Michael Hiltzik hits the nail on the head in his LA Times column today. “Pointless deals line Wall St. pockets” illustrates what Chris Hayes at The Nation was talking about a few weeks ago when he described all the money sloshing around in the upper echelons — but none of it is trickling down. Shows how hedge fund managers and investment bankers have been getting rich because they make good bets for their wealthy clients, but their activity does not add any value to the economy, and in the case of Goldman Sachs, one particular hedge actually helped make the damage for average consumers worse. They are professional gamblers helping the rich get richer, while the ….well, you know how it goes.

It shows that the free market has no values and simply lets the rich and powerful swoop in and game the system. When the government used to try and do big things – think NASA or fuel efficiency standards – those programs actually spurred innovation and technology that led to enormous growth in the private sector. But during the Bush years, de-regulation and small government policies ruled the day and instead of the economy creating growth and wealth based on innovation and technology, it created a housing bubble and “financial instruments” that have created vast wealth for small numbers of people without creating value or making life better for the average consumer. The wonderful free market of the past decade lured thousands of our best and brightest students and math minds away from inventing alternative energy or smarter computers and instead they have become stewards of vast empires of wealth.

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