From the recording Paper Hurricanes
Paper Hurricanes – It may shock you to know that being a musician does not pay my bills. For that, I have a day job, doing about the most uncool thing you can imagine. I am a mortgage broker. So I watched from the inside as my industry brought our nation to its knees through greed.
My mother went to work for Countrywide Mortgage in the ‘70s, when they were a fairly small company with 15 offices, nationally. She worked in the largest “corporate” office, where there were a grand total of 5 employees. Countrywide president and founder, Angelo Mozillo had already been run out of San Diego as a corrupt loan officer. So with the help of some Ivy League friends, he opened his own direct lender, so he could rip off hard-working families without a middle-man. Eventually, Countrywide became, hands down, the largest mortgage company in the country, owning 20% of the mortgages in our entire nation, all the while practicing anti-competitive and corrupt policies. Because that’s the truth about how you succeed in our nation.
After poor Angelo’s lifetime of grift, his substitution of aggression over ethical and sound business practice caught up with him. Unfortunately, not before we had let his company become so powerful, that when it finally sank, it brought us all down with him. Actually, it brought his COMPANY down and us along with it. Angelo’s just fine. Today, he is worth $600 million dollars. I can’t repeat that enough times. $600 million dollars for bringing a nation to its knees.
This is why I believe the American dream is a deception. For most of us, you can’t simply work your way to the top. And the ones who are on top can run us all into the ground, destroying everything they touch, and still maintain their positions of wealth without consequence. All my friends are working class people who bust their asses at their jobs. But no matter how hard we work, none of us will ever be rewarded $600 million dollars for our honest labor. That kind of money requires corruption, nepotism or extreme luck. Usually all three. You certainly can’t dedicate your life to educating our youth and expect much in material rewards. No, for that profession, you’ll barely make enough to afford a home in a decent neighborhood and raise a family. Very few factory workers are going to work their way from the factory floor to $600 million dollars in riches. But that is the deceit we buy into. The one that keeps us toiling to enrich others and continuing to vote against our own interests, in the false hope that one day, those rewards will be ours. We vote for wealthy men who pretend to love us during election season, then spend the rest of their careers washing the backs of the corporate interests that purchased their political positions. The very corporations that will employ our political leaders again when they return to the private sector, with cushy corner offices and obscene salaries that can’t possibly reflect the amount of work they do in equal comparison to the men and women working in the trenches who actually turn the engine of the machine that cranks out their precious dollars.
So this is my pissed off protest song. Every man with an acoustic guitar is required to have one. After what we’ve seen in the last 12 years, I don’t understand why every person in the nation isn’t singing one of their own.
“This machine kills corporatists”.
If you would like more eye-opening insight into how our national economy collapsed, I suggest checking out the podcast “Bad Bank”, at www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/375/bad-bank
For more on the song Paper Hurricanes, I created a video series that documents the writing and recording process from the moment the idea first came to me, sitting on my couch just after midnight, to the final studio mix. You can check it out at www.youtube.com/grampadrew, or hop to the final video in the series at http://youtu.be/xAI9RlOA_Kw. In the videos, I specifically target Angelo Mozillo and Countrywide Mortgage, as I hold them largely responsible for the economic collapse of our nation.