Archive for October 9th, 2009
Bill Moyers interviewed economist Simon Johnson and U.S. Representative Marcie Kaptur of Ohio about the Wall Street/Washington connection and the picture isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s terrifying. I highly recommend that you make yourself watch this 30-minute segment. It’s a massive problem with no hint of a solution. Here’s an excerpt:
BILL MOYERS: Why have we not had the reform that we all knew was being was needed and being demanded a year ago?
SIMON JOHNSON: I think the opportunity the short term opportunity was missed. There was an opportunity that the Obama Administration had. President Obama campaigned on a message of change. I voted for him. I supported him. And I believed in this message. And I thought that the time for change, for the financial sector, was absolutely upon us. This was abundantly apparent by the inauguration in January of this year. . . . And Rahm Emanuel, the President’s Chief of Staff has a saying. He’s widely known for saying, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. Well, the crisis is over, Bill. The crisis in the financial sector, not for people who own homes, but the crisis for the big banks is substantially over. And it was completely wasted. The Administration refused to break the power of the big banks, when they had the opportunity, earlier this year. And the regulatory reforms they are now pursuing will turn out to be, in my opinion, and I do follow this day to day, you know. These reforms will turn out to be essentially meaningless.
MARCY KAPTUR: When Lincoln ran into trouble, during the Civil War, he got new generals. He brought in Grant. I hope that President Obama will bring in some new generals on the financial front.
BILL MOYERS: Should Geithner be fired? And Summers be fired?
MARCY KAPTUR: I don’t think that any individuals who had their hands on creating this mess should be in charge of cleaning it up. I honestly don’t think they’re capable of it.
BILL MOYERS: Let me show you an excerpt from the speech President Obama made on Wall Street last month, September. Here is the challenge he laid down to the bankers.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We will not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess at the heart of this crisis, where too many were motivated only by the appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks without regard for consequences, and expect that next time, American taxpayers will be there to break their fall.
BILL MOYERS: A reality check. Not one CEO of a Wall Street bank was there to hear the President. What do you make of that?
SIMON JOHNSON: Arrogance. Because they have no fear for the government anymore. They have no respect for the President, which I find absolutely extraordinary and shocking. All right? And I think they have no not an ounce of gratitude to the American people, who saved them, their jobs, and the way they run the world.
This morning my cat was stiff as cardboard. He’d died overnight. It was not much of a surprise, as he has refused to eat for 26 days. He basically died of AIDS, the feline variety (FIV). So I’ve been a bit distracted for about a month, and now the sword has fallen.
I posted a short photo essay of his short life here, if you are curious.
Then I read today’s XKCD:
So I’ve outlived several cats, and kids born after too many events I experienced are old enough to bring them to mind. I’ve lived on the same block for as long as it took me to go from birth to two college degrees. I predate manned space flight and weather satellites. My first record player had both 16 and 78, as well as 33 and 45. I have changed tubes in my radio. 1984 still feels like it should be the future. I celebrated the American bicentennial. I still have a Vote McGovern button from just after my parents got their citizenships.
No real point, today.