Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Or Else…

Did the executives at several Wall Street banks hold up support for the new economic plan unless the White House stopped trash-talking about them? Josh Marshall thinks so.

As Monica Langley describes it, the Obama team went in with a dim view of Wall Street, didn’t bring the big bankers in on key policy decisions etc. But now they’re realizing they have to play ball. And this is in part why the markets gave a good reception to today’s Geithner plan.

Bankers were shell-shocked, especially when Congress moved to heavily tax bonuses. When administration officials began calling them to talk about the next phase of the bailout, the bankers turned the tables. They used the calls to lobby against the antibonus legislation, Wall Street executives say. Several big firms called Treasury and White House officials to urge a more reasonable approach, both sides say. The banks’ message: If you want our help to get credit flowing again to consumers and businesses, stop the rush to penalize our bonuses.

If that’s the case — that the big bankers went all pouty because the public was pissed off at the big bonuses and threatened to take their ball and go home — then it’s a remarkable insight to the mentality of these people.

It’s one thing to work with people with whom you might disagree, but it’s another thing entirely when they demonstrate this kind of petulance — not to mention chutzpah. Considering the fact that these people have been instrumental in bringing the economy of the United States and most of the industrialized world to the brink of disaster, for them to hold up their hurt feelings and missed payments on the house in the Hamptons as their hostages to repairing the damage is stunning.

It sounds like someone needs an attitude adjustment…if not five to fifteen years in Sing Sing.