Friday, December 25, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life: Escape from Potter's Field

One of the great stories of the Twentieth Century was the story of the working class in North America entering the middle class. Massive industrialization spurred by world wars along with the rising power of unionization and education and loan programs for returning soldiers all combined to make standards of living sky rocket.

The Savings and Loans of the 30's and 40's often were the idealistic working man's co-ops portrayed in It's a Wonderful Life, helping workers escape slum lords and, more problematically, setting the template for the suburban sprawl that surged in the 50's and 60's.

Unfortunately in real life Jimmy Stewart usually wasn't there when Old Man Potter took over and Regan era deregulation and influential Republicans, including a member of the Bush clan, looted the savings and loans and the American taxpayer for billions.

History sure has a way of repeating itself.

UPDATE: Huffington Post plays off It's a Wonderful Life too, with a campaign to get Americans to abandon big Wall Street banks and move their money to smaller community banks.

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