Recap: Tenement Talks with Eliot Spitzer and ProPublica

Posted on: October 12th, 2011 at 10:11 am by

Last night, in conjunction with online publication ProPublica, the Tenement Museum held an investigatory discussion about Wall Street and the overall state of the financial sector.  Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, whose dad grew up at Fourth and B, was the moderator, talking with esteemed journalists Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein.  It was definitely one of the more popular Tenement Talks in recent years, prompting a queue around the corner onto Delancey. The museum initially expected to host the event in the new Sadie Samuelson Levy Center across the street, but things didn’t quite work out.  Nevertheless, the ante is definitely upped for this popular series.

For roughly one hour (and the subsequent Q+A), Spitzer engaged the panelists with precise questions about the crux of the financial crisis.  There was a certain energy in the room, a sense of frustration, that helped feed the discussion.  Boiled down to its basics, the complex conversation touched upon the notions that not much has really changed since the financial collapse and that old habits still die hard.  Pretty much a summation of what “Main Street” says about Wall Street on a daily basis – lack of accountability, “socializing risk, and privatizing gain,” etc.

So inevitably, the discourse meandered to the subject of Occupy Wall Street.  Eisinger, Bernstein, and Spitzer each agreed that the protest is generally a good thing.  That it’s a “visceral scream of anger,” and people are doing the right thing by making their voices heard. For a brief moment, the former governor even seemed like he was campaigning.

Spitzer also seized the opportunity to provide his two cents on the matter, which we captured on audio-tape. Listen here:

This discussion was the inaugural ProPublica event, with more in the coming months. Check the full schedule here [PDF]

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