If you think we've finally come to the end of bailout politics, think again. This is not even the beginning of the end. It's just the end of the beginning.
Throughout the financial crisis, our private sector and public sector leaders have displayed a tin ear for politics. They’ve demanded bailouts, demanded we call the bailouts “rescues,” told us to listen to the experts, attempted to disguise recapitalizations as investment or asset purchases and all along displayed a kind of haughty lack of contrition that would be stunning if it weren’t so ubiquitous.
While the panic has pacified the public into compliance, that attitude will be short lived. When the next round of profits roll in for financial institutions and millions in bonuses are doled out, people may well remember that they made this possible. The costs were spread wide across the amber fields of grain and purple mountains, while much of the concentrated benefits will gather in glass and steel towers in Manhattan. Even if government revenues grow as a result of all this, any benefits to taxpayers will be diffuse and indirect if not entirely illusionary.
Dennis Berman’s latest column in the Wall Street Journal shows that those who still fancy themselves the titans of Wall Street seem to be oblivious to the threat of the backlash. Even when they perceive it, they regard it as irrational humbug. It’s entitlement of the affluent run amok.
You would have thought the Street's last surviving chieftains would be a contrite bunch by now, eager to reform their industry and help rebuild their country.
At least until you heardInc.'s Lloyd Blankfein, & Co.'s James Dimon, Blackstone Group LP's Stephen Schwarzman, Inc.'s Larry Fink and Silver Lake's Glenn Hutchins assemble for a panel session at the New York Stock Exchange last week organized in part by The Wall Street Journal.
To the 75 Wall Street titans there nodding in agreement, the discussion must have seemed banal. But any outsider, from Washington or the dismissed realms of "flyover country," would have been amazed at the goings-on....MORE
"American Taxpayer on the Hook for $1 Trillion of Banks Non-, Mis- and Malfeasance. Plus: Music to Hunt Bankers By"
...I understand you need the GSE's to reliquify the system fast, before the public realizes that the emperors actually have no clothes, and start hunting bankers for sport, but when do we say enough is enough?...Here's the rondo from Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 2.
Music to hunt bankers by.