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Blankfein, Congress, Schapiro “You’re All Fired”

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 7, 2010 11:30 AM |

The incest is over.

As much as Wall Street and Washington would like to project a sense that our economy is improving and the markets are merely fluctuating, the fact is America is learning more and more that the incest that has infiltrated our financial and economic structures has corrupted America in the process.

Incest does not do much for the participants’ reputations. The risk of a bad reputation remains the greatest risk of all. I see people on Wall Street now scrambling to repair that reputation. Who?

Let’s start with Lloyd Blankfein. The Wall Street Journal reports, Blankfein Vows to Rebuild Reputation:

Lloyd C. Blankfein took the stage Friday at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s annual meeting pledging to rebuild the investment bank’s reputation tarnished by government civil charges of securities fraud. The chairman and chief executive said the company will set up a business standards committee that will look into ways the company can confront the current scrutiny over its business practices.

Doesn’t work that way, Lloyd. This ain’t high school. You don’t get a second chance to repair and rebuild your reputation. America has paid the price. Now you have to pay it as well. “You’re FIRED!!”

Moving right along. Don’t think for a second that it is just Lloyd who needs to get fired. Assorted other executivess on Wall Street also need to walk the plank. Lloyd is merely first in line.

But Blankfein and his fellow Wall Street cronies did not develop this horrendous reputation on their own. Oh no!! In point of fact, the lousy reputation permeating the financial-political corner of our landscape stems from incestuous relations with two other willing partners. Let’s call it what it  is: a Wall Street-Washington menage-a-trois.

Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, highlights the other two partners in a commentary at the Huffington Post, Congressional Oversight Crippled by Institutional Amnesia, Reformer Says:

Danielle Brian is celebrating her 20th year at the Project on Government Oversight this week.

POGO is one of Washington’s most productive and respected good-government groups, and Brian, who has been its executive director since 1993, can look back and take pride in a number of victories for accountability in areas such as cutting wasteful defense contracts, exposing oil and gas industry fraud, and increasing nuclear security.

But one thing she’s not celebrating is the pathetic state of congressional oversight

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and it’s never been worse,” she says. “I know that’s actually shocking for progressives to hear because their people are in power and they thought that was going to make all the difference.”

And yet oversight is even more anemic now than when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House, she says.

It’s not so much a question of partisanship, she says, it’s a matter of Congress having forgotten its role.

How could Congress have forgotten its role? Because those in Congress are so busily engaged in the dirty sex that fills their pockets with industry money. As a result, Congress has the reputation it deserves and is beyond repair. What should America do? Congress, “You’re Fired!!”

I’m not finished. Neither Wall Street nor Congress could partake in their incestuous liasions without one other willing party. As Brian points out:

Where should Congress be focusing its oversight? There are so many fruitful areas that it’s hard for Brian to even single out a few.

But one particularly “fun” exercise, she says, would be to look into the self-regulatory organizations (SROs) that let various industries regulate themselves. Most notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission has delegated the regulation of securities firms to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) — a private entity that receives its funding from the same Wall Street organizations it ostensibly regulates. “What are they doing?” Brian asks. “When did we decide this is OK?”

Who is the most visible financial regulator in our country today? Mary Schapiro!! Guess what, Mary? Get your stuff and get the hell out, because “You’re FIRED!!”

Americans want their country back. These three moves are a good start!!


  • Randy

    Sounds good Larry…

    Now If only it worked that way.. I mean from your illustrious brain and keyboard to God’s eyes… because at this juncture it would probably take an act of God to get those dishonest people tossed out on their bums (and without golden parachutes to ease the ejection!)

    If this were China they’d already be in prison or in line for the hangman’s noose.

    Not only do we have no immediately obvious legal vehicle for removing any of the crooks you have mentioned (at least until the November elections in the case of certain members of Congress) but even if and when we do, they are seemingly soon replaced with other crooks and the sickening mess continues.

    Congress and high government position seems to breed and bring out the very worst in people. I’d like to assume that at least a few of them were semi-honest with perhaps a smidge of ethics before they arrived in D.C. but recent experience tells me that assumption is more than just a little bit naive. Crooks make great cronies and most often take care of each other.

    As the old saying goes.. when you are constantly robbing Peter (the American public) to pay Paul (the big banks and their government cronies) you can pretty much count on Paul.

  • TeakWoodKikte

    LD, I get the screen play adaptation for a financial version of “24”…with some “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” mixed in….

    We know who the antagonists are…and no amount of used car rhetoric will change the plot line. “The Sovern Defaults” episode should be the pilot….

  • Mike

    Randy brings up excellent points. There’s definitely no easy solution to restructuring our financial regulatory system. When judges, congressional members, bank executives, and regulatory bodies collude in order to benefit from each other it can certainly seem like there isn’t any pragmatic solution to fixing all this and getting USA back on track.

    Well unless this is truly the beginning of the end of our country, it’s going to HAVE to hit the fan eventually. Nothing that were doing is sustainable. Quality of life is going to have to go down and SOMETHING will have to change due to civil unrest.

    in order for real change to occur. We NEED intelligent, pissed off citizens who understand exactly what has been going on and who has been responsible. We need ALOT of them And they need to be LOUD. Unfortunately we’re a pretty dumb nation which is getting dumber as shown by recent graduation rates. Nobody really cares that much and just wants to lay down. Who cares, theres nothing i can do. My votes doesnt matter. Just gimme my paycheck and my beer and let me watch the game, shut up already….

    People won’t start to care until sh*t REALLY hits the fan. Interest rates cannot stay low forever, banks will eventually have to take losses, AND WE HAVE TO PAY BACK OUR NATIONAL DEBT!!!!! Once joe six packs taxes go up to 45% there will be backlash. Once things start to really suck there’s going to be change.

  • Randy

    IMHO your points are quite valid Mike.

    Unfortunately, I believe that our Government representatives fully intend to use various gambits to kick the can further down the road as best they can until they themselves are comfortably esconced and out of harm’s way in some protected haven well before the final economic demise.

    It is becoming ever more clear that they fully intend to re-inflate the bubbles that brought us to this juncture and tax us and steal our retirement monies to finance it all until they are out of power and someone else has to contend with the chaos and calamity they leave behind.

    I believe they will almost assuredly pass a value added tax (a tax that is truly hidden from public sight and imposed at every level of cost input on everything we buy in this country.) Starting to sound more like the failing European model every day, isn’t it?

    They will also go after the full $15 trillion of our retirement balances in 401k and IRA plans, etc. by means of offering up new Government Annuities for us to move our balances into as they eliminate the tax deferral benefit on all other such investments, thus assuring that conversion.

    I also suspect they are already hard at work on spirting away our future access to our Social Security and Medicare entitlements (yes the ones we paid so dearly into all of our working lives) by virtue of new “means” tests that will steadily exclude more and more of us soon to be “seniors” from the ability to draw upon either of those entitlements in the near future.

    I suppose you may be correct, in that this entire process could be rapidly short-circuited by the likelihood of nationwide civil unrest and rampant increases in crime if our elected representatives refuse to extend the badly needed unemployment benefits. The jobs simply are not there, despite Government claims to the contrary. So, perhaps this will all come to a climax, far sooner than anyone currently surmises.

    All I know is that I am definitely not looking forward to those days.

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