I found this New York Times article by way of HuffingtonPost this morning. The author hits a major part of the problem with Wall Street and its peddling of exotic investment packages on the head. As I watched some of the Goldman executives giving their testimony before Congress I had some similar thoughts. One of the justifications those men gave for their actions was that they were 'market makers' and the customers for the 'products' they created and sold were 'sophisticated' investors who could read the prospectuses to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, while that may have been true for the managers of pension funds and, as in the case of the credit union cited in the story, banking institutions, those managers were NOT playing the game with their own money. And, as it turns out, they were not as smart and savvy as they thought they were. And, worse in my mind, they think they have done nothing wrong. But there is a lot wrong with all sides of this 'transaction.' There is something incredibly dishonest about 'market makers' peddling products they have specially constructed to fail to 'customers' (marks?) as a 'good investment.' The 'customers' were also incredibly lax in their duties to their own customers--those who owned the money they played with and lost. It is nice that there is a Federally guaranteed program to protect much, if not all, assets in most, if not all, banks and credit unions. At least the depositors don't get totally hosed. But, there should be some repercussions on the managers and 'market makers' in this. Since there are no such repercussions, I expect more of the same no matter what Congress chooses to do (if anything, and I am not holding my breath.)
Well, the President got angry this last week, again. This time the executives of BP, Haliburton, and Transocean drew his ire for their attempts, at the Senate hearings, to pass the responsibility for the oil rig blow out that is still spewing oil into the Gulf waters. I am not really that impressed. He was also 'angry' at Wall Street. He was also angry at the big banks. He was also angry at the Supreme Court for their decision that overturned campaign limitations on corporations. I can't see that his anger has made any real difference. Then there is this story, also from the New York Times by way of Google News. The government, trying to get a handle on a growing ecological/economic disaster, has no idea of how big the problem might really be. Their sources of information (the satellite pictures and BP) are, evidently, very untrustworthy.