Just a few months ago Jon Corzine was on the short list to be Treasury Secretary, but now he's ignoring a request to testify before a subcommittee investigating the demise MF Global and setting up a showdown that could have major implications for the president's re-election.
Those who are called to leadership when times are tough will be searching for allies and ideas from all sectors. They face a disgruntled, angry and dispirited public that has lost faith in its political and financial leaders.
By keeping their massive endowments in big banks, colleges inherently support the behaviors of those banks and everything those banks invest in. And those things happen to constitute the seeds sowed from which we now reap this crisis.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously found the death penalty harsh and random because different states applied different rules at various times when deciding whom they would execute. In a way, the foreclosure crisis is similarly harsh and random.
Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released Version 1.0 of its Supervision and Examination Manual. The Manual represents perhaps the single most important document that will be issued by the new CFPB.
The challenge is how to make our banks and our banking system stronger with the right dose of regulatory medicine. Too little will be ineffectual and too much may produce more complications than benefits.
Populist rhetoric when angry people are in the streets demanding accountability for bankers is a start, but talk is cheap. If the banking mess turns critical again, we will see what this president has learned, and what he is made of.
The Wall Street protesters and their barely discernible message that seems to want to hold bankers accountable for the 2008 financial collapse is attracting lots of press attention, but inside the big firms, senior executives have barely noticed.
The time has come for an intelligent, independently-governed, public infrastructure bank, ideally partnering with real banks that see their public purpose as a profession, focused on productive lending in the real economy.
The banking system is both a cause and an intrinsic part of our current economic and political crisis. Here are some suggestions for a manifesto for the Occupy Wall Street protests currently taking place.
Although they perform certain beneficial financial and capital market and merger services, Wall Street houses, financial institutions, and hedge and equity funds must be regulated in the public interest.
If the saga of Bank of America, the country's largest and most troubled bank, were to be made into a movie, its title would have to be "The Dumbest Men in the Room," starring its half-witted chief executive officer and board of directors.