Cartoon: Who To Blame?

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PANELS 1 & 2. The Federal Reserve, depicted as a professorial-looking man (bow tie, pipe), cheerily talking to a balding, working-class looking dude in an undershirt. Working class dude is listening without much expression.
FEDERAL RESERVE: hi! i’m the federal reserve! i practically run the economy! i COULD use my powers to lower unemployment, but INVESTORS don’t want that. in fact, whenever unemployment gets LOW, i make it go UP. because that’s what wall street wants. i purposely create unemployment!
PANELS 3 & 4 The Federal Reserve is gone, and in his place is The Banking Industry, depicted as a balding man in a vest, tie and jacket, and with dollar bills floating in the air around him. Banking Industry is even more cheerful than Federal Reserve was. Working class dude continues listening expressionlessly.
BANKING INDUSTRY: hey there! I’m the banking industry. i pack the government with my friends, and gamble wildly until i destroy the entire economy. after that, i’ll get bailed out with YOUR tax dollars. then i’ll foreclose on the horribly inequitable mortgage i sold you and take your home!
PANEL 5: Man wearing Uncle Sam hat has now replaced Banking Industry. Uncle Sam waves cheerily. Working Class Dude continues to listen expressionlessly.
UNCLE SAM: greetings! i’m your goverment!
PANEL 6: Uncle Sam leans in and whispers. Working Class Dude continues to listen expressionlessly.
UNCLE SAM: i make little GESTURES towards reform, but in the end i always take the banks’ side! because they totally OWN me!
PANELS 7 & 8: An Immigrant Dude replaces Uncle Sam, and speaks cheerfully. Immigrant Dude looks exactly like Working Class Dude, except his skin is a little darker. Working Class Dude continues to listen expressionlessly.
IMMIGRANT DUDE: hello! i’m an immigrant. i just want to work hard to feed my family.
PANEL 9: Working Class Dude yells very loudly and angrily; Immigrant Dude winces back in surprise.

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12 Responses to Cartoon: Who To Blame?

  1. 1
    tbmf says:

    Finally people are talking about the Fed. I agree with the sentiment that the Fed is a pretty corrupt organization. It should be clear to most Americans that the Fed isn’t designed to work for Americans but for the interests of politicians and bankers. Unfortunately that’s not the case. One thing to point out though is that the our government benefits greatly from the their relationship with the Fed and Banks. Without either how would they be able to fund so many of these disastrous policies? Without the help of monetization would there really be a war in Iraq?

  2. 2
    Sebastian says:

    Perfectly rational behavour. What chance does the working class guy have if he went against the bankers or the feds? So he picks on someone he can actually hurt, and who aspires to occupy the same niche.

    Furthermore, while class mobility in the US has been steadily declining, and getting to be a lot more like the one in Mexico rather than the one in Europe, surveys show that the working poor whites here estimate their chance to move up in the world a lot higher than Europeans judge theirs.

    Thus the character in the comic yearn to get what #1, #2, and #3 got, and is afraid that he will have to share what little he has with #4. Well observed, Ampersand.

  3. 3
    Simple Truth says:

    I was a little confused by the flow of the panels (2+2+2+3, really, for the beat of the story). I visually stopped and checked the tie of the man to make sure he was supposed to have changed before I read the balloon to confirm it.
    Maybe letting the story dictate the flow of the panels, rather than shoving them together in a block would have worked more visually for me, and letting that last panel “hang out” would have a lot of impact that way. Another way would be to add a “no-reaction” panel to the others with no words if you wanted to keep them the same length.

    Just suggestions from my point of view. Thanks for another great cartoon.

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Which specific transition were you confused by, ST? Fed Reserve to Banks, Banks to Uncle Sam, or Uncle Sam to Immigrant Dude?

    I agree that extra panels would have paced this a bit better. But it would have meant less room for art and words (the size of this strip was limited by the space set aside for it in Dollars and Sense).

  5. 5
    GallingGalla says:

    Getting back to the content of the cartoon, I’ve only this to say: Exactly.

  6. 6
    Dianne says:

    Furthermore, while class mobility in the US has been steadily declining, and getting to be a lot more like the one in Mexico rather than the one in Europe,

    Do you have references for this statement? (Not particularly doubting you, I just want to see the numbers.)

  7. 7
    Vidya says:

    Great comic! (But ‘Whom’, isn’t it?)

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  9. 8
    Thene says:

    Dianne, #6: here’s some data on declining social mobility in the USA. As for the rest of the world, there’s a graph here that has it that the USA has poor social mobility but slightly beats out two European nations (Italy and the UK), while being bettered by seven European nations plus Canada and Australia. I’ve not yet found any comparison data on social mobility that includes Mexico, though.

  10. 9
    Simple Truth says:


    Panel 2 to panel 3 was what snagged me – I suppose because I wasn’t expecting a transition and the guy’s face is turned up so I didn’t have facial cues to cue off of, his hair is a little obfuscated.
    I understand having to fit it into a format dictated by someone else though. It’s still very effective as a cartoon. I just know you’re constantly refining your art so I thought I would share. I wasn’t trying to detract from the content discussion.

  11. 10
    Ampersand says:

    ST, I really like heating critiques and comments about craft, so thank you. I think that craft and content discussion can coexist on one thread. :-)

  12. 11
    Charles S says:

    The top hit on google for Mexican social mobility described Mexico as having a high degree of social mobility (not surprising really, since Mexican workers have gone from being majority agricultural workers to only 12% agricultural workers in the past 50 years), although lower than some other Latin American countries. However, apparently Mexico has suffered wage stagnation in the middle class in the past two decades, so while many people are still shifting from agricultural work and manual labor to service industries and industrial labor, they are not seeing as much of a wage increase from that change as they did previously, and within the service industries and the professional class wages have stagnated.

    I think cross comparison of mobility between developing countries and developed countries is pretty difficult, but I’d still be interested to see any supporting evidence for Sebastian’s claim that Mexico has less social mobility than the US.