COLUMN: The Jersey mob and global recessions

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 05:21 PM.

The booming 90’s economy was at its nadir when the series opened in 1999.  During a power struggle between Tony and his Uncle Junior in the first episode, Junior says, “Things are good, I’ll grant you that. But this economy is so robust you get credit for (stuff) you had nothing to do with.”

Indeed, the stock market was so strong then that one could almost throw a dart at the Dow and make money.

Tony and wife Carmela were continually conflicted over investing in the market. Tony harbored bundles of cash and preferred “putting his money on the street," rather than committing it to legitimate investments.

Carmela was fearful for her financial future if something happened to Tony, a theme that resonates with many American women. She hounded Tony to invest in the market.

Tony responded, “Stocks? You’ve got to be high up in the corporate structure to make that … work for you.” Tony’s cynicism regarding the market reflects the negative attitudes that some Americans associate with investing.

When the actual global recession ensued, Tony’s captains brought him lighter envelopes. Tony calls his troops together and tells them, “You’re supposed to be earners, so earn!” Then he implores his henchman, Silvio Dante, to explain the economic facts of life to his employees.

“Two things have always been immune to these kind of recessions,” says Silvio.  “… show business … and our thing.” Only “their thing” wasn’t immune. It was just as vulnerable as the general American economy was when the mortgage lending crisis evolved and the housing market collapsed.

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