The embers of the anger in the Midwest still burn hot, since as many as 20% of the adult population remains unemployed or under-employed two years after the melt-down of 2008 and 2009. The housing bubble and the finance instruments concocted by the get-mine-first mongers on Wall Street, abetted by look-the-other-way politicians, were the prime drivers as the economy went off the cliff.
Sales at manufacturing and construction companies in the Heartland plummeted by 30% to 70%, forcing mass terminations at firms that had gone decades without layoffs. The economy has recovered some, but is still not back to 2007 levels.
Hovde ran a hedge fund out of Washington D.C. for 24 years before returning to Wisconsin, so he saw the debacle up close and personal. He senses the anger from the victims of gross negligence and unbelievable incompetence.
Wall Street has never been the home of our better angels, but all sense of stewardship of the national financial structure was lost in “the lost decade.” His message echoes the blistering expose of the “toxic and destructive” culture at Goldman Sachs recently by one of its top managers, Greg Smith, on his way out the door.
No other candidate has aimed his or her sights at Wall Street like Hovde. He says the consequences for the mismanagement from the top were far too light. He stopped short of saying he would have opposed bailouts, but clearly supports a much tighter rein on the masters of the universe that inhabit our financial center.
Wooden stocks might be more effective.
Hovde clearly is trying to tap into the same energy that propelled Ron Johnson, a businessman turned politician, in his campaign against career politician Russ Feingold. It will be interesting to see if the anti-Wall Street anger still burns hot.