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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!!


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