6 Responses

  1. marty smoler
    marty smoler May 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm | | Reply

    I think that you are much more right than wrong but do indeed miss a key point. Had many (perhaps most) of the leaders of the bailed out banks been indicted and (hopefully) served prison sentences for the incredible abuses that took place several things would have happened and all of them would have been good.

    1) The talent (???) pool in the banks is large and deep and there would have been no problem with leadership shortage to steer the banks through the crisis.

    2) The new leadership would have received a harsh warning that they were personally responsible and accountable and had better be well informed and think twice before following a course (outsized risk with others funds) similar to their predecessor. That alone may well have improved the performance of the top leadership.

    3) Main street would have been much more satisfied that their interests were being considered even if only after the fact. That satisfaction would have reduced the reticence to return to the markets and also shorten the time that Wall Street would be accused of being favored by the bailout.

    4) Your point that the bailout has been repaid is (and continues to be) part of the problem. Whether or not the losses are repaid, as long as the perpetrators continue to believe that the only consequence is repaying a fine, the behavior at the top will not change. It is not their money they use to pay any fine and the outsized salaries and bonuses they collect during the wrongdoing are personal and continue to be strong motivation to continue the behavior that caused the problem.

  2. Harold Sader
    Harold Sader May 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm | | Reply

    Hi Bill,
    Generally speaking, I am with Marty. The presumption that only the corrupt can run the railroads and the banking industry is not one that I am willing to accept. What must occur is a change in the culture and, unfortunately, that will result only from regulation and accountability. Regulation without accountability will be ignored!

  3. Harold Sader
    Harold Sader May 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm | | Reply

    “If a poor man steals a car he’s a lizard,
    If a rich man steals a railroad he’s a wizard”

    Yip Harburg (wrote the lyrics to Over the Rainbow and Finnian’s Rainbow

  4. Kate Fitzsimmons
    Kate Fitzsimmons May 18, 2014 at 5:51 pm | | Reply

    Evidently you have struck quite a cord. People will continue to feel strongly about this issue as long as they know that the consequences for greed and reckless stupidity are rewarded rather than punished. Gretchen Morgenson’s column in today’s (5/18) NY Times asks tougher questions than Geithner is evidently getting on his scripted book tour. As far as I’m concerned, nothing short of reviving the Glass-Steagall Act will keep this all from happening again.

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