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Wall Street Boobs, or, The Meaning of the WSJ Editorial Page

I came across this article recently, in which David Murrin, a hedge fund manager, opines that Obama’s tepid health care reform means the death of the American Empire. See, it shows that Americans want handouts, won’t take responsibility for themselves, bla bla bla.

I don’t recommend actually reading the article–it’s entirely the sort of drivel that an intelligent high-schooler would be embarrassed to sign her name to. But it illustrates a larger point—Wall Streeters, even very successful ones, are not particularly knowledgeable or insightful about the world outside Wall Street.

As proof, consider the Wall Street Journal editorial page. It’s a cliché, but one that was reasonably true until recently, that the WSJ’s reporting was excellent while the editorial page was crap. Now the reporting is falling off too, but I’m concerned with the editorial page right now. It’s been crap for decades—a constant stream of dumb theories (supply-side economics might never have gone anywhere if the editorial page didn’t keep pushing it) and blatant lies (remember Vince Foster? The Clinton staffer who tragically killed himself? The WSJ ran more than 40 editorials claiming, with no evidence, that Bill and Hillary killed him).

EDIT: “More than 40” was actually sixty-four. Source: Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, page 144. /EDIT

In other words, the WSJ editorial page treats its readers—Wall Streeters—like boobs.

This leaves two possibilities: One is that Wall Streeters realize that they’re being treated like idiots, but they’re so mellow and easygoing that they don’t mind. The other is that they’re too dumb to notice.

And they’re not known for being mellow and easygoing.

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