The people at the top don't get it. This is not populism, it's ANGER! Why are Americans angry? Because they got screwed and mislead. First they were led to believe that in the "ownership" society, they should be little entrepreneurs. Little Bill Gates's! Manage your own 401k. Invest in yourself! Your responsible for your own fate! Not everyone is able to be their own entrepreneur. Most people have no idea how to manage their investments. I know some very smart people who haven't the foggiest idea about investing let alone how Wall Street and Main St. work. No problem, you say? That's why we have investment advisors? Salesmen in disguise! Wolves in sheep's clothing!
Americans got screwed by the unrestrained greed of everyone in the financial world, especially top executives who felt a million, a hundred milion, a billion was not enough. So they gave loans to anybody and everybody regardless of ability to pay, knowing that they could pass the "risk" on to someone else in the form of CDOs and other garbage. When this house of cards collapsed they they used their connections to bail themselves out with our dollars.
Why are Americans angry? Because of bad behavior at the top! Millions of individuals suffering - no job, house values dropping, 201k's instead of 401k's. The bailouts reward the greediest. People who acted responsibly see people who lied and bought way more house or houses than they could afford being rewarded with foreclosure relief. What ever happened to "moral hazard?" Almost everyone is angry, except perhaps, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Alan Greenspan, and the "too-big-to-fail" rip off artists. Even rich people are angry. Look at all the poor rich people who got ripped off by that guy who "Made Off" with their funds.
This is not right wing populism. It's ANGER! When people feel threatened they get angry with the potential for violence The right wing and Republicans are trying to claim this anger, but the problems were created by almost thirty years of Reaganism. The MBIA, Bear Sterns, WAMU, Wachovia, Merrill, Lehman Bros., AIG collapses all happened on George W.s watch. The various bailouts were initiated by "W's" Treasury Secretary. BTW, who set off the collapse of the housing market. Ben Bernacke raised rates high enough to collapse the housing bubble created by Allan Greenspan to save his own neck.
This anger isn't going away and has the potential to get really ugly. Obama and the Democrats had better pay attention and channel it toward the real culprits, rather than let right wing demagogues focus it on them.