As TPM Reader BR notes, they don’t make Wall Street sharks like they used to …
I saw your post on Charles Millard, by chance, just as I was reading about a fascinating historical parallel. The book I’m reading is After Wilson, The Struggle for the Democratic Party 1920-1934, by Douglas B. Craig, University of North Carolina Press, 1992.
The very conservative DNC Chair John J. Raskob, who had been the treasurer of DuPont and General Motors and later was a leader of the anti-New Deal Liberty League, in 1929 wrote what Craig calls a famous article called “Everybody Ought to be Rich” in the Ladies Home Journal. Here’s Craig on p. 151:
He suggested the creation of a “Working Man’s Investment Trust” which would invest workers’ savings in gilt-edged securities. By agglomerating individual workers’ small savings, the trust would be able to buy large quantities of stocks and reinvest the dividends. If workers deposited $15 per month in such a scheme, he predicted, they could expect to have accumulated a retirement fund of $80,000 at the end of twenty years.
But wait a minute! Craig reports on the next page that:
Raskob himself recognized that stock prices in 1929 were unrealistically high, and he refused to countenance the creation of the trust until they stabilized.
Obviously, the standards of our robber barons have declined since 1929…
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.