Monday, March 16, 2009

Is there such a thing as ethics in high finance?

I would like to think that the general premise under which our government agreed to fork over tens of billions of your and my tax dollars to the insolvent AIG was to pay debts that AIG no longer had the money to honor.   Not only should the "financial products" operation of AIG be investigated for fraud, the entire company, and particularly those executives who showed up in congress and the offices of the treasury with their ransom notes and wheel barrows to be filled with money, should be questioned about taking our money under false or fraudulent pretenses since they are also using our money to pay millions in "contractually obligated" bonuses to the geniuses in their financial products operation.  Will AIG go under if they don't pay these so called bonuses?  We have been hit up for precious billions because the credit market consequences of AIG going into default are purported to be a further freeze-up of lending that hurts us little people.  AIG also insures legitimate loans that would not have presented much risk had the economy not gone in the toilet...a condition they did much to bring about.  

Bonuses must be the wrong word for these payments.  The term strongly implies conditional payment contingent on delivering a higher than standard level of performance.  Fucking the investors to the tune of a few hundred billion dollars does not strike me as better than standard performance of fiduciary responsibilities.   If the payments are not conditional,  they are not bonuses.  If they are not debts owed to creditor institutions, they have no claim on money borrowed by our government, money that you and I will toil decades to repay.

Here in the US, most of us are just now looking at our federal tax unfortunate for the thieves at AIG that they come asking for pork money for their associates at exactly the moment when the average person's notion of the government's money is least abstract and most in focus as OUR tax money.

I am just at working stiff who always had to pay his own bills and always did so.  I obviously know nothing about the ethics of high finance.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The robbers are still loose in the vault

By far the most effective way to rob a bank is to own one.

The banking industry, even after all of the demonstrations that they are as greedy and foolish with money as any yokel whose tax money they now extort, are still asking for more money.  The most important thing to be done is really do what Ben Bernanke has at least said should be done: establish regulatory oversight of these captains of cupidity.  As welcome as a chaperon at a teenager's drinking party perhaps but we really need adult supervision of the bankers.

Firedoglake has got a campaign going specifically targeted at countering the influence of the bankers on YOUR congress.  Those banks took billions from us already and quietly spent millions to influence congressional voting.  That would earn the bastards jail time if I ran this country.  Sign the petition to demand that congress end the era of blindly trusting a key actor in our well being who has uniformly demonstrated they cannot be trusted.  And better yet, instead of sending all your money to the dupes in the legislature, send $10 or $20 to FDL's counter-lobbying effort.  Not many seem able to stand up to an industry that has taken our deposits, then a trillion for bailouts and has designs on a trillion more...enough already!  I have put my money where my blog is.  Your turn.

UPDATE: I find I am not the first to have realized how vulnerable the trusting depositors and investors are.  I hope Mr. Black will take it as a complement that strong agreement with his thesis is a natural reaction to the treachery of the intriguers of high finance who realized that vulnerability long before you and I, long before Mr. Black and long before the incompentents who cheered for deregulation of finance.