The CEOs of Goldman, Bank Of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley went before the Congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission today to revisit what happened during the heat of the financial crisis in 2008. Yesterday the NYT published a good list of questions that should be asked. Some are populist propaganda, but many are relevant and legitimate. Perhaps the best question of all, that gets at the root of the entire issue, was offered by David Stockman, OMB Director under President Reagan. The question is below, but unfortunately the political pitchfork waving in a key election year will likely overshadow the ability to get to the root of that question. And even if Congress can get to the root of the banking problems, take a look at this picture of the testifying CEOs. Do these expressions (especially Blankfein and Dimon, the two on the left) look remotely contrite or willing to play ball?
Without the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Wall Street banks would not have survived the shock to the financial system that occurred in September 2008. Nor would they have subsequently accrued large profits and bonus pools in 2009. Shouldn’t a substantial share of those bonus pools be sequestered on bank balance sheets for several years to increase the banks’ capital levels and shield taxpayers against another bailout?/blockquote>