Watching CNBC’s pre-market commentary one morning this week, I heard the ever-opinionated, always-loud Jim Cramer insist that the International Monetary Fund must come to the rescue of the stumbling, bumbling countries of Europe. They can’t possibly agree among themselves, he contended, so an outsider–presumably with a clearer overview–is needed to effect the necessary rescue. This view, of course, presupposes that a further rescue is the correct solution to the ongoing and growing European debt crisis. It reminded me of Cramer’s now famous “They know nothing” rant that CNBC insists on reprising. In that tirade he berated monetary authorities for failing to recognize the need for rescue, so that, among other calamities to be avoided, friends with 25 years of Wall Street experience would not see their careers destroyed. It mattered little that such Wall Streeters were integral to the crises of the day nor that most non-Wall Street employees would not be similarly bailed out. Such is the sense of entitlement deeply ingrained in the denizens of Wall Street and their financial cohorts. Their view: We are too important to fail, and some central planning entity must make sure that we don’t.
Occupy Wall Street and its multi-city imitators clearly resent both this sense of entitlement as well as the government facilitators who assure that rescue money is available first to the wealthy and powerful who have cowed legislators and regulators into believing that the world as we know it will end if they are not rescued. If such protesters are looking for a specific entity against which to protest, let me suggest the IMF. As donors of more than 17% of IMF funding, U.S. taxpayers have a real financial interest. Having already been forced to bear huge risk in bailing out financial miscreants in this country, we should find abhorrent any commitment of taxpayer funds to prop up governments or banking systems elsewhere. Those who care must make their voices heard now.