Wall Street Wizards and Public Floggings

Wow. Managed to run outside at 5 a.m. this morning. And it was good — very good, with the temperature around 50, a light breeze and only a light drizzle smacking me in the face. And I was thinking about Jack Cafferty — and about the Wall Street Wizards who will make their perk walk to Capitol Hill today.

Cafferty has a segment at the beginning and end of each hour on CNN’s Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer. He asks a question, people rush to their computers and opine via e-mail, he reads on the air some selected responses and posts the rest on his blog. Kind of a real-life version of Twitter.

Anyway, yesterday, following the latest Dow Jones disaster on Wall Street which followed the Senate approving the stimulus package which coincided with Tresuary Secretary Geithner’s musings about TARP II and so on, Cafferty asked viewers, “How concerned are you about the banking system?” Here’s his commentary. It’s a hoot. Unfortunately.

But it’s an excellent question. Let’s see if it has legs today. We have the opportunity for a member of the House Financial Services Committee to ask it of the eight Wizards of Wall Street who will be in the dock this morning. And if all — or even one of the Wizards — would answer the question truthfully and honestly, it might be a step in the direction of restoring needed trust and confidence in what’s left of our financial system.

Probably won’t happen. This is political theater at its finest. Barney Frank and the other members of the committee are always running for reelection — and this is an opportunity to grab the headlines and the YouTube sound bites. For a preview of the hearing, here’s an excellent New York Times column by Andrew Ross Sorkin, “Up Next for Bankers: A Flogging.”

Well, OK. Flog away. They deserve it. And I expect that by the time the Wizards are done they won’t have much appetite for lunch. They will have already eaten a shit sandwich. But just so this isn’t a total waste of time, in additon to Cafferty’s question, here are four others as compiled by Dennis Ellis on CNN Money.com that the Wizards should answer:

  • What did you do with the [TARP] money?
  • What have you done to act more responsibly?
  • How many more potential losses are there?
  • How did you get to Washington?

I think I’ll take a break from my hectic schedule this morning and watch the spectacle on C-Span at 10 a.m. Hey. It beats The View.

Wonder if Barney Frank is on Twitter?

If so, I could Tweet — @rsjewell — him some questions if things get dull.

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One response to “Wall Street Wizards and Public Floggings

  1. I saw Andrew Sorkin on Charlie Rose last night. I think he is weening himself off being a Wall St apologist as he too has come to realize the bankers’ folly (presumptuousness) in fighting attempts to regulate the industry so the crisis of 2008 doesn’t happen again. In case you are interested, I have just posted a piece based on his discussion.

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