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Feb. 10 2010 - 5:28 pm | 4,987 views | 6 recommendations | 33 comments

Michael Lewis: Wall St. Is Done

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.I’d never taken an accounting course, never run a business, never even had savings of my own to manage. I stumbled into a job at Salomon Brothers in 1985 and stumbled out much richer three years later, and even though I wrote a book about the experience, the whole thing still strikes me as preposterous—which is one of the reasons the money was so easy to walk away from. I figured the situation was unsustainable.

via The End Of Wall Streets Boom – News Markets – Portfolio.com.

Thanks to… well, whoever sent me this. Very interesting piece by Michael Lewis, whose Liar’s Poker was a hilarious book and a great way for people to get introduced to Wall Street.

Lewis in this piece posits that that game is up for Wall Street, that its unsustainable lunacy has finally caught up with it. The premise of the piece is erroneous, I think, in that Wall Street has probably always been unsustainably crazy, not just in recent decades as he seems to imply. If you go back and read Galbraith’s book about the Great Crash you’ll be amazed at how familiar all the stories sound.

Still, a very interesting read. And here’s another, funnier confessional of sorts from a once (and current again) Wall Streeter, my friend Eric Salzman over at MonkeyBusinessBlog. His take on bonus season was hilarious:

Ahh, it’s bonus time on Wall Street.  Time has certainly flown by for me.  It occurred to me that it has been nearly three years since I shaped up for the “big year-end meeting”.  Usually I was sitting across the table from some guy I thought was a complete D-bag (one time it was a female D-bag).  The D-bag would talk and as far as I was concerned he might as well have been Charlie Brown’s teacher.  Remember that from “Peanuts”?

Teacher: Blah blah blah…blah blah blah

Charlie Brown: “Yes mam.”

Teacher: “Blah blah blah bla-bla!”

Charlie Brown: “Yes mam, school is no place for a dog. I’ll bring him home now.”

Teacher: “Blah-blah.”

Until they got to the number.  I would get the number and then I would become the D-bag.  Not to the bossman’s face….except one time.  No, I would wait till I got outside and I would call the missus and start bitching about “how I got screwed…blah blah….”  I didn’t think I was a D-bag back then.  I thought I was an undervalued, unappreciated “asset”.  Now that I look back at it, I know I was beyond a D-bag (last time with that word!) back then.

I usually got handed a check that was bigger than 5 or 10 of my Dad’s yearly paychecks combined and it pissed me off that it wasn’t enough.  Afterall, all Dad did was educate kids.  What did I do?  Looking back on it now I don’t have a freaking clue!  I pushed pieces of paper around, thought about “big thoughts”, explained why one piece of sh*t bond was better or worse than another..etc…etc.  In the end I hated it, which may explain why I got my ass canned in late ‘07.  It was probably written all over my forehead.

I’m actually kind of surprised there aren’t more guys coming out of Wall Street eager to tell the dark/funny story. There’s like no end of guys who come out of Wall Street writing books bragging about how freaking ingenious and rich and, well, implicitly enormously hung they are, but the funny story — we don’t get that so much.


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  1. collapse expand

    Yeah, that is a great article. I wish he’d write a rejoinder for the post crash. I’ve gone back and re-read that one probably five times, it’s that good. And, yeah, everyone should read Liar’s Poker not just because it’s entertaining as Hell, but it’s a great mini-education on what started this whole mortgage craze.

    Oddly enough I almost never see people referencing Michael Lewis when it comes to finance in journalism, which makes sense given the journalistic penchant for selective namedropping, but he should definitely be sought out and quoted a lot more often.

  2. collapse expand

    I heard someone once declare that too many business journalists are failed stock analysts instead of failed novelists, and that’s why they all miss the big stories about the market. It also gets you thinking about the Ted Danson’s Arthur Frobisher character on ‘Damages.’ He’ll pay a guy a mint to ghost-write his self-aggrandizing memoirs, but he can’t for a moment think of anything critical to say about himself. That’s why these guys don’t share the so sad it’s true funny stories, because they don’t have it in them.

  3. collapse expand

    I always thought that most of the top dogs on Wall Street like most dominate personality types were psychopaths/sociopath…to pull out my little (DSM-IV) I can see Sociopath have these characteristics

    Glibness and Superficial Charm

    Manipulative and Conning
    They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

    Grandiose Sense of Self
    Feels entitled to certain things as “their right.”

    Pathological Lying
    Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

    Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
    A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.

    Shallow Emotions
    When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

    Incapacity for Love

    Need for Stimulation
    Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common.

    Callousness/Lack of Empathy
    Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.

    Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
    Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.

    Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
    Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet “gets by” by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

    Irresponsibility/Unreliability
    Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blames others, even for acts they obviously committed.

    Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity
    Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts.

    Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
    Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively.

    Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
    Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution. Changes life story readily.

    Guess that is the modern American lifestyle…sorry those traits are the very traits this society demands, celebrates, and rewards. So why would they write a self-effacing critical work about themselves or the system/society they inhabit. Those of us who differ with their worldview are the deranged ones.

    • collapse expand

      “Pathological Lying

      Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.”
      ————————————-

      Speaking of sociopathic behavior and pathological lying I’m suprised Matt hasn’t seen this:

      Obama Doesn’t ‘Begrudge’ Bonuses for Blankfein, Dimon

      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aKGZkktzkAlA

      “I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”
      —————————————

      OK I get it, Barry. They’re just very savvy businessmen.

      So could you explain to all of us commoners why we had to bailout the businesses the very savvy businessmen were running?

      This guy is supposed to be intelligent?

      That’s such a stupid statement that it’s Palinesque.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    The sad part about the article is that it was written nearly one-and-a-half years ago–at the tail end of 2008! It appears that, unfortunately, this prediction has not come true. Business as usual continues on the Street.

  5. collapse expand

    Two blogs which I’ve always found pretty funny are “Leveraged Sellout” and “Hedge Fund Diaries”.

    The former blog satirizes all those 20-somethings living a life of excess on what we now know to be taxpayer money. The writer has a terrific eye for the arrogance and snobbery and utter lack of self-awareness that characterizes most bankers. Pretty hilarious stuff.

    The latter blog is more concerned with the essential absurdity of the industry itself. The writer strikes a cynical and world-weary pose and reading some of his anecdotes I can’t help but understand why. Again, pretty hilarious stuff, but in a darker vein.

    Check them out:
    http://www.leveragedsellout.com/
    http://hedgefunddiaries.blogspot.com/

  6. collapse expand

    One of these days I’m going to come here and you’ll have written about how the whole Wall St/stock market game is nothing but a vast, global Ponzi scheme. If everybody wanted to cash in their stock at once, the entire mess would collapse.

  7. collapse expand

    I’m sorry, but what exactly are you looking for them to say? There are overpaid assholes in every profession.

    Hearing an apology, or acknowledging their douchebaggery changes things? Aside from the probably negligible PR benefits, it doesn’t do a damn thing to reassure the public that this kind of fuck-up won’t happen again.

    • collapse expand

      “There are overpaid assholes in every profession.”

      This is like telling a bunch of former altar boys, “There are pedophiles in every religion.”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I’m sorry, is there a magical workplace where everyone is conscientious and is paid a fair wage (as opposed to what they can negotiate)? If so, do tell us where this utopia exists.

        Post bail-out, we’re increasingly mad at bank CEOs when we should be holding to account the lawmakers that wrote/passed the bailout bills. Government money can’t magically be transferred to the banks without paperwork.
        Problem is that no reporters (that I’ve come across, at least) are willing to do that legwork of reading that paperwork. It’s easier to report that some guy bought a $200 000 carpet.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I admire your system of logic. Every industry is flawed on some level, therefore all industries are equally flawed.

          I’m also surprised to find out that when I’m confronted with overweening financier scumbags and toadying ineffectual politicians I have to pick one to be mad at. I didn’t know that. Considering how Matt’s recent RS articles followed “Wall Street’s Naked Swindle” with “Obama’s Big Sellout”, maybe you ought to let him know that he’s not allowed to do both.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            1. I never said or implied that all industries are equally flawed. What I did say is that I think it’s pointless and unproductive to be angry at CEOs for swindling the American taxpayer.

            2. If you want to be mad at both CEOs and politicians and even your can/dog/gerbil, then don’t let me stop you. Do tell me though how your righteous indignation works to actually change things.

            Unless you’re on the board, do you have any say who gets to be CEO? Umm, no.

            Do you have any say over who represents you in congress/senate – those fancy people that get to write bailout bills that give your tax money money away to private individuals with no accountability? Yes, I do believe it’s called voting.

            But anger is so much more satisfying than holding your representatives to account, isn’t it?

            In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I think you make a distinction I don’t. You separate politicians and businessmen when they both comprise the oligarchy. How do you classify, say, Dick Cheney? The government office holder, or the corporate executive? Is the real Al Gore the politician pushing through NAFTA or the Apple board member blissfully unaware of options backdating? Those are two well-known cases, but there are far better examples using lesser-knowns.

          (I have the same type complaint about the faux division between Democrats/Republicans, for which this politicians vs. businessmen debate is, in a way, a proxy.)

          In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Well sadly the entire point of what is going on in congress right now is an attempt to “Reassure the public this won’t happen again” without actually doing anything to fix the problems.

      It is absolutely astounding to me that people believe “buy and hold” is a solid retirement strategy. THE GAME IS RIGGED. Either find a way to make money off the boom and bust cycle (which inherently involves making gambles based on raw specualtion, NOT fundamentals, aka CASINO) or invest in your money locally in businesses you can see with management you can talk to.

      The American people have been sold a flaming bag of poop by being told they can talk to a financial advisor who can pick stocks better than you. Give me a break these people are pulling this stuff out of their asses (or worse, relying on analyst ratings by their parent company which tells their brokers to push stocks to clients while at the same time the parent company is rapidly unloading their institutional holdings. Usually this is done becuase they have insider information.)

      Trust me THIS IS NOT conspiracy it happens every single day due to Agency issues built into the banking system.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Heh – thanks to you and Matt for this post. Also, I have to agree with vivhatahway in that there needs to be some dogged work done to replace regulations and make these practices not just immoral and asinine, but illegal. The road to this will be ugly (Wall St. has already decided that O’s regulations are too much and they’ll be filling GOP coffers until things are going their way again), but it is the “good fight.”

      OT, nifty new format for comment posting.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    Almost as dumb as listening to the idots in the white house dispense economic advice….most of them never held a job outside of government or a lawyers office

    • collapse expand

      As opposed to the genuises in the Republican caucus? Right. “Free markets will correct themselves… unless they don’t, in which case taxpayers will bail us out. BUT, it is NOT socialism! ‘Socialism’ only applies to things we don’t like and we LIKE bailouts that privatize our profits and nationalize our risk!”

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  9. collapse expand

    As dumb as Mr Obama advising people not to go to las vegas and waste their money

    First of all, it is THEIR money

    Secondly, a lot of people like to go to las vegas

    Thirdly…Mr. Obama is the biggest waster of money on this planet, or any planet

  10. collapse expand

    My my, the comments are getting testy around here.

  11. collapse expand

    I agree that it’s always pretty much been like this. Galbraith’s “1929: The Great Crash” is one of my absolute all-time favorite books. There is a passage in one of the Aftermath chapters I frequently quote (about “no-business” meetings). I might also mention “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” (I recommend an abridged version; my copy also includes “The Crowd.”)

    I don’t have any great hope things will get better any time soon. After all, it was not all that long ago the planet found owning each other to be quite acceptable. Maybe in a few hundred years people will consider it bad form to trick unobservant people out of their money. (Yeah, right. Probably a reversion to slavery is more likely.)

  12. collapse expand

    I’m blown away that Matt hasn’t read everything my Michael Lewis regarding this view of the financial crisis. By gods, have you (plural) read Lewis’s VF piece about Joseph Cassano?

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/08/aig200908

    go read now.. right now!

    and if you seen that, check out this book review of.. every single post-crisis book that’s now become a cottage industry:

    http://www.thebaffler.com/viewArticle/131

    The review includes these books:

    Edmund Andrews, Busted: Life Inside The Great
    Mortgage Meltdown (W.W. Norton, $25.95)

    David Faber, And Then the Roof Caved In:
    How Wall Street’s Greed and Stupidity Brought
    Capitalism to Its Knees (Wiley, $26.95)

    Charles Gasparino, The Sellout: How Three
    Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government
    Mismanagement Destroyed the Global
    Financial System (HarperBusiness, $27.99)

    Jill Kargman, The Ex Mrs. Hedgefund
    (Dutton Adult, $25.95)

    Duff McDonald, Last Man Standing: The Ascent
    Of Jamie Dimon and JPMorgan Chase
    (Simon & Schuster, $28.00)

    Lawrence G. McDonald with Patrick Robinson,
    A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside
    Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers
    (Crown Business, $27.00)

    Richard Posner, A Failure of Capitalism: The
    Crisis of ‘08 and the Descent into Depression
    (Harvard University Press, $23.95)

    Barry Ritholtz with Aaron Task, Bailout Nation:
    How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted
    Wall Street and Shook the World Economy
    (Wiley, $24.95)

    Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big To Fail: The Inside
    Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought
    To Save The Financial System— and Themselves
    (Viking, $32.95)

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan:
    The Impact of the Highly Improbable
    (Random House, $28.00)

    Gillian Tett, Fool’s Fool’s Gold: How the Bold
    Dream of a Small Tribe at J.P. Morgan Was
    Corrupted by Wall Street Greed And Unleashed
    a Catastrophe (Free Press, $26.00)

    David Wessel, In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s
    War on the Great Panic (Crown Business, $26.99)

    Gregory Zuckerman, The Greatest Trade Ever:
    The Behind-The-Scenes Story of How John
    Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial
    History (Broadway, $26.00)

  13. collapse expand

    That Michael Lewis piece is from November 2008. I read the piece back then. I thought you were going to comment on how Lewis ended up being so wrong, that despite the crisis Wall Street is actually back to the same old things, even worse.

  14. collapse expand

    While the business press and our politicians say that these executives are “vital” and their “leadership and innovation” justify their six-figure bonuses and massive taxpayer support in the form of taxpayer bailouts, the more honest of these people admit that they have no clue what, if anything, in truth separates them from their secretaries who earn $8.50 an hour.

    Remember “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (the book, I hope, not the movie) ?? It didn’t predict the actual collapse, but it had a lot to say about these people, and it was right on the mark. Remember the stockbroker’s daughter in that book, asking him what he does all day at work, and he is struck speechless and can’t even begin to give her an answer? His only thought is that he talks to people on the phone all day, whom he’s never met, who he refers to as “electronic donuts”. His wife has
    to step in and explain to his daughter that “Daddy didn’t bake the cake, and daddy doesn’t get to eat the cake, but daddy slices it up and hands it out. And every time he slices the cake, little Golden Crumbs fall off of it, and Daddy gets to eat those.”

    Golden Crumbs.

    None of this stuff is new. It’s been perfectly obvious for centuries that financial executives are glorified idiot-savants (think Tulip Mania). People just prefer not to believe it: JK Galbraith once said, “Because such vast amounts of money are involved, people think there must be some kind of intelligence at work, but this is seldom ever the case.”

  15. collapse expand

    His biographical portrayal is the same old ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ theme that sells tons of media. His unquenchable desire to be in the banking industry at any cost is ignored.

    Specifically, he had the substantial financial backing (Princeton & LSE) to fail enough times before finally gaining entrance into the Banking culture. How is that an ‘accident?’

    Now that he’s not in the industry, he absolves himself of the reprehensible moral/political consequences of his actions while in the industry. “I was just following orders!” Defense.

    Sickening.

  16. collapse expand

    another great michael lewis piece on the housing crisis can be found here: http://www.portfolio.com/culture-lifestyle/goods/real-estate/2008/09/18/Michael-Lewis-Mansion/

    just in case it was missed by folks.

  17. collapse expand

    “The premise of the piece is erroneous, I think, in that Wall Street has probably always been unsustainably crazy,..”

    Matt, dude, you’re a magnificent reporter and journalist, but a lousy economist. The reason Lewis is spot on in his assertion is because back in the era Prof. Galbraith writes of, there was an ACTUAL economy in the USA.

    Today, financialization and financial engineering makes up around 78% (or perhaps greater) portion of the actual economy.

    2012, is the year I give it until the colossal reset takes place. But this faux economic model is simply, like all Ponzi and Tontine schemes, not sustainable.

  18. collapse expand

    I turned a recent post into an essay, please let me know what you think:

    The Adventures of Fedman and the Temple of Doom Otherwise Known as AIG

    If you hear our Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, tell it, he and his banker friends saved the world on a blustery fall day in September 2008 when they bailed out AIG and saved us from certain doom. Good old Timmy recently told this tale to one of the Congressional Oversight Committees, namely that he needed to bailout AIG as its bankruptcy would have caused the collapse of the financial markets. Talk about grandiose. There’s nothing more surreal than watching this Spock wannabe puff out his chest and suggest how he saved the world. Never mind the fact that he and the bankers caused the crisis. Indeed, if Superman caused most the problems that he was trying to fix, then I don’t think anyone would think he was very “super.” Someone needs to give Timmy a reality check – you’re not a superhero, you’re the villain.

    First, Superhero’s don’t blame a computer tax software for the fact that they tried to evade their income taxes. Second, if you respond to a financial panic by panicking – you’re definitely not a Superhero. Finally, throughout his testimony, he keeps stating that if Congress just enacts President Obama’s Bank Tax, we’ll get all the money back. Note to Superhero, I call him Fedman; I have never seen Superman or Batman tax the bad guys into submission. Seems pretty weak even for Fedman.

    At one point in his overwrought testimony, Geithner explains why he had to pay the counterparties (companies that bought credit default swaps insuring mortgage backed securities) 100 cents on the dollar – supposedly because that’s what the contract said and when the counterparties were asked if they would take less, they said no. Despite the fact that market value was only 48 cents on the dollar, Geithner paid the full freight. Hey Fedman, it’s called negotiation. They say no, and then you say no. Then you walk out in a huff and slam the door behind you, rattling the whole building. It’s Superhero 101 – they come running back, willing to take pennies on the dollar.

    And another thing Fedman, Counterparties (i.e., those menses’ at Goldman Sachs) were not victims. If they were dumb enough to buy insurance from a company that had no actual collateral and put nothing in reserve, they deserve to get nothing. The Counterparties got taken – I don’t see a problem – how is it a taxpayer issue? Isn’t it simply one dog eating another? Isn’t that exactly what you Gordon Gekko’s preach when you’re hitting the “diamond” run at Telluride?

    Let’s face it Timmy, one of the major flaws with this whole Superhero plan was that you were saving the world by saving the criminal – another major breach of Superhero etiquette. Just like President Obama’s statement on torture that it is a false choice that Americans needed to violate its core principles to protect us from Terrorists, so too is it a false choice that we needed to save AIG to save Main Street. There were other options available and all of them centered on Main Street, not Wall Street. In fact, since Fedman (and the prior Fedman, Paulson) world view started and ended with Wall Street, their view was myopic at best. If Main Street needed credit then instead of taking Main Street’s money (taxes) and giving it to the banks to loan back to us, why not just let Main Street keep it in the form of tax cuts? If you were really a Superhero, you would have known that?

    Let me tackle some of Geithner’s biggest reasons for giving the bailouts to AIG: (1) He claimed that Commercial Paper Market would freeze and other financial institutions would not lend. Guess what? We bailed out AIG and the credit markets still froze. In fact, the Fed, commenced another program called the CPFF (Commercial Paper Funding Facility) that pumped billions into this market. This was what actually got the market going again, not the AIG bailout. (2) He claimed once the Government authorized the original $86 billion, that he had to protect that investment by ultimately buying the underlying collateral (sub-prime mortgages) that was the subject of the credit default swaps. The flaw in his superpower reasoning is that the main issue was the credit rating agencies downgrading of AIG which in turn caused more collateral calls. So why not simply stop the ability of the credit rating agencies to downgrade them? After all, it’s not like they knew what they were doing; remember all those ridiculous AA/AAA ratings for the subprimes? Indeed, one thing that is clear today is that the ratings did not capture the true risk of many deals because the rating agencies were more concerned with their own bottom lines. (3) Lastly, he claimed that since AIG had nearly 75 million customers, their sudden bankruptcy would create havoc in the insurance markets. Do you really think that strange talking Gecko would not have loved the opportunity to underwrite 75 million new contracts? I am pretty sure he would have down it in less than fifteen minutes and saved us a ton on car insurance.

    Even Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act which Geithner relies on for the authority to bailout AIG does not specifically grant the Federal Reserve these unlimited powers. Instead, it vaguely focuses on providing liquidity to the markets in times of severe stress. It’s a real stretch to argue that the Fed, made up of non-elected officials, has an unfettered right to give companies any amount of money it deems necessary with the only oversight coming by Congress, long after the fact.

    In fact, Section 13(3) has been used only twice since 1913, for negligible amounts. An example, after 9/11, many experts called for the Fed to use its power to save the Airline Industry, which was practically destitute because everyone was afraid to fly. But after much internal debate, it was decided to let the airlines go into bankruptcy, which many have recently emerged stronger than ever. Since both the financial and airline industry are vital to American commerce, it is not a coincidence that the financial industry has been treated so differently. Indeed, it required nearly a perfect storm of greed, hubris and fear, for the fleecing to occur.
    The real crime was not bailing out AIG to the tune of $186 billion, but rather allowing it to survive. One thing is very clear, AIG Management did almost nothing right and AIG was a diseased carcass that should be dust by now. The fact that they’re paying themselves million dollar bonuses should tell you everything you need to know about this mutant company where up is down and failure is success.

    The best part of Geithner’s testimony is near the end when he states: “I am personally very confident that if we (had) not acted, the crisis would have caused more devastation and would have cost far more money.”

    Really? When the argument for something is an unprovable personal plea like it would have been a thousand times worse, you should not trust the claim. Hey Fedman, your opinion (and the people like you) means nothing to us. Don’t you get it? You were completely wrong in 2008, suddenly now, you have abject clarity. Sorry Fedman, it’s time to turn in your Spock ears.

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