A Post of Quotes

July 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm (Housing)

Remember this quote from the 1976 movie Network?

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad.  Everybody knows things are bad.  It’s a depression.  Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job.  The dollar buys a nickel’s worth.  Banks are going bust.  Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter.  Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do about it and there’s no end to it!  We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat.  We sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way things are supposed to be!  We know things are bad.  Worse than bad.  They’re crazy.  It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore.  We sit in the house and slowly the world we’re living in is getting smaller.  And all we say is, “Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms.  Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything.  Just leave us alone.”  Well, I’m not going to leave you alone.  I want you to get mad!  I don’t want you to protest, I don’t want you to riot, I don’t want you to write to your Congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write.  I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.  All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad!  You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, God damn it!  My life has value!”  So, I want you to get up now.  I want all of you to get up out of your chairs.  I want you to get up right now, and go to the window.  Open it, and stick your head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” 

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Reminds me of a certain candidate running on a campaign of empty “change” platitudes.  Not that his competitor is any better.  Here are some more fun quotes, this time from the Depression era (remember the date of the stock market crash was October 29, 1929 and the Depression lasted until 1939):

December 5, 1929
The Government’s business is in sound condition.”
Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury

December 28, 1929
Maintenance of a general high level of business in the United States during December was reviewed today by Robert T. Lamont, Secretary of Commerce, as an indication that American industry had reached a point where a break in New York stock prices does not necessarily mean a national depression.”
Associated Press dispatch

January 13, 1930
“Reports to the Department of Commerce indicate that business is in a satisfactory condition, Secretary Lamont said today.”
News item

May 1, 1930
“While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States ­ that is, prosperity.”
­President Hoover

June 29, 1930
“The worst is over without a doubt.”
­James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor.
June 9, 1931
“The depression has ended.”
­Dr. Julius Klein, Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Today’s article of doom: What the housing bailout bill looks like from across the pond.


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