Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Avoiding Oversight At All Costs

Some Banks Want to Return Government Money

Paying back all those funds would be difficult in this tough economic environment. But banking executives worry that the government may intrude further into their businesses as long as they are beholden to Washington.

“We just think that operating our business without the government capital would be an easier thing to do,” said David A. Viniar, the chief financial officer of Goldman. “We’d be under less scrutiny, and under less pressure. Not that we’d be out of the public eye; we’re still going to be in the public eye.”


Facing Oversight, Banks Go on Offense

The banks helmed by Blankfein and the other seven chief executives called to appear before the House Financial Services Committee this morning received $165 billion from the $700 billion government bailout. Lawmakers are furious at the executives over accounts of their lavish spending since receiving the taxpayer funds, and have attacked them for hoarding the money instead of using it to boost lending.

"This is going to be a torture session for them; they know they are going to be pilloried, particularly by the Democrats on the committee," said Anne Mathias, director of policy research for Stanford Group, a financial services firm. "They know that they have to reframe the debate on their own terms and show that they understand the public frustration."


Obama on Nationalization

Obama: Sweden, on the other hand, had a problem like this. They took over the banks, nationalized them, got rid of the bad assets, resold the banks and, a couple years later, they were going again. So you'd think looking at it, Sweden looks like a good model. Here's the problem; Sweden had like five banks. [LAUGHS] We've got thousands of banks. You know, the scale of the U.S. economy and the capital markets are so vast and the problems in terms of managing and overseeing anything of that scale, I think, would -- our assessment was that it wouldn't make sense. And we also have different traditions in this country.


Yeah, that's Obama getting it completely wrong. Wrong as wrong can be...

And who benefits? Exactly.

We do not benefit. Not you and I. Not Main street. The ones that used deregulation and off-shoring to destroy a strong economy are still being handed gold on silver platters while the rest of us go without.

But we must continue going without because we have different traditions in this country. Traditions like what Obama - plutocracy?