THE BLOG
10/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gimme a Break

I'll leave to others whom I respect to craft out just what sort of plan is likely to be successful in stabilizing the financial markets and equitable to taxpayers. But any sort of narrow focus on executive compensation strikes me as a load of crap. Yes, they are too high. And yes, I believe they are part of the problem. But I don't think I need to know too much about economics to know that they are not a significant structural problem in what led to this mess. And the dollars in questions are chump change compared to the bill the big investment houses are now pawning off on the American people.

The key components in exchange for the money have to be some sort of equity in the companies being rescued (I'll leave it to the experts to figure out the mechanics -- which I grant is likely a highly complex matter) and structural reforms that create oversight, accountability and transparency to ensure nothing like this happens again.

And in case it isn't obvious, those begging as they cling by their fingertips on the precipice are not in a position to be making any demands or calling any proposals "deal killer."

Late Update: My instincts tell me that the effort to pretty this up by adding a 'stimulus package' is equally bogus. That's not to say it's not important in itself. But if we blow 700 million or a trillion dollars cleaning up Wall Street's mess, having also budgeted 25 or 50 billion on helping ordinary people won't make that trillion dollars any less blown. The focus here needs to be on making sure this bailout makes sense, isn't going to be farmed out to Neil Bush and provides something for taxpayers in return. Let's keep the focus on that.

Originally Posted at Talking Points Memo