JCL Blog

American Style (Big) Graft

I recently read Bailout by Neil Barofsky.  I am not going to post a review because I really cannot recommend the book.  It is a rant by a guy trying to counter his fear that the people in DC that he crossed will be successful in making sure he never works again - as they undoubtedly threatened over and over.  I mostly agree with this review in Forbes: don't read it because it is a liberal rant.

Despite this, one part of the book is just stuck in my head.  Treasury a secretary Geithner and sidekick Kashkari said over and over again that the bailout terms could not be changed (made better for the taxpayer) because some of the banks may not take the bailout - and it was very important that all of the banks take the bailout.  Why would we want so badly to push our scarce resources onto banks that don't want the funds? 

Well, clearly I am one of those guys that is the last to realize that the joke is on me.  The Wall Streeters (Geithner Et. Al.) were shoveling money to their buddies and needed a dozen non buddies on the receiving end to make it less obvious.  If they got everyone to take the bailout, no one could cry foul. 

I do some business in developing countries and from time to time get into discussions about corruption.  When I say that they should clean up their corruption, they answer:  so should you!  I used to think that we had a thread of moral authority to hold onto.  In fact we don't. We have so much money that when Paulson/Geithner/Kashkari want to give $50 billion to their buddies, they hide it in a $800 billion dollar bailout!  Yow!

It will be very interesting to see who replaces Geithner. I still maintain this is the most important cabinet appointment Obama has on his plate. 

One last note about Barofksy.  In keeping with my political schizophrenia, I am a fiscal conservative that can't seem to vote for a republican lately.   Based solely on his book, I think that Barofsky is a good guy.  I just hope we have no need for his services anytime soon.