Here in the great Northeast we are all abuzz (in fear actually) of the pitchfork brigade that has formed in our nation's capital to levy punitive taxes on all of us in the financial services industry over the misdeeds of a few and the misunderstanding of the very small and inconsequential retention bonuses paid to the few folks worth their salt left over at AIG keeping the lights on. Citibank and JPMorgan sent around late day emails assuring people that they would work with policymakers to avert this ill considered law - and that is about as nice as I can describe it. Krauthammer has it right
, but let me say this...this law is a disaster in every way. It is not justified by any stretch. Punishing the tens of thousands of people who work hard and with integrity in our financial system to make amends for the stupidity of a few who are already expelled from the system, is a gross injustice and it would have devastating consequences. First, the New York City economy would implode. NYC is just squeaking by on the little financial services activity that is still going on. This law would send NYC over the edge into the abyss. Then it would ripple throughout the economy as the NY money center banks and capital markets firms lose people and suffer disruption and uncertainty. This is to say nothing of what it would do to communities like Charlotte, and San Francisco, Minneapolis and Boston (remember, Wells Fargo, State Street, US Bank were all forced to take TARP funds). I can't even begin to articulate how dumb a reaction this is, and it has me quite fearful, not for myself, but for our economy and for our country. Tonight my friend assured me that it would never pass. "Oh yeah", I said? Who is the voice of reason in the halls of power ? Where precisely is the brake going to be applied? We speculated that some grey haired Democratic power broker like a Felix Rohatyn would place a call to the White House and make sure that it didn't pass or Chuck Schumer, at least, would see the devastation that his constituency faced and mount a counter campaign. Is this our best hope - some miracle intervention? We are on very dangerous ground, we are tottering on the edge of recession looking into the abyss at Depression and our leaders seemed determined to bungle us over the edge.
Here is my suggestion...we need an outright slaughter of the incumbents in 2010. Although I have a partisan preference, I am not calling for a change in the partisan makeup of our legislature; I would be happy if the partisan makeup stayed the same but that every current member of Congress was sent packing. We literally need 535 completely different people as our elected representatives. Of course that seems a pipe dream but that is what needs to happen, short of revolution.