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Krugman on Sick Banks, Bad Policy Choices, and Team Obama’s (Misplaced) Anger

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Paul Krugman is back to his old form on the financial services beat, now that the cracks in the Paulson/Geithner/Bernanke “give the banks what they want now, in size, worry about cleanup later” strategy is proving to have been the wrong way to go.

My big beef is that he didn’t go far enough and is WAAY too forgiving of the motivations and actions of Larry Summers and by extension, Team Obama.

Krugman draws the distinction, which is crucial, between capital markets operations and  traditional banking, meaning on balance sheet lending (and some of that was treated as off balance sheet but really isn’t. Big case in point here is credit cards, where issuers are stepping in to shore up trusts that are showing much larger losses than anticipated). Krugman argues that the capital markets players have rebounded nicely, but lenders, on whom the economy depends too, are still in trouble:

…while the wheeler-dealer side of the financial industry, a k a trading operations, is highly profitable again, the part of banking that really matters — lending, which fuels investment and job creation — is not…

You may recall that earlier this year there was a big debate about how to get the banks lending again. Some analysts, myself included, argued that at least some major banks needed a large injection of capital from taxpayers, and that the only way to do this was to temporarily nationalize the most troubled banks. The debate faded out, however, after Citigroup and Bank of America, the banking system’s weakest links, announced surprise profits. All was well, we were told, now that the banks were profitable again.

But a funny thing happened on the way back to a sound banking system: last week both Citi and BofA announced losses in the third quarter. What happened?

Part of the answer is that those earlier profits were in part a figment of the accountants’ imaginations. More broadly, however, we’re looking at payback from the real economy. In the first phase of the crisis, Main Street was punished for Wall Street’s misdeeds; now broad economic distress, especially persistent high unemployment, is leading to big losses on mortgage loans and credit cards.

And here’s the thing: The continuing weakness of many banks is helping to perpetuate that economic distress. Banks remain reluctant to lend, and tight credit, especially for small businesses, stands in the way of the strong recovery we need.

Yves here. This is directionally correct, and I am glad to see Krugman bang the drum on nationalization, or temporary receivership, or whatever brand you need to slap on it to get Americans to stomach it. Taking out dud banks, resolving their bad loans, and recapitalizing and privatizing the viable parts has been shown to be the fastest way of a financial crisis. All other roads lead to Japan, and the Japanese told us loudly and clearly in the early stages of the crisis not to repeat their mistakes.

But there are a couple of crucial omissions. Recall that Meredith Whitney seemed a bit stunned at the brazenness of 1Q bank earnings games. She called the profits “manufactured” but also said the banks could keep it up for another quarter or two. And remember the other tidbit: the massive credit default swap unwinds by AIG at par in January and February. The beneficiaries of this largesse said they were the most profitable trades they had EVER seen. So a big stealth earnings (and balance sheet) boost, from taxpayers to banks via AIG was also part of the surprise 1Q results.

The other bit is that Krugman sees is that the continued grind of scarce credit on the real economy serves as a feedback loop back to banks. But there is no way to avoid a good bit of deleveraging pain. In the “best practice” examples of financial crisis resolution that everyone likes to point to (in particular, the Nordic countries in the early 1990s) all showed very nasty, but comparatively short downturns. And they all cut their rates with the ECU and used an export recovery to pull their economies out of the dumps. And ALL showed permanent reductions in their standard of living. But in the realm of painful choices, taking the hit early has led to better results than muddle-through and denial.

But we also have the bit where Krugman is far too kind to the Administration:

But as one critic recently put it: “There is no financial institution that exists today that is not the direct or indirect beneficiary of trillions of dollars of taxpayer support for the financial system.”….

So who was this thundering bank critic? None other than Lawrence Summers, the Obama administration’s chief economist — and one of the architects of the administration’s bank policy, which up until now has been to go easy on financial institutions and hope that they mend themselves.

Why the change in tone? Administration officials are furious at the way the financial industry, just months after receiving a gigantic taxpayer bailout, is lobbying fiercely against serious reform. But you have to wonder what they expected to happen. They followed a softly, softly policy, providing aid with few strings, back when all of Wall Street was on the ropes; this left them with very little leverage over firms like Goldman that are now, once again, making a lot of money.

Yves again. Dear readers, do you think the Adminstration’s supposed fury is sincere, or merely playing to the crowd? Actions speak louder than words. The Administration, ONLY because the public was rip-snorting mad, announced plans to have tougher reforms in June, with details of various measures coming over July and August. Many have been largely empty (grand promises like clawbacks, with no follow up of any substance, juxtaposed with the spectacle of  the poor pay czar Kenneth Feinberg floundering with a hollow mandate). Worse, the supposedly substantive ones have been an utter joke. The “derivatives” (read credit default swaps) reform was misguided from the get-go. I was an early fan of the idea of putting them on exchanges, but I am now persuaded that that will never work (unlike real derivatives, you cannot have adequate initial margining. It would kill the product, hence you will have an inadequately capitalized exchange. And in the 1987 crash, the Merc was on the verge of failure, and if it had gone down, it would have taken down the NYSE, so exchange failures can propagate into related markets).

But not to worry, we won’t get that far, the Administration’s proposal had an industry-favoring loophole you could drive a truck through: only “standardized” contracts would trade on an exchange (or via a clearinghouse). So this reform was mere window dressing.

So why is the Administration so angry? It isn’t that there is no reform. There was never any intent to have real reform. The Administration has been an absolutely shameless backer of the banksters’ interests (and John Dizard remarked that central banks had gone from being vestal virgins to camp followers, so they are now in good company). It is the industry has become such pigs that they are making a joke of even the bogus reform put forward. They are so confident of their mastery of the gameboard that they are refusing even to go along with token concessions necessary to preserve appearances.

To put it more simply: The Executive Branch does not like being revealed as being a puppet of the banking industry. But it made this Faustian bargain, it has no one else to blame.

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36 comments

  1. Swedish Lex

    There are several analogies with Europe where the worst is yet to come from a taxpayer’s point of view (see Munchau’s article). European banks however seem disconnected from this reality (RBS & other banks saved by governments are now granting generous bonuses, Deutsche Bank wants global “regulation light”, etc). In today’s FT, the Chairman of Barclay’s wants to water down new capital requirements and limits on bonuses in order to maintain a global “level playing field”:
    “Mr Agius warned regulators not to impose excessive additional capital requirements. “As long as the banks are not nationalised, and are operated as commercial companies, they have to generate enough returns to satisfy their shareholders. . . The next time the banking system wants capital, it won’t be supplied [if] the potential new investors [don’t] see the [attraction],” he said. “One of the other consequences will be that credit will become more expensive and [that] is not conducive to . . . a return to economic growth around the world.””

    The banks conveniently forget that had it not been for taxpayers underwriting the system, they would all have been dead long time ago. Politicians can hardly disagree and distance themselves politically from the banks since the policy-makers kept shouting that the banks were solid and operational, again. Hence the quote from the Chairman of Barclays above in which he basically says that “we will keep on doing this until we are nationalised, which we will not be, which allows us to continue to behave as we do. Thank you.”
    It may be that the banks will have another unpleasant rendez vous with a harsh economic reality in 2010, at which point taxpayers (again) will have to work out what to do with the banks.

  2. attempter

    It’s good that Krugman feels the time is right to try bringing this up again, after he basically capitulated to the “green shoots” theme over the summer.

    But he’s still the same old dissenter-firmly-within-the-system. In the end he hasn’t and appearently won’t learn that “nationalizing” these things couldn’t work even if it were to be done. It’s the size in itself which is the existential evil.

    As for the politics of it, it’s another weird compromise like single-payer vs. the public option: Break up the TBTF banks vs. nationalize and restore.

    In both cases, where it’s possible to do the latter, it’s probably possible to do the former (and the momentum that a truly principled policy would self-generate as it attracts the support of all the best, truly worthwhile people, who have spent all these years in the wilderness, would be what would put it over the top).

    From watching how health care has played out we know by now that where policy-makers temporize with the halfway solution, they really only want to maintain the status quo. They want to use the anodyne proposal to neutralize support for the real solution (and drive the Overton window away from it), and then drop the halfway reform as well somewhere along the way.

    That’s what Obama always planned to do with the public option, and that’s what he’s still trying to do. And if we ever did reach the point where Swedish-style bank nationalization was “seriously” considered, that too would be just another stalling action vs. the clear truth which points the way to the only true solution:

    Too Big To Fail is Too Big To Exist.

  3. gordon

    Yes, job creation and bank lending are probably connected somehow; more connected than job creation and a casino, anyhow. Mr. Mort Zuckerman thinks so, and suggests in his Financial Times piece that maybe a Govt. bank might not be such a bad idea, because it might lend some money to people other than sheer gamblers.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b3565084-bc02-11de-9426-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss&nclick_check=1

    Mr Zuckerman’s bank would specialise in infrastructure. I don’t know why he imposes this limitation on it. He credits the idea to Felix Rohatyn, and says in part that such a bank would: “provide long-term infrastructure development on a major scale with a maximum multiplier effect on the economy”. Maybe Mr Zuckerman thinks that infrastructure projects have a higher multiplier than other forms of Govt. investment. If so, he doesn’t offer any numbers.

    As one of the few who advocated the creation of a Govt. bank back in the first half of 2008, Mr Zuckerman’s idea (or Mr Rohatyn’s, I suppose) sounds welcome but awfully late. A lot of Govt. money has already been spent on bailouts which could have gone into capitalising a Govt. bank. However if Prof. Krugman is right, banks are still not performing all their banking functions (like lending), so the need is still there.

    I wonder which has the biggest multiplier, job-wise: capitalising a bank which actually lends, or fiscal stimulus? Or are they really the same thing?

    (crossposted from Economist’s View)

  4. Fred

    Buyers’ remorse, anyone? Krugman has made the first tentative steps to shed Bush Derangement Syndrome. He’s still a long way from being a functioning economist.

  5. fresno dan

    “Yves again. Dear readers, do you think the Adminstration’s supposed fury is sincere, or merely playing to the crowd? Actions speak louder than words”

    When you stop paying attention to what politicians say, and start looking at what they do, life becomes very simple.

    “And ALL showed permanent reductions in their standard of living. But in the realm of painful choices, taking the hit early has led to better results than muddle-through and denial.”

    O, you meant ECONOMIES…I was gonna say, my standard of living is lower, but I don’t think those guys at Goldman Sucks have taken any hit…

  6. anon

    The recent quarter bank losses are small relative to capital.

    And what happened to household deleveraging at the macro level? Are the banks supposed to be responsible for preventing that?

    And why does reform need to be done yesterday?

    1. eh

      What happened to the dire need to get rid of all those ‘toxic assets’? What happened to the urgent need for the PPP? How much is being hidden by the recent relaxation of ‘mark to market’?

  7. Skippy

    Scrawny tawny arm, paw and claw raised to the sky, why_oh_why_does Yves vex me sooo.

    Devotio moderna is Krugmans burden, his likness to Johann Tetzel (some say created advertising / jingles) with his “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs.” is too close for my comfort and can take his effort to rebuild the Basilica some where else.

    Skippy…On his deathbed, Tetzel received a magnanimously penned correspondence from Martin Luther, stating that the child (i.e. the scandal) had a different father…will they share the same fate…um.

  8. Siggy

    Don’t care for Krugman’s politics. Find his economics marginal. He is very late to the pary here. But then, the current spin is such that even he must now rail out with some babble.

    When this country needed a good five cent cigar, zombie institutions failed and we had disconfort and moderate chaos. I think the healthiest thing that could now occur would be a rip roaring financial debacle. A full blown depression, and one that was reported as such in the media.

    Zombie banks, AIG etal should have been put thru bankruptcy, or perhaps conservatorship. What continues to drag are the so called legacy assets. What we have not seen is the write off of the CDO’s and CDO^2. Given that those little beauties represent a concentration of loss, it is fair to assume that their present value is zero. That’s the unspoken feces in the stew.

  9. Ina Pickle

    I was yet again disgusted to read in the WaPo this morning that the Administration “upbraided” wall street for its practices. Nice. That is a lot like the father in the story of the prodigal son sending angry postcards to his profligate offspring.

    Until they get done upbraiding and somebody starts uprooting, there is no point. The fake economy has the real economy by the throat. But as a REAL economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, once said: you are in a limo stopped at a stoplight at night in a burned out neighborhood with unemployed guys standing all around on the street: feel safe? There is only so much blood they can get out of the rest of us.

  10. ian

    There was no “Faustian bargain.” The administration never had a choice. Congress is owned by the financial industry. There are carrots (lucrative jobs after one’s term ends) and sticks (Wouldn’t want anything “bad” to happen to you or yours, eh?). This is going on from the most junior congressman to the president, no matter who it is. The financial industry is the new mafia, and we all of us, top to bottom, dance to its tune.

  11. Jim in MN

    Krugman has shared the woozy chalice of piss-poor Depression scholarship with Bernanke and most ‘real economists’.

    An iota of effort at real research into the Depression (the old one) shows it came in three main phases: Crash, slump, and depression. All this federal stimulus policy addresses only the third phase. It is mistimed at best and quite possibly counterproductive being several years too early.

    Alas, the glories of the WPA and the prospect of their faces being featured in lovely populist murals on stern state edifices have blinded Krugman, Bernanke and their ilk to the fact that we aren’t in the depression part yet. Their eagerness to spend our children’s money has blinded them to any bother of actually analyzing the early stages of debt collapse, and the crucial connections between the financial sector and the real economy.

    As I have pointed out about two dozen times, it took about three years for the Feds to figure out that they couldn’t address the banking crisis sitting on their butts in DC and NY in the 1930s. Read up on the Detroit and Chicago collapses, and how many of today’s banks were begun in those days out of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Yes, Virginia, we had Federal agents on bank boards and behind bank lending desks then. It just took a while.

    We need them now. Force lending to real economic activity or find out what happens when Big Finance keeps all the chips. It’s called hoarding, or a banker’s strike. Not pretty words. We have forgotten the simplest lessons it seems.

    Krugman is part of the DC-NY ‘thing’…and it will not learn fast enough…because it implies a reordering of power. Instead they will try to increase their power, inflicting yet more massive damage on the ‘little people’.

    Not sure which tragic literary reference to go with here. Fill in the blanks.

    Sad.

  12. Prof Evil

    Yves

    Krugman believes what all neoclassical economists believe. That infinite growth is possible and desirable. Why oh why can he and others like him not admit that the limit to credit (outside of the casino) is the borrower’s ability to service the debt given future income. Income must be earned in exchange for wages or profits or rents. Wages, profits, and rents are all real world phenomena and subject to material and temporal limitations. Getting credit flowing again is simply wrong in reality. Improving wages & profits (since these are the major sources of income in the world economy) is the only way out of this problem. Yet, all we hear from the cheerleaders in the press and in government is: more debt! more debt! more debt! I would say that this mantra is only in the banker’s interest, but, in fact, it is not! Everyone loses once we have overshot the capacity of the real economy to service debts as expected future incomes from wages, profits, and rents fail to materialize as planned. Leading to a vicious cycle and the need to completely reconfigure the economic apparatus if it is to recover.

    1. Siggy

      The proper extension of credit is, indeed, all about the ability of the borrower to repay. Most of the sub-prime loans should not have been made under any circumstance. A very high percentage of the ALT-A loans should not have been made. The trading in Credit Default Swaps should have been brought under regulation when Brooksly Born raised the issue.

      The repeal of Glass-Steagell should never have been allowed. Most of the eggregious bonuses recently paid and/or contemplated should not have/will occur/ed.

      A massive amount of fraud has been commited and yet the SEC, the Fed, the FDIC, the Treasury, the Congress and the Administration are incapable of plain speech. A large number of people from AIG need to be under ivestigation if not indictment.

  13. Francois T

    “Dear readers, do you think the Administration’s supposed fury is sincere, or merely playing to the crowd?”

    There could be a bit of both here. Given the steadily deteriorating job market, the fact that the Administration plan to mitigate foreclosures is a unmitigated (pun intended) failure, and the Wall Street is behaving so in-our-face, regarding bonuses and trading excesses, me think the Obama team is starting to realize this whole thing to blow up in their faces at election time in 2010.

    It is also a try to play to the crowd. After all, the banksters are the most important donors to the political class. No point in *really* alienating these people, as long as the crowd feels the pols are “doing something about it”…which is very little.

  14. Francois T

    oops!
    “this whole thing to blow up in their faces” should read
    “this whole thing *could* blow up in their faces”

  15. Jesse

    It is not so clear to me that lending into this economy without a signficant financial and structural reform would do any good.

    As for a government bank, why would that turn out any differently than Fannie or Freddie? Would it not become merely another trough to feed the pigs, a pool of corruption?

    Break up the banks, and limit them to traditional commercial activities if they partake of FDIC and the Fed, and they will lend with an eye to profitability and reasonable projects. Yes, bring back Glass-Steagall.

    Fund public works with public money by all means. The bond markets are open. Let the people vote on them.

    Tighten capitalization levels and type restrictions on the market gamblers like Goldman. Enforce the laws we have.

    Put a stop to the accounting fraud with real enforcement and real punishments. Right now the risk-reward ratio favors white collar crime by a long shot. Steal millions, rarely get caught and if you do get a slap on the wrist.

    Ban all corporate contributions to politicians. Period. Tight up on the lobbyist activities, and bring a lot of daylight to the subject on a monthly basis.

    Would this less our competitiveness? Would Wall Street wiseguys and slimy politicians go to other countries for better opportunities? Good. After they pay back taxes and clawbacks.

    Put more transparency in the stock and bond markets. Much more. and position limits across the board. and if you exceed them on an exemption, your portfolio holding gets disclosed each week, with amounts by each ‘commercial hedger.’

    1. gordon

      If you think it’s inevitable that a Govt. bank would become a “pool of corruption”, why do you think that the other reforms you propose are possible?

      “Enforce the laws we have”? Surely recent history shows that in the face of the sort of power wielded by Big Finance this is no easier than running a Govt. bank honestly.

  16. wally

    What? Speculative gambling and ripping off the hand that feeds you are not the core of a solid economic recovery?

    Well, who knew?

    Summers, for one, is either a fool or has been played for one. Obama is still riding at least the vestiges of a wave of goodwill… but how long did Hoover ride the same?

  17. Doug Terpstra

    “Yves again. Dear readers, do you think the Adminstration’s supposed fury is sincere, or merely playing to the crowd?”

    Oh how you tease us with rhetorical questions! I can imagine Larry Summers jowls quivering, not with anger but rather derisive mirth, as he does his play-acting to defuse public wrath.

    I had read Krugman’s piece elsewhere first and felt that he too was phoning in his blase performance—ho-hum:

    “…Whatever. In any case, as a political matter the moment for radical action on banks has clearly passed.

    The main thing for the time being is probably to do as much as possible to support job growth. With luck, this will produce a virtuous circle in which an improving economy strengthens the banks, which then become more willing to lend.”

    “Whatever … for the time being … probably … with luck …” Hey, job growth might be a good idea. Give that man a Nobel Prize!

  18. rd

    Every year Congress and whatever Administration puts in an inflation “fix” for the AMT. Everybody knows it needs to be done (unless they want it to be the flat-tax income tax system a few years from now) and everybody knows it will be coming for years to come. However, as politicians they are incapable of doing the hard choices involved with real accounting of doing it as a permanent fix.

    Why would we expect anything different with the financial system? Both Administrations and Congress just trudged along kicking the can along the road once 2009 arrived. They elected in the spring to punt and pray.

    They are now finding out that their “friends” in the financial sector have given them a Faustian bargain. They could either have made hard choices that make AMT reform look like a picnic if they choose to do what really needs to be done (campaign contributions will also shrivel up). Their selected alternative route of guaranteeing the financial sector won’t fail and handing over 0% financing so their problems can “work out over time” means that the financial sector knows that the pols are bought and paid for so the bonuses can roll again in a brazen, Bacchanalian public manner.

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?

    The real test will be the next market/financial collapse (probable within 2 years). I suspect that both the politicians and financial sector are going to be shocked at the phone calls and e-mails that will roll into Washington when TARP/Stumulus II is requested. It will be very interesting if it occurs next Aug-October when the mid-term election campaigns are in full flight.

  19. Hugh

    The crowd around here has really toughened up of late. I love it.

    attempter is right that Summers’ tough talk to banks echoes the healthcare debate. There Obama was being critical of the insurance industry and use of bogus studies to do a last minute spike to the healthcare “reform” in general. But it is all kabuki. It doesn’t matter what Summers and Obama say that is important but what they are doing. And what they are doing is engineering bailouts and sellouts to precisely those they are supposedly taking to task.

    Dr. Evil is correct too that we won’t be out of this until there are real jobs with real and increasing wages attached to them.

    The TBTF are too big too exist. They distort markets and are remarkably inefficient in their vanilla commercial operations. They need to be put through bankruptcy, restructured, made smaller, and focused on more local markets and communities. They need to know to whom they are lending.

    It is also important to realize that the solutions that would have worked two years ago when the housing bubble burst would not have worked a year ago after the financial meltdown. Similarly, what we could have done then is not necessarily what we need to do now. The crisis has progressed. It rather like your barbecue catching fire and then your deck and then your house. As the problem expands so does what is needed to address it.

    So we need to look at debt. Even if banks were willing to loan, everyone is too indebted to take on yet more debt investing in new enterprises or buying the products that those enterprises would produce.

    We are at a point where I don’t see us getting out of this without a fair amount of debt repudiation. We also will need several years of governmental stimulus seeing as it is the only one with any money to create jobs and wages that will allow us to climb out of the hole that every President from Reagan onward has been digging for us.

    Will this happen? Unlikely. It isn’t just Obama or Summers. Our elites across the board just aren’t up to it, from goofy Republicans to Krugman. They have a track record of not doing what is needed to the roots of our various financial and economic crises, to their going splat, to now.

    This is in no way to imply that what we do and say here is futile. We lay out what the alternatives are. We put on the record that yes, this was, and what will come was, foreseeable. And even if we can not change what will happen, we can at least bear witness to it. That is something.

    1. Hugh

      I would say it is out and out dishonest. I am tired of being lied to and feeling that I need to qualify my description of it or use a euphemism for it.

  20. mmckinl

    Absolutely excellent column by Yves …

    Krugman is just another shill for business as usual … He can’t or won’t differentiate between a mistake and malfeasance and / or malevolence.

    It was completely obvious to most when in December Obama announced his economic team and reconfirmed with the re-appointment of Bernanke …

    Yves hits the bullseye …

    1. mmckinl

      ““Even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked””

      Apparently Krugman doesn’t …

  21. mechanic

    Outlandish salaries and bonuses, investment banks making their nut “trading” the market, billion $ per year shadow bankers paying 15 % tax rate, and on and on.

    The life blood, and at least a contributing likely cause of the looting of the Middle Class is the concentration of wealth in America. The inordinately low real marginal rate tax on income, passive investment, capital gains, financial transactions and salaries, unearned income transfers, and any other of a host of special features built into the tax system to assist the aristocrats in their quest to transfer costs and risks regressively to the citizens.

    The most direct way to limit the ravages of aristocratic despots is to tax them. I am with Thomas Jefferson: The rise of a powerful aristocracy is the greatest danger to our freedom. Period.

  22. craazyman

    One largely silent group who does have real power to effect change are the trustees/fiduciaries/directors of institutional portfolios.

    Institutions have life spans and investment horizons measured in decades, not quarters. And they own large positions in the stocks of bankster companies.

    If these individuals can think beyond the end of the pimple on their nose, they’d see that casino capitalism run amuk is the clearest danger there is to the long-term value of their portfolios, and the biggest threat they face to funding long-term institutional expenses.

    A socially broad and widely shared prosperity is the best medicine for healthy institutional investments over the long-term.

    The government-supported bankster rape of the economy is sure to end in total economic disaster and is sure to produce nothing but long-term misery for institutional investments.

    I think most of these folks are totally asleep, brutally incompetent or so corrupted by their proximity to money that they exist in a state of mental moral castration. The investment managers themselves are probably a hopeless constituency to expect anything like this from — but there may be select individuals with some degree of philosophical gravitas who do have directorships, trustee roles, etc. who might have influence.

    If they could manage a “Saul on the Road to Damascus” experience, they might call up the banksters, who are hired managers working for institutional stockholders, and say:

    “Look, we own X million shares of your company. The way you are conducting yourselves and your business threatens to destroy the very viability of the economy and American democracy. Sure, the Fed and Treasury can bail you out with middle-class-America’s money and juice your stock over the very short term — and yes we benefit there. But the rest of our portfolio, over the long term, is going to deflate like a leaky tire, thanks to you. So we’re going to start using our muscle to change your directors, to get you fired, to change your ways of business, to reign in your lobbyists, to change the way you work with Washington and to turn your little life upside down. You work for us and we’re going to start letting you know it.”

    I won’t hold my breath. But it would be nice to read a news story about how so-and-so called up one of the banksters and let them have it. Nothing like a little moral leadership to help change the cultural dynamic.

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