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An odd brotherhood is joining the populist push to rein in the narcissistic greed of Wall Street giants: Wall Streeters themselves!
There’s John Bogle, the 80-year-old founder of Vanguard Group: “I am a believer that the system has gone badly awry and needs massive reform,” bellowed the old Wall Street bull. That surely must’ve astonished the business-as-usual elites on Wall Street and the petite reformers in Washington, who want delicate tweakings of the system – not “massive reform.” Joining Bogle’s cry for change are such former financial barons as Nicholas Brady, William Donaldson, and John Reed, all calling for structural reforms, rather than the timid regulatory proposals moving through Congress.
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And, good grief, can it be? Why yes, it’s Alan Greenspan, the laissez-faire absolutist and former Fed chairman, who was once hailed as the infallible guru of America’s economic policy. That was, of course, before his extremist libertarian theories expired in the fire of the recent Wall Street crash. Now, even Greenspan is on the reformist stump, urging the federal government to develop plans for splitting up financial empires that fail.
Speaking of splitting ’em up, there’s been a stunning call from a surprising source to do just that – and to do it now! Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a peer of Wall Street’s financial establishment, has broken rank from the tinkerers, calling for preemptive action against financial conglomerates considered “too big to fail.” Fisher notes that these outfits pose a systemic danger to the entire financial system and an inherent threat to our whole economy. “The sound thing to do,” he says, “is to dismantle them over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated.”
Amazing – the rebellion against Wall Street greed is even spilling into the Street itself! Who would’ve thought it?
“Elders Of Wall St. Favor Tight Rein,” The New York Times, February 17, 2010.
“Deal-Maker For Goldman Is Now Pushing For Regulation,” New York Times, March 4, 2010.
“Looking Back, Greenspan Says Wall Street Needs a Tighter Rein,” The New York Times, March 19, 2010.
“Dallas Fed Chief: Split up the ‘too big to fail’ banks,” Austin American Statesman, March 4, 2010.
“Fed’s Fisher Calls for Accord to Break Up Big Firms,” www.bloomberg.com, March 2010.
“Fed’s Fisher: Must Break up Banks That Are Too Big,” www.abcnews.com, March 3, 2010.
“Richard W. Fisher: Remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations,” www.dallasfed.org, March 3, 2010.