With Jamie Dimon called on the carpet before the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, it almost seemed like for a moment bankers were going to be held accountable for the enormous risks that end up losing billions of dollars.
Not so fast, says Lloyd Blankfein. Let's all step back from the brink of madness.
“If you put too much penalty on risk judgment, what kind of world are you going to have?” Blankfein, the CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, reportedly said today during a discussion with Motorola Solutions CEO Greg Brown.
“If you’re getting pounded and being made to ask questions, what kind of economic system do we have?” said Blankfein, according to Bloomberg.
It's possible, as many critics have noted, that in a world where miscalculated risk carried swift and sure punishment for bankers, we wouldn't be in a situation where Dimon had to explain how his company, JPMorgan Chase, lost at least $2 billion on bum derivative trades.
Come to that -- and we're just edging out on a speculative limb here -- if there were a few more disincentives in place for bankers to make big gambles, the financial crisis might not have happened in the first place, or at least might not have brought the national economy to its knees the way it did.
As for Dimon, he told legislators today that the fateful trades were something he "can't justify," and were "just too risky for our company."
But he stopped short of saying that more empowered regulators would have been able to make a difference. "They can’t stop something like this from happening," he said.