I haven’t time write a full-on review because of commitments to attend four schmooze parties today (brunches for Carol and Mr. Holmes‘ Ian McKellen at 11 am, a 3pm gathering for Beasts of No Nation and a soiree for the Spotlight gang at 5 pm), but my estimation of Adam McKay‘s The Big Short shot way up last night when I caught it for a second time. I still don’t get a good portion of the flim-flam jargon and I still find the financial milieu rank and appalling, but the second viewing was the charm. I honestly feel like a slightly wiser and better person for having seen it. Seriously…it expanded my horizons. Obviously not in a Bhagavad Gita sense but in a crusty, eye-rolling fashion. It’s not a rumor — we live in a country that is largely ruled by financial criminals and the people they’ve bought off.
The Big Short is a fascinating deep dive into a galaxy I’ve never really visited before, and after doing some research yesterday and skimming through the Michael Lewis book I suddenly awoke to the film, or somehow found that switch that allowed my brain to not only accept but savor what the movie is pushing.
Advice to HE readers: If you want to half-understand and therefore enjoy The Big Short, you need to do one of the following: (a) see it twice like I have — it really makes a difference, (b) acquire some personal experience in investments and/or the high-end financial markets, (c) arrange to be born into a wealthy, connected family that talks about financial crap at the breakfast table, or (d) be smarter than me, Scott Feinberg, Sasha Stone and other blogaroonies who had a little trouble with it the other night. But if you have more brain power, family wealth, some experience in the market and a willingness to see The Big Short a second time, the curtains will part and you’ll find a special arousal, a spark, a little bit of Tom Wolfe‘s “aha!” phenomenon.
During the eight years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower presidency (Jan. ’53 to Jan. ’61), individuals making $200K or more per year ($1.7 million in 2015 dollars) paid a top marginal rate of 91%. Today’s top rate is 39.6%, applying to singles making $413,200 or more per year or jointly-filing married couples making $464,850 or more annually. The highest-ever income tax bracket was in place during 1944 and ’45, when couples making more than $200K paid 94%. Bernie, radical loon that he is, wants rich folk to pay around 50% or roughly 11% more than they do now. (Sourced from Politifact.)