February 21, 2009

Traders In Chicago Know Whats Up

VIDEO: 'The government is promoting bad behavior... do we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages... This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage? President Obama are you listening? How about we all stop paying our mortgage! It's a moral hazard'...


A CNBC analyst on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this morning responded to President Obama's proposed $275 billion deficit-financed homeowner bailout plan and other massive spending measures with a call for a new "tea party."

Rick Santelli, in a nearly three-minute rant that drew approving cheers and comments from nearby traders, said the Obama administration's promotion of bad behavior must be causing the founding fathers to roll over in their graves.

"We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July," Santelli told CNBC "Squawk Box" co-anchor Joe Kernan. "All you capitalists who want to show up at Lake Michigan, I'm going to start organizing."

CNBC posted on its website video of Santelli's rant, which some viewers already are comparing to the well-known scene from the movie "Network" in which character Howard Beale stands up in the middle of his newscast and declares, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

"I have an idea – you know, the new administration is big on computers and technology," Santelli said sarcastically. "How about this president and new administration, why don't you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a chance to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water."

An unidentified trader on the floor near Santelli shouted out, "Hey Rick, that's a novel idea."

Co-anchor Kernan tried to humor Santelli, responding to the support from the traders by interjecting, "They're like putty in your hands."

"No they're not, Joe, they're not like putty in our hands. This is America."

Santelli then turned his back to the camera and dramatically asked the traders on the floor, "How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise (your) hand."

A large moan went up from the floor as none of the traders appeared to raise their hands.

"President Obama, are you listening?" Santelli asked to the camera.

The unidentified trader to Santelli's right then leaned into the analyst and said loud enough to be picked up on microphone, "How 'bout we all stop paying our mortgages. It's a moral hazard."

Kernan then said, "This is like mob rule here. I'm getting scared."

"Don't get scared, Joe," Santelli responded. "Cuba used to have mansions and a relatively decent economy. They moved from the individual to the collective, now they're driving '54 Chevys, maybe the last great car to come out of Detroit."

After an exchange with another guest, Santelli returned at the end of the segment, referring to the traders as a "pretty good statistical cross-section of America, the silent majority."

"Not-so-silent majority," said co-anchor Becky Quick.

Quick asked Santelli if the traders were opposed to other economic measures from the Obama administration, including the newly approved $787 billion stimulus plan.

"They're pretty much of the notion that you can't buy your way into prosperity," he replied. "And if the multiplier that all of these Washington economists are selling us is … that we never have to worry about the economy again, the government should spend a trillion dollars an hour, because we'll get 1.5 trillion back.

CNBC panelist Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of WL Ross & Co., interjected, "Rick, I congratulate you on your new incarnation as a revolutionary leader."

"Somebody needs one," Santelli responded. "I'll tell you what, if you read our founding fathers, people like Benjamin Franklin and Jefferson, what we're doing in this country now is making them roll over in their graves."

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