October 28, 2010 – 10:35 am

Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami

The other morning while I was eating my eggs and venison hash, I was watching reruns of The Sopranos on the A&E network.  It was the episode when the whole crew decides that it may be time to do an intervention with Christopher about his heroin addiction after he killed Adrianna’s dog by sitting on it.  The intervention then escalated into a Quentin Tarantino version of The Waltons.

While watching this mayhem unfold, I began to realize that greed is as much of an addiction as cigarettes, drugs and alcohol.  The actions of Wall Street over the past 25 years could be classified as an addiction.

A generation of Wall Street hot shots drew inspiration from characters from movies, namely Gordon Gekko from Wall Street and Tony Montana from Scarface both of which were written by Oliver Stone.  Unfortunately, what these Gordon Gekko or Tony Montana wannabes took away from these morality plays was not the morality, but the sin.  They took Gordon Gekko’s line of, “Greed is good” a little too seriously.

Unlike these hotshots, I paid attention to Sister Margaret in 3rd grade catechism when she waved her yardstick while grilling into our heads with her Gaelic accent that greed, as one of the seven deadly sins, could be as addicting as alcohol or drugs.   Like a drug or alcohol addiction, the addiction doesn’t become noticeable until after the party is over and the person stumbling around intoxicated breaking furniture and lampshades really isn’t all that funny.

When the party of the housing market ended in 2007, Wall Street like an addict attempted to keep the party going only to make a bigger mess.  Then proceeded to blame everyone but themselves for the mess.

First, they blamed the mortgage brokers who sold their products for them and the public and the mainstream media bought it.  Wall Street was so convincing that this crisis was the fault of unscrupulous mortgage brokers that Consumer Law Specialists like Elizabeth Warren bought into it.  Job postings on Monster.com and in newspapers across the US actually read, “Former mortgage brokers or loan officers need not apply.”

Then Wall Street blamed the appraisers and the real estate agents.  Now, three years later, it’s the ‘deadbeat’ homeowner.

So before Wall Street can make total buffoons out of themselves by claiming demonic possession or being poisoned by alien anal probes, I think its time to dust off a copy of the Twelve Step Program from when I attended an AA meeting about ten years ago and was asked not to come back.

As I began reading the pamphlet, I was amazed at how relevant this is this really is to the way Wall Street is acting.

  • Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
  • Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
  • Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  • Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
  • Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
  • Step 7 – Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
  • Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
  • Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
  • Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
  • Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out
  • Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

But before Wall Street can begin their Twelve Step Program. We as a society need to do an intervention and that won’t be easy considering we have been enabling Wall Street for more than a generation.   Americans individually have morphed into all five children from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. As long as we were getting plasma TVs and overpriced McMansions we turned a blind eye to their uncontrollable desire for greed.

Tough love is why I was asked not to return to AA.   Apparently, at AA, it’s not okay to tell a recovering alcoholic to be a real man and to quit whining about his problems and then proceeded to ask him if he needed a feminine hygiene product.  Although the AA people weren’t amused, the guy later approached me in the parking lot, shook my hand and thanked me for opening his eyes.  Wall Street needs some tough love.  A tough love intervention is the only way to get Wall Street under control.  Wall Street must be brought under control and as Americans we have an obligation to save it from it’s own demons and uncontrollable desires.