The Ordeal Of The Tarp 8

The House inquisition of the eight banking executives appears to be winding down-not that it should ever have been wound up. Predictably nothing was accomplished. Here are my observations for whatever they’re worth and they’re worth little more than the collective wisdom of our elected leaders that has been on display.

  • The highlight of the day had to be Ken Lewis’s response to Maxine Waters screed. He said with a perfectly confused look on his face, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” How many poor souls that have had to sit there and listen to these people must have wanted to say the same thing?
  • The economics lesson of the day was Jamie Dimon pointing out that banks aren’t the only lenders in the financial system and that a lot of the others have been vaporized. Too bad, that all of them didn’t keep driving this point home.
  • The surprise of the day was that Goldman Sachs doesn’t own or lease a plane. Thanks to CNBC for figuring out that doesn’t mean that they fly commercial all the time. According to CNBC, they charter their rides fron Net Jets, one of Buffett’s companies.
  • The best example of why no congressman should ever be given loan authority came from some southern representative (sorry I don’t remember his name) who was distraught that some developers from his district weren’t able to get a construction loan. Does can he spell over supply? 
  • The missed opportunity to name an effective Treasury Secretary. Jamie Dimon comes across on television and gets to the point with no sugar coating. In short, he’s a hell of a communicator. Somehow I don’t think he would have appeared a plan to come up with a plan.
  • The most redundant question of the day was of course why haven’t you been lending the money we gave you. How many times do the congressmen and women have to hear that the loans at these institutions have not declined even in the face of a severe recession.
  • The most demeaning moment occurred as the bankers were asked to raise their hands in response to a series of questions. It takes a big man to belittle others as this congressman did.
  • The gulf between commercial and investment bankers still seems to exist. With the possible exception of Dimon, Blackenfein and Mack just seemed to be a bit more erudite, less intimidated and generally more in control. They still give you the impression that you don’t want to mess with them.

I expect that you have your own observations. Feel free to add them to the list and then let’s get on to more productive endeavours.

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