Right on!

Michael Lewis author of Liar’s Poker, is my favorite financial writer. He’s penned a column for Bloomberg that he thinks is tongue in cheek but you know what? He’s absolutely right.

Even as I write I am watching the eunuchs now posing as Wall Street CEOs bend over backward before some congressional committee to prove that the operation was a success, and they are now well and truly without testicles.

John Mack swore that he and everyone else at Morgan Stanley have only a secondary interest in money — that the guys at Morgan Stanley love to bank so much that if necessary they’d do it for free. Vikram Pandit went out of his way to apologize for ordering up a single corporate jet. “I get the new reality,” he said.

Get It

No, Vikram, you don’t. You think the new reality is cowering and simpering before elected officials so that they’ll quit being mean to you and maybe even let Tim Geithner give you more money. The new reality is that you need to grow a pair. Here’s how:

— Play the hand you’ve been dealt rather than the hand other people insist that you hold.

Pandit and Mack and the rest have completely swallowed “the people’s” line that because they’ve taken taxpayer money they are somehow now required to care how “the people” feel about them.

Think about this. Some fool comes along and gives you $15 billion, no strings attached. The fool doesn’t own you. You own him. Mack needs to stand up and say, “We at Morgan Stanley are pleased by your investment. Now, if you ever want to see a dime of it back, go away. We’ll call you if we need you.”

While I’d prefer to see corporate chiefs eschew my money, collected from me at figurative gunpoint, and save their companies or let them fail as their skills and market pressures allow, second best is to take the money and still stand up to the slugs who are forking over my dough to claim control over them. NASCAR’s in the dumps because car makers are now owned by the government and what would “the people” (there’s a joke) think if their money was spent on hospitality tents or new tires for Bobby Lee or whoever the hell drives those cars? No jets, except for Congressmen, no junkets, except for Congressmen and Barbara Streisand, no no no! I don’t really care about these wusses giving away their own freedom but I do care that this governmental power grab will extend into all our lives. So ignore Lewis’s sarcasm, boys, and, as he suggests, “grow a pair!”

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3 responses to “Right on!

  1. anonymous

    Agree, w/Lewis’ sentiment (though he’s a laughable loser who never made many bucks in his life)

    IBers (incl, or esp, the CEOs) are the slow kids of finance…most IBers w/a 3-digit IQ left that lower-paying part of the industry ~10yrs ago…and flying commercial really sucks; it’s like suffering mass transit/cabs for daily commute

    The BSDs of finance today are almost all hedgies (many of whom started their careers at IB trading desks)…and many of whom ceaselessly annoy the “old guard” of Greenwich or Upper East Side…but gotta love the swagger

    Almost no one likes guys who are more wealthy and/or smarter, esp if they are younger and self-made, too….can only imagine how ex-community organizers and ambulance chasers feel about ’em….

  2. oldbanker

    Banking is going back to where it was up until the mid-to-late 70s; rather tedious and dull but reasonably stable and even honorable. The pay will be relatively low (certainly compared to the lottery sized winning bankers have been getting since the 90s) but since everyone’s comp will shrink as unemployment remains high, housing prices will compress. You might even have 2 acres on Round Hill for less than a million (again). The future is all about correcting for the sins (excess leverage) of the past.

  3. pulled up in OG

    That new book by Lewis turns out to be a collection of articles/postmortems on financial crises since the ’87 crash.

    From a ’99 WSJ article about Wall St. firms planning for the inevitable bursting of the dot.com bubble:

    To Mr. Madeoff, “it was insanity. This thing was getting out of control.”
    But Mr. Madoff lived through the October 1987 crash in stock prices – as Nasdaq’s chairman. “I had to field all the unhappy phone calls when people felt the Nasdaq market had pretty much shut down,” he says. “My attitude was, I do not want to relive that event.”