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Sheila Bair Gives Her Account of the Crisis, and (Quelle Surprise!) the Bailouts and Geithner Do Not Look Pretty

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Sheila Bair’s new book Bull by the Horns is out and based on early reports, it looks like it skewers the bailouts in general and Tim Geithner in particular. But it also gets a lot into the weeds in what still needs to be fixed in bank-land, which is a part of these crisis post-mortems and retrospectives that too often get short shrift.

Rolfe Winkler at the Wall Street Journal has an informative chat with her about the book and her experience during the crisis. Despite her understated demeanor, she says some pretty eye-opening stuff, for instance, that Geithner was on the phone all the time during the worst of the crisis with Citigroup chief Pandit, with the aim of end running her. She similarly gets in an adept dig at Geithner’s lack of oversight while at the NY Fed and his relationship with his mentor Bob Rubin who was then on Citi’s board, fiddling while the bank burned pulling down over $10 million a year during his time with the bank. As William Cohan noted:

After he stepped away from Treasury in 1999, Rubin moved to Citigroup, and until 2009 he served as chairman of the executive committee and, briefly, chairman of the board of directors. On his watch, the federal government was forced to inject $45 billion of taxpayer money into the company and guarantee some $300 billion of illiquid assets. Taxpayers ended up with a 27 percent stake in Citigroup, which was sold in 2010 at a cumulative profit of $12 billion. Rubin gave up a portion of his contracted compensation–and was still paid around $126 million in cash and stock during a tenure in which his serenity has come to look a lot more like paralysis. “Nobody on this planet represents more vividly the scam of the banking industry,” says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan. “He made $120 million from Citibank, which was technically insolvent. And now we, the taxpayers, are paying for it.”

She also says that Andrew Ross Sorkin didn’t speak to her at all in his research on his book Too Big to Fail, which tried to depict Bair as “not a team player” (a kiss of death in big government jobs) and a grandstander.

I don’t want to give more away. There is more strong stuff here. Watch the interview:

Oh, and her book has a nice shout out to NC readers! And this should also tell you that signing petitions can actually be productive (hat tip Moe Tkacik):

I wish I could turn to it now, I won’t be able to read Bair’s book until the weekend. But it looks like she is determined to do what she can to press onward with her unfinished business from her days at the FDIC. I wish more soi disant public servants had this sort of resolve.

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87 comments

  1. readerOfTeaLeaves

    The passage from Cohan, as well as what I’ve heard about Bair, make the idea of banks as utilities persuasive and appealing.

    1. kxmoore

      the idea of banks as utilities will never take hold because it would put a lot of economists out of work and reveal economics as a pseudo science on a par with astrology and reading slain goats guts.

      1. Shelly

        At least goat guts are real and not conjured out of vapor like the entire banking industrial fraud and Federal money-laundering complex.

        Economists are just another abscess on the cancer of broken money — they are the buffer between fraud and record bonuses. They too, have poisoned their own profession, and will be gutted too, God knows they earned it.

        Banks as a utility? Let’s do one better, just coin real money (not paper and electrons). The fiat golden-goose is cooked — served hot to the rich and cold bones and gristle for the poor, calling it “trickle down.”

        1. F. Beard

          “Real money” is what the government requires for taxes and what the private sector voluntarily accepts for the payment of private debts.

          What the government requires for taxes should be inexpensive fiat ONLY else someone is getting a free ride. See http://libertyrevival.wordpress.com/ for more info.

        2. Up the Ante

          .. but, but, Matt the Iglesias would have us choke down MMT with those cold bones ?!

          MMT, the banksters’ riposte upon being ‘found out’.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Shouldn’t a “post office” bank be on the list of utility banking implementations? One appealing aspect is that the bricks and mortar infrastructure is already there, in addition to electronic money handling infrastructure.

      1. F. Beard

        Yes!

        But it should simply serve as a fiat storage and transaction service, make no loans and pay no interest. And after it is established then the lender of last resort and government deposit insurance should be abolished. Of course that would cause a massive run on the banks which is one reason why we need a universal bailout first so all deposits are 100% covered by reserves.

        The cancer can be removed but it has to be done delicately.

        1. Up the Ante

          ” ..one reason why we need a universal bailout first .. ”

          You would deprive the banksters of their adolescent riposte ?

          1. F. Beard

            Sure would. I’m surprised no one has done it yet.

            I suppose cheap counterfeiters are tolerable so long as the rest of the population has a decent living or at least a chance for one. I don’t envy bankers but I sure as heck resent them using their political henchmen to go after the poor.

          1. F. Beard

            That sounds very reasonable but measuring price inflation is very subjective. Instead, we should eliminate the primary cause of price inflation, the counterfeiting cartel – the banking system.

            It would also be wise at some point to reduce fiat to legal tender for government debts only. That would give the Federal Government (at the behest of its payees and those on fixed incomes) a strong incentive to deficit spend wisely.

      2. Aquifer

        I understand we had one some decades ago – but it was shut down, no doubt at the behest of the “private sector” – I remember reading about it not too long ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember where ….

        1. Carla

          Yes, and we have a postal service that’s being systematicaly shut down at the behest of the “private sector,” also.

  2. kxmoore

    sheila bair was quite content with the system til she figured she wasn’t getting enough cheese.. guess she didn’t have the balls/oppurtunity to thieve like mary schapiro. screw the lot of them.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      And what basis do you have for that unsubstantiated drive by shooting? You appear to be so resentful and greedy that you can’t fathom that some people are not motivated by money. I can name lots of people without thinking hard who don’t hew at all to your prejudiced view and have chosen to take much lower incomes to do what they think is worthwhile (and no, they weren’t rich before they made that choice).

      1. kxmoore

        “And what basis do you have for that unsubstantiated drive by shooting?”

        Every time I see someone struggle with honest labor.

        Bair was a good soldier in allowing the tbtf banks swallow up the minnows. They now are rtbtf (really to big to fail). now she has reservations. isn’t that typical of modern liberals. they champion worker’s rights after slapping the maid.

          1. kxmoore

            still stuck on the old republican/democrat divide huh Susan? Jeez I saw through that crap years ago. I’m an old time liberal. Look that up.

          2. bhikshuni

            “she is a Republican”

            If this evidences a crack in the GOP vaneer to expose a few voices for restructuring the financial sector and putting systems into place to avert more fraud and corruption (legal and illegal), then this is newsworthy!

            If the GOP could tack to the left, with, say, a Bloomberg and Bair 2016 ticket, AND drop its misogynist platform, it would have a very good chance rebuilding the frankenstein party into something human!

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            kxmoore,

            I’ve looked through your past comments, and I see multiple incidents where you’ve gotten abusive towards post writers. That is a reader assisted suicide request, which I am only too happy to oblige.

          4. Waking Up

            It would appear that Sheila Bair has been a fiscal conservative her entire career. However, being a fiscal conservative does not automatically mean putting the interests of the 1% and powerful over that of the remaining 99% of the population. It often (at least in the past) meant finding policies which were best for our economy as a whole. Perhaps Ms. Bair recognizes that our current economic policies (emanating from both legacy parties) are bad for the country overall.

        1. Teejay

          Bair was on the staff of former Senator Bob Dole. A real
          bleeding heart liberal that one. I’m an old time liberal myself; you’re sure giving us a bad name.

          1. Aquifer

            This might? be a good time to, briefly, define “liberal” as in economic v. social liberal. And how “neo-liberal” got thrown in the mix ….

            I’ve gotten tangled up in that one before – all these labels are enough to make one’s head spin – we get so bogged down, and at the end of the day lose sight of the real issue …

            I think moderate Reps, like Bair, might well be economic liberals in the historical sense, maybe? (maybe someone could straighten me out on that one ..) but at the end of the day I completely agree with Yves that there are some honest folks out there for whom principles are more important than principal and those principles include setting up an economic system that is fair ….

            I have always rather liked Bair – thought she was a straight shooter, even if i didn’t always agree (perhaps more out of ignorance than anything else …)

      2. Up the Ante

        Awareness of shall we say ‘sliding scales of membership fees beyond your ken’, emphasis on ‘sliding’, may not be simple resentment.

        I have been noting most of these ‘principals’ have been taking measures to and receiving assistance in hiding their faces from the rear, as it were.

        Those notings are not ‘resentment’.

    2. David Lentini

      That’s a straw (wo)man. The point is her story and her perspective about what happened. If you have evidence to modify or correct the story, then share it. Getting nasty with unsubstantiated innuendo helps no one.

      1. kxmoore

        Getting nasty” !!! Bair was part of the biggest transfer of wealth in history from the lower classes to the elite. Maybe you should examine your place in this process. Get out of the trees and see the forest.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As I said above you really don’t know what you are talking about. She was OPPOSED to the bailouts. Idiot.

          1. kxmoore

            Crap. She was against a Washington Mutual bailout but then went along with BAC, Citi and Wachovia bailouts.

          2. Edward Harrison

            I got as annoyed at this whole thread as you did, Yves. He’s clearly hijacking the thread and has an axe to grind with you as well as Bair. This guy is clearly just a troll. Better to just ignore him.

          3. F. Beard

            Better to just ignore him. EH

            He seems to know what he is talking about and I don’t see his ax against Yves.

          4. bhikshuni

            I think he is a she (Katherine), and clearly outraged, as I think we all are at economic and social injustice and the (legal) fraud and negligence that exacerbate it.

            Maybe she’s just new to NC, and the culture of “light vs. heat” that prevails on a good day.

          5. Yves Smith Post author

            Whoever it it, kx is NOT new and now that I look at past comments, that person has repeatedly gotten abusive with blog writers (not me, and spread out enough over time that I missed it till now). That’s unacceptable. I’m particularly protective of guest writers. There’s no excuse for gratuitous abuse combined with flat out erroneous comments (for instance, Wachovia was not a bailout, it was to other banks with no taxpayer or FDIC subsidies. John Hampton even bitched about the cramdown of WaMu subordinated bondholders). The original Wachovia deal was, and as I wrote, it was clearly a gimmie to Citi, which pretty much means it was designed by Treasury. There was all sorts of heat on Bair to stick with the other deal and she ignored it.

            And get real. The record even in the suckup to Geithner et al book Too Big to Fail, which has been out for over TWO YEARS, is that Treasury and the Fed repeatedly ganged up on Bair. The story from the pigs that won this fight that she was enough of an obstacle that they went public to hurt her reputation to make sure no one defied bank toadies again.

            As she explained in the post I wrote on her visit to OWS (which kx is too biased to read, he/she is wedded to her bile and won’t consider FACTS), Bair had info only about the depositary of these megabanks, which was LESS THAN HALF of the operations of these banks. Treasury and the OCC refused to share data with her. If she had forced things and resolved them over their heads, when they recommended against it, the FDIC could and would have been sued (there IS precedent for FDIC suits over allegedly unjustified banks closures). How do you think THAT would have gone down?

            As I said earlier, “idiot”.

          6. Aquifer

            Yves,
            Thanx for “the gift to Citi” post ….

            Back in ’08, I came to that conclusion but not because I knew anything about finance and before i knew NC existed. I came to that conclusion from following who knew who – Rubin being a central figure, getting Glass Steagall repealed which benefited Citi, then his stint with Citi, being an adviser to Obama, having Geithner as a protege, and the big stink they put up when Wells Fargo swept in and stole Wachovia from Citi once it found out the deal the Fed (or was it Treasury) had set up to have bad debts be tax deductions, before Citi could finalize its own deal…. I may have the details wrong (no doubt), but it was pretty clear to me from the connections and the timing that this whole thing stunk and Obama would cover for and back up his banker buddies. I kept hoping somebody like DN would open this up – kept e-mailing with citations. But it was not only the hoi polloi that had drunk the kool-aid but the vaunted Prog media as well – nobody wanted to rain on Obama’s parade …

            Not only is all politics local but it is all personal – and, IMO, you didn’t even have to understand much about finance to have figured this one out …

  3. Conscience of a Conservative

    Tim Geithner was/is a weasel along with his mentor Bob Rubin. Both are dealers and always disingenuous. Sheila Bair is correct that bond holders should have taken hits, and that bond holders did not take hits is why the country is still over-leveraged and banks still dealing with under-funded balance sheets. Geithner has claimed he protected bond holders because they represented pensions, but these are not the bond holders he was protecting but rather the Chinese, Russians and the sovereign wealth funds that were funding the GSE’s and the banks.

    1. F. Beard

      Sheila Bair is correct that bond holders should have taken hits, and that bond holders did not take hits is why the country is still over-leveraged and banks still dealing with under-funded balance sheets. CoC

      Such conventional wisdom! What if those bondholders include pension funds? Is Social Security so generous that most people can afford not to invest for their retirement?

      1. Leviathan

        Are you kidding??? What you are suggesting is that regulators should consider WHO is on the other end of a deal before they decide whether or not to enforce the LAW OF THE LAND! I don’t care whose grandmother’s pension is affected-investors should not get a free pass. Ever.

        1. F. Beard

          Fine. Then double or triple Social Security on a means tested basis. But even then you risk damaging the economy.

          I am all for destroying not just TBTF banks but banking ITSELF. But let’s do it wisely, eh?

      2. Conscience of a Conservative

        But no complaints about the Fed engaging in a zero intersest rate policy or quantitative easing which robs pensions of the necessary returns to support their obligations. In the case of Citibank we have lenders (bond holders) who did not perform the necessary due dilligence on the credit they were investing with, and Geithner creates future moral hazzard by back-stopping the bond holders. Contrast that with QE and ZIRP where we are telling pensions that the Federal Reserve is content with price controls on rates and fine wiht the idea if manipulation those rates to the express disadvantage of those investing and unlike the Citibank example there’s no due dilligence the pension can do as the entire curve is manipulated across all durations and credit quality.

        1. F. Beard

          I am for destroying the Fed’s ability to create or destroy reserves and for abolishing Federal deposit insurance too. That would greatly limit the ability of banks to suppress interest rates. I am for a universal bailout so that would help pensioners too. I am for generous means-tested Social Security.

          But I am also for non-usury based money forms that “share” wealth and power, not concentrate them.

        2. F. Beard

          In the case of Citibank we have lenders (bond holders) who did not perform the necessary due dilligence on the credit they were investing with, CoC

          The entire banking system is unstable. The banks lend money they don’t have and hope to get away with it. Usually they do until they don’t.

          “A sound banker, alas! is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him.” John Maynard Keynes

          A Banker Lends You His Umbrella When It’s Sunny and Wants It Back When It Rains Mark Twain

          1. F. Beard

            I’d rather be sleeping my life away in semi-pleasant dreams but alas I have to work for those dreams (such as they are).

            I suppose that is the major mistake the banks have made – disemploying those with at least 1/2 (1/4 in my case?) a brain. Wait till the more intelligent ones are laid off!

      3. EMichael

        What is missing in this “let the investors take a hit” meme is that it would have just resulted in the banks taking the hit in the vast majority of cases.

        Over 80% of the mortgages behind these investments contained false reps and warranties.

        “Citicorp’s key mortgage credit guy testified many months ago before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) that 80% of Citi’s mortgages sold to Fannie and Freddie were sold under false “reps and warranties.”

        http://neweconomicperspectives.blogspot.com/2011/01/economic-philosophy-that-has-completely.html

        And Citibank was far from the worst case(see Countrywide).

        Investors can force the banks to buy back these mortgages(and their losses from the foreclosures). I believe only FED guarantees have stopped this action from becoming widespread with investors. Though it is starting to pcik up(see the MBIA-CWS thing).

        This is all about the banks, not the investors. Now, if you beleive that the US banking system should be burned down and rebuilt, then go after the investors who will take down the banks in short order.

        Not any good choices here. Four years ago I would have been in the “save the banking system” group, but now I am not sure and certainly would not criticize anyone who believes in such constructive arson.

        But you have to be sure the cure is not worse than the disease.

        1. F. Beard

          I’m for bailing out the banking system from the bottom up (by giving new fiat to the entire population equally, including non-debtors, till all deposits are 100% backed by reserves) and then shutting it down.

          The world has a “battered wife syndrome” wrt the banks. We need to divorce the SOB.

        2. Mattie

          Could you please explain just what exactly you mean by (pre-conservatorship) federal guarantees?

          This is a critical question in light of recent FHFA regulation concerning Debt Collection.

          And BTW, I haven’t been able to get an answer to this question from the CFPB, Senator Boxer, the White House, or CreditSlips readers. So if you can’t provide, either I’ll understand.

          1. EMIchael

            Like the others you mention, I cannot give you a supported answer.

            My belief is based on a couple of facts turned up by the FCIC. No question all of the investors were defrauded by the banks. No question their remedy is clear. Yet only a small amount of them(so far) have taken steps to force the banks to buy back the loans.

            In my mind, there is only one entity that could stop the investors from pursuing the buy back remedy.

      4. MattJ

        So what if some of the bondholders are pension funds? Are you suggesting that people whose retirement savings are in pensions should be protected, but people whose retirement savings are directly in bonds should take the hit? The fact is, bondholders in insolvent institutions all needed to take a loss.

  4. bhikshuni

    Thanks for this, Yves!

    I’m looking forward to hearing more from you about her book.

    (And your deployment of the X software!)

  5. Robert Asher

    You can’t always get what you want. I’ll take Shelia Bair as Sec Treas tomorrow over the man whose NY Fed would not return calls from Lehman Brothers officials trying to prevent their bank (admittedly mismanaged) from failing. We all know for whom Geithner works and it is not the majority of Americans. And let us also replace the mayor of New York with Amy Goodman. She believes in civil liberties.

  6. Leviathan

    Watched the whole thing–excellent interview, and I plan to buy and read the book soon.

    At the very end of the interview Bair expresses disdain for both parties and channels the general disgust most of the public feels for politicians right now. I am doing some campaign work for our local congressman and, believe me, this is what I am hearing from the well-informed centrists who make up our district. People are very scarred.

    So why then does Bair essentially give Obama a pass on the bailouts, deficit spending, and general lack of leadership in DC? She has kind words for Elizabeth Warren, who I also like, but who also has a gynormous blind spot for the president.

    A fish rots from the head. If we are going down, you have to start there.

    1. Paul Johnson

      Great, you reference an article in which Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner and their subordinates are interviewed, and in which a statement is made by some of these folks that their participation “will increase the acceptance of our policies,” in order to intimate that Sheila Bair’s view of the bailout was too simplistic?

  7. F. Beard

    I’m not very impressed with Sheila. The solution WAS/IS to throw money at the problem, not to the banks but to the general population. Her view is flawed because banks are NOT purely private businesses as she should well know. Instead, they are government privileged businesses that have become too big to fail. However, the banks are not too big to eliminate if we approach the problem wisely.

    1. alex

      While Bair may not subscribe to your solution, she is at least opposed to the “no strings or attached” bailouts of finance, and believes in somewhat less corrupt “regulation” than the likes of Geithner. She leans in the right direction.

      The fact that she’s a Republican also demonstrates that reasonable Republicans (a now endangered species) are not in favor of corruption. The corruption is bipartisan. Bill Black also refers to this. At the OCC he worked with conservatives and Republicans who were as opposed to financial crime as he was. And don’t forget that the S&L prosecutions (over 1000 convictions for a financial crisis that was a side show compared to the current situation) took place under Republican administrations.

      1. F. Beard

        Well, I have no problem with vigorous, criminal prosecution of bankers. Bill Black should be given a big staff and a big budget to do so.

      2. Carla

        I just keep wondering why those 1,000 S&L convictions apparently led to, or at least were directly followed by, the gradual unraveling of banking regulations that brought us to where we are today.

        It seems bankers didn’t want to be convicted of crimes, and so rather than ceasing to act criminally, they instructed their Congressional Reps and Senators to undo the laws that would put them behind bars, and oh-by-the-way, captured (through the public/private revolving door) any regulators that might have enforced any remaining laws.

  8. Posthack

    I had the chance to interview Ms. Bair last year. She came across as very conflicted – like all these pols are. In her speech, she kept saying how she was a proud Republican – how the fuck could you say that while the wreckage of Bush/Cheney/Paulson was still smoking is beyond me.
    Afterwards, she was shifty in her answers to questions. She – and her ilk – know what needs to be done, there is simply no will to do it.

    1. Leviathan

      Sure you weren’t just projecting?

      If she wanted to just sit and suckle at the breast of Wall St/Washington she could shut up and do nothing, collect her chips and pick out her South Pacific Island. Kinda like Mary Shapiro.

      1. Up the Ante

        Yes, perhaps that’s it, the concept of ‘just-projecting’, with a hyphen, the giving of credit to those undeserving of it.

        Wonderful how language demands you use it consciously the more you become aware of it ?

        /sarc

  9. Anon

    Hats off to Sheila. She seems to be a honest, hardworking civil servant who has taken more than her fair share of abuse. I don’t mean to diminish her by saying “better her than no one” but obviously their are few people in Washington who show her dedication.

  10. Andrew Watts

    I grow weary of these self-serving rationalizations regarding the bailouts. There are no heroes involved. By her own account, Sheila Bair could’ve acted on precedent and seized Citigroup’s commercial bank operations. This probably would have led to further financial panic in the short term, but would have resolved more of our banking system’s problems in the long term. Instead, nothing was done by the FDIC and the Fed/Treasury chose to prop up this monstrosity.

    What these institutions all share in common was a complete disregard for the stability of the banking system. The FDIC quite willingly ignored it’s duty as a regulator when real estate lending was getting out of control. Nobody in charge was holding anybody to a standard of behavior that was enshrined in law. The bailouts were just a continuation of this lawless behavior.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Wrong. Read this comment. You are engaging in Manichean thinking, someone who tried to do the right thing and was outgunned is a bad guy.

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/09/sheila-bair-gives-her-account-of-the-crisis-and-quelle-surprise-the-bailouts-and-geithner-do-not-look-pretty.html#comment-826773

      The FDIC also proposed serious, sound securitization reforms (they really did their homework) and the industry, the OCC and the Treasury beat it back. So there is evidence on other fronts of the FDIC trying to do the right thing and being outflanked.

      1. Andrew Watts

        She might be a perfectly delightful person. That really isn’t the issue. Her actions speak far louder then any statement of facts. So I find very little merit in her excuses. It basically boils down to scapegoating when there’s plenty of blame to go around for everyone. Nobody had perfect information in a far from ideal situation. Despite that the bailout of Citi was a joint venture of the FDIC/Fed/Treasury when alternatives clearly existed. The reality that none of these institutions will part with any information to the public domain without drawing it out through lawsuits does not inspire trust or confidence.

        The post-crisis response of the FDIC does little to commend their pre-crisis inaction. The idea that our regulators lacked the authority to curtail financial abuse is ridiculous. What authority they lacked came from their inability to legally bailout the banks on the scale that was undertaken. Undoubtedly this was the true purpose regarding the Dodd-Frank Act.

      2. Up the Ante

        When the politicians have been bought the government ends, there is only corporate actors shapeshifting to fit the moment.

        A timely analogy is the Fukushima disaster and 18 mos. later publications in journals by those who had crucial knowledge at the time and remained silent enabling the Japanese politicians to ‘govern’ the people by treating them as experimental animals. REQUIRING little children to eat radioactive food in school lunches!

        The real question is how these people can be so “outflanked” and remain in the outflankers’ employ ?

        Might be what Andrew Watts is saying.

  11. Susan the other

    The interesting thing about reviews of Bair’s account is that she indicates a clear agenda by Timmy and the NYFed as the crisis hit. And later their hiding of the truth about bank insolvency with the Citi coverup by Timmy. Still later by the securitization and servicing stonewalling and then those coverups. I keep remembering that in 2007 Paulsen knew full well the shit was going to hit the fan. He and Timmy might have already decided how to go with it when Lehman needed the help it didn’t get. Sheila Bair, who was protecting the FDIC fund, was actually trying to protect banking. She knew the best way to do it was the standard resolution of a failed institution. Or several. It would have been much cheaper than what we were given. But my conclusion is that we took over the entire banking system to go to war. So nobody ever confirms that so I might as well not bring it up.

  12. YesMaybe

    Not just government. From what I’ve read, being a “team player” is the most important thing in the corporate world. And it mainly means: (a) being willing to take the blame for messes your higher-ups are responsible for, (b) never nay-saying, even when it’s obvious the boss’s proposal is moronic, unethical, and/or illegal. And, of course, being a ‘team player’ goes along with being ‘flexible’.

    Of course, my main source for this is the book Moral Mazes…

  13. MichaelC

    FWIW, there’s an unusual amount of noise in the comment threads today but I’ve come to expect/discount/gather strength from, the surge in troll traffic here when a substantive voice surfaces in the mainstream media that conflicts with the Sorkinista meme.

    Good on Sheila B for boxing Sorkin about the ears a bit. It’s good to know he didn’t bother to talk to her when he wrote his book. Small wonder that he didn’t talk to anyone in Occupy (or check his facts) when he wrote his post-anniversary obit/hit piece on Occupy. My Occupy pals are definitely not dead, or even asleep, so it was a bizarre read for me.

    Apparently Ms Bair doesn’t think Occupy is quite dead yet either, or she wouldn’t have decided to have a talk with us. That meeting so closely resembled her WSJ interview, that I thought for a moment that the WSJ had just photoshopped their moderator’s head with the OWS moderator’s.

    Frankly, I admire her understated way of tweaking noses,and calmly exposing the rot she saw around her. She’s all Bill Black in a differently attractive form. From my vantage point her message is appealing, sincere and as brave as his ever is.

    At the OWS meeting we were encouraged to be informed that Occupy the Sec’s participation in the Volcker Rule comment process ‘galvanized’ the agencies, and alerted them (and perhaps their FIRE financed political allies) to the fact that the grassroots do have a grasp of the fundamental imbalance, and that some are even willing to get into the weeds with the plutocrats to call them out when they are disingenuous.(It’s pretty easy, as it turns out. No one’s bothered to refute them so far, so their lazy arguments are pretty easily rebutted by those strivers with state school college educations who choose to challenge the elite school proponents of the oligarch’s thesis)

    Her book seem’s to aim to do the same thing.

    Bair’s acknowledgement in the book that Yves’ petition drive also had a significant impact in arming the pro-citizen/ anti-plutocrat die-hards that still exist in the regulatory agencies should be front page news, rather than a footnote in an outgunned regulator’s memoir. Apparently, there are folks working at consumer protection agencies, who really do want to protect their consumer constituents. Who Knew?

    Regarding Timmy,and her anecdote that Rham (as O’s Chief of Staff) was sympatico to FDIC ideas:

    Was Tim insubordinate to the President? Or did O simply concede the financial crisis irresolution to the Rubin clique? (i.e , The Clinton wing that got him elected, and on which he is stupidly) counting on to get him re-elected)?

    O needs to clarify that, next term , by either :

    Firing the Clinton wing of the party (Unlikely, given Clinton’s clincher speech at the DNC Convention. Although , if he has cojones, he can throw the Clintoinistas under the bus now given Rommney’s total unelectability)

    Or Replacing Timmy with the D equivalent of Ms Bair and the 99%’s choice.

    If O is powerless against Tim or the next Treasury Secretary, then we are lost.

    If O truly wants to lead this country and protect us from 1% rule, he should name Tim’s successor today (Rommney is toast anyway) and get the 99 on board to guarantee that the loons from the right won’t doom the next generation to serfdom.

    One can hope. O does have the winning hand to reverse aristocratic tyranny. Does he want to? ,is the question? He could be Lincoln, if he were up to it.

    O has been given a fantastic gift, Rommney is an unelectable asshole representative of everything that is wrong with an aristocratic plutocracy.

    Will O follow the will of the 99 and forge a new New Deal, or continue to follow his plutocratic advisors? The race is his to lose, so… I wish I were the incumbent president today.

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  15. steve from virginia

    First of all, context matters and compared to the Bush ‘honchos’ in the Treasury, White House and the Federal Reserve, Bair actually had real, live integrity (and still has).

    I felt she was disappointed she was not considered to be Treasury Secretary instead of Geither, I know I was. The ‘G-Man’ certainly took her to be a dangerous competitor/adversary. Much of what passed for ‘policy’ during the early Geithner Treasury were ripples from Bair/Geithner power struggle. (IMO)

    She did a good job with the banking troubles that fell to the FDIC. That agency should have been allowed to fold the TBTFs, they had the infrastructure to do so. They were all Geithner’s NY Fed pets, however.

    Liquidating GM and Chrysler would have been good for the country as well but that is a bit off the subject.

    I believe Bair does not know how the basic systems work, evidence was her $10mm loan plan:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/fix-income-inequality-with-10-million-loans-for-everyone/2012/04/13/gIQATUQAFT_story.html

    Collateral, Baby collateral! Nobody but the rich has $10.05 million to offer as collateral to the central banks for the loans (except those that are already getting them).

    : )

  16. John Lenihan

    At least Ms. Bair is giving these turkeys heartburn in spades (they must really be burning). They deserve much more (the BIG house with small cells, decorated with barbells), but even any small punishment is welcome, if that’s the best we can do in plutocrat heaven right now.

    And who knows, attitudes can change very fast occasionally, even from a very small push, and that might be all it takes.

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