Generation Zero denounces Wall Street, Capitol Hill

Documentary suggests root causes of America’s financial collapse

Hold on, let's not be hasty here, "Generation Zero"

Sean Hannity is talking about it. The Tea Baggers Ball in Nashville screened it. For many people, that would be enough to permanently lose all interest in “it,” but in this case that would be unfortunate. “It” is “Generation Zero,” a documentary film that suggests that it was not deregulation that caused America’s financial distress, but a generational crisis of ego and selfishness. The filmmakers would likely assert that this crisis – which was born of the Great Depression and now runs rampant – is largely responsible for the behavior of those who would run to a personal loan company to satisfy their greed. Financial responsibility is always encouraged, but it is sadly a foreign concept to many people.

Baby Boom makes economic crater

Newscorpse and others don’t buy it, but let’s think about the “Generation Zero” argument. The “Greatest Generation” fought through the economic disasters and war of the 1930s and 1940s, and they vowed that their children should never have to face the same struggles in their own lives. Thus, the filmmakers argue, there was a parent-to-child overindulgence in the 1950s and 1960s. Rather than shielding them, parents gave them too much. Did this lead to generations of socially decadent people who drown their hardships in consumption, rather than tackling the root cause of the problems?

Oh, those anti-social hippies…

The liberal politics of the children of Woodstock are in “Generation Zero’s” sights, but that is arguably too simplistic. A more realistic view might be that a combination of Wall Street and Capitol Hill led us into the recession, where greed, lax regulation and ignorance of sound financial principles led to excessive risk-taking. This is similar ground that Michael Moore covers in “Capitalism: A Love Story,” where financial institutions are given aid but citizens are left to twist in the wind.

But no, it can’t be. “Generation Zero” is a conservative film and “Capitalism: A Love Story” is a liberal film – never the twain shall meet, right? Maybe not. Newscorpse draws our attention to one part of a recent on-air exchange between Sean Hannity and the “Generation Zero” movie producer and director:

Sean Hannity: Is it the political system that is more corrupt? Because I believe Capitalism works. Capitalism is the answer.
David Bossie, Producer: Clearly Capitol Hill is corrupt. Capitol Hill is the problem, not Wall Street here.
Stephen Bannon, Director: I think it an inextricably linked network between Capitol Hill and Wall Street. […] You’ve had the American taxpayer, the average, middle-class American, paying taxes to bailout these big firms, and there’s been no change in behavior, no change in structure, no change in regulation.

Bannon’s idea makes the most sense

Politics are never as simple as right versus left. “Generation Zero” is a film born of right-wing sensibilities, but it may be more even-handed than you realize. So as our economic recession continues – with no “sustainable recovery” in sight, according to Ben Bernanke – you may think that you need a low rate personal loan now and again. Provided you do not borrow more than you can repay, you won’t be making the same mistake that got us all in this mess in the first place.

(Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drexler/ / CC BY 2.0)

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