No one has ever acused me of being a financial expert. In fact, until the past couple of years no one has ever accused me of doing a very good job balancing my checkbook.
But I (sometimes) know the difference in fog in the air and smoke being blown up my tailpipe.
And I just read at the Daily Beast what I think might be the ballsiest and whiniest and most ridiculous defense I've seen to date of the fatheads on Wall Street who helped facilitate the current financial meltdown.
CNBC's Charlie Gasparino, in an article headlined Freakout on Wall Street, defends continued big salaries for the people running the almost-failed-banks-turned-welfare-banks on Wall Street, with two detailed arguments based on the following premises:
- That little guys - waiters, cab drivers, bartenders, etc. - will suffer if high rolling folks on Wall Street don't eat out and drink out and spend money in restaurants and taverns, and so on.
- That by limiting the pay of Wall Street's top bosses at companies surviving on tax payer dollars, "we" will drive those companies' "best and brightest" to other companies that won't limit their pay.
I know it's inevitable that some of my friends who are 1,000 times better versed in this topic than me (You know I appreciate you Monty!) will scold me and remind me that this meltdown may have well been seeded in the 1960s.
Still, this has to be the weakest appropriation of trickle down economics theory I've ever seen. Waiters will suffer if the greedy - Gasparino's word, not mine - don't eat out as much?
Waiters and the like are already suffering. And you know, that's what happens when you take government AKA tax dollars to run your business: you invite the government AKA custodians of tax dollars to tell you what you can and can't do with that money. Dance with the Devil...
And what's up with this "best and brightest" argument? John Thain, former CEO of Merrill Lynch - the guy who spent $35,000 on an old toilet that you can't even relieve yourself in - made that argument on CNBC too.
"Best and britghtest" are usually responsible for companies' success. I want no parts of the kind of "best and brightest" that ran Citibank and Merrill Lynch, among others, into the ground.
If I'm running Bank B, a successful bank that hasn't folded and isn't operating on tax dollars, and you, former head of the now defunct Bank A, apply for a job with me, why would I want your plague on my payroll? I'm gonna avoid you like an infectious disease.
You know who on Wall Street should get megabucks? Those folks running those banks that haven't applied for welfare.