Stein: Welcome to Nightmare America

Certain financial statistics are troubling contributor Ben Stein these days . . .

Start with the obvious: This great country is in a very severe recession.

This mess was caused very largely by the inordinate greed, incompetence and duplicity of certain persons and firms on Wall Street.

When the bubble burst in the Fall of 2008, the financial system was hanging by a thread.

Supposedly to save the country, the taxpayers of the United States bailed out the big banks that were on the brink of apocalypse. This was done at a cost of hundreds of billions, maybe trillions.

Now, the country is still in a terrible recession. Unemployment is about 10 percent. Millions have lost their homes to foreclosure and tens of millions live in fear of losing homes or jobs, or both.

But, what's this? Wall Street is booming insanely!

Thanks largely to government policies where the Fed lends money to the big banks at 25 hundredths of a point, then taxpayers borrow it back at 3.5 percent, thanks to the easy money gushing out of the Fed-easy money for the Big Boys (not for you), Wall Street is planning to pay bonuses to its executives on a par with what they paid in 2007 . . . before the crash . . . before the rest of America was pauperized.

Just one huge investment bank called Goldman Sachs was bailed out in many lavish ways by both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now they plan to pay themselves bonuses of roughly $20 billion for the holidays

This is not a fantasy. This is really happening.

Surely, is not the America we are sending our children to fight and die for in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . surely, is not the America our grandfathers and fathers fought for at Normandy and Iwo Jima?

This is some nightmare America, ruled by con men in $2,000 suits.

I love capitalism, and have many friends on Wall Street. But this is just plain shameful.

America, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."