and no one’s buying, so the stock value goes down until someone does buy. Okay, so most of them aren’t buying/selling shares personally, but they’ve hired financial planners and managers to do their bidding for them.
When was the last time you heard of anyone telling their financial planner, it’s okay to hang onto under-performing shares as long as the reason behind it is for the common good of society? My guess is never. Buy low and sell high is the adage (both old and current). If the stock is still on the rise, then keep it and let it grow in value. Now, does that sound like a greedy approach to playing the stock market? Sounds more like a smart approach, if you ask me.
The main subject of my photo is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, on Bay Street. This bank alone employs 42,000 people — people just like your neighbours, family, friends — around the world. The second building down the street in the photo belong to TD Canada Trust. This bank employs 74,000 people around the world. Surely all these bank employees are not greedy, corporate capitalists stealing our money, right? Nope. They are very much like the rest of us, just trying to make a living. Same with the majority of shareholders. They’re all common folk like us. But, if we were actually able to gut the profits of these banks, you can bet there would be a whole lot of new bank people in line at the unemployment office. The shareholders would expect nothing less.
This begs the question: Then who the hell are the evil-doers, to coin a phrase from GW. Oh, sure, on Wall Street we have a pretty good idea who they are, because a handful of them committed fraud on a scale that almost collapsed the economy of the US. Here in Canada we have a much better regulated system that protects the masses from such devious activity. Yet, the Occupy movement (now co-opted by the public sector unions for the price of three tents here in Toronto) seems to think there’s some top floor bigwig banker behind a huge mahogany desk surrounded by canvas sacks of cash with $$$ printed on the side and a stogie in his mouth who is personally responsible for everything wrong with the world today. Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you’re looking for the folks holding all that money you think should be shared, you won’t find them in the corner office penthouse of the building in my photo. Nope, they are raking the leaves next door, or folding laundry at the local laundromat, or in the “eight items or less” checkout lane of your local grocer, or in front of you at the car wash around the corner. You see, the people behind every big bad evil corporation (not just banks but all of them) you love to hate are actually — wait for it — us! And just what are we all trying to do? Make a few bucks for our retirement or our kids’ education, or maybe for that flat screen TV we’re pining for next year. Is that “greedy” or “evil?” I personally don’t think so.
Now, before you ask, what’s the solution, we have to really look at the actual problem. It’s not the banks. It’s our huge debt. But let’s just get the banks to pay off that debt with all their profits, you might argue. Problem is, like I said earlier, all those profits are divided among your neighbours, friends, family members and co-workers. And trust me, they won’t stand for it. They will show their distaste for reduced dividends by way of moving their money to other companies that pay higher dividends. And that’s when all hell will really break loose.
What we need is for our governments to take a really hard look at what they do and how they do it. All levels of government should focus on providing the services they should be providing and get out of all the stuff best left to the private sector. Yes, that’s going to mean cuts in services, but what choice do we have? Raise taxes even more? Where does that end? I say let’s first look at how we can do things more efficiently and then we can talk about raising taxes, if need be.
Anyway, there’s a loong rant for the day. Really hadn’t planned on writing all this. If you managed to get this far, good for you. 🙂