03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bankers, Take a Lesson From Mark McGwire

Obama Weighs Tax on Banks to Cut Deficit

Wall Street's public relations are a train wreck. I have no prior experience in corporate communications. But here's my action plan to clean up the mess:

  1. CEOs, fire your PR people. They suck.
  2. Shut up, Lloyd, about doing "God's work." Nobody buys it, not even the religious right. And now you've tainted everything Goldman says or does. Distance yourself from ... well ... yourself.
  3. That goes for you, too, Jamie. Enough with the threats to leave London. You'll end up running JP Morgan out of Antarctica. No taxes, but the winters are a bugger.
  4. Pay attention to Mark McGwire this week. Apologize for juicing on leverage and sending global capital markets into cardiac arrest during 2008.
  5. Divide your bonus pool into five buckets, and pay down corporate debt with one of them. Hey, it's what I do with cash.
  6. Dividend the second bucket to your shareholders. Don't they deserve a little love?
  7. Fund small business loans with the third, and do your part for the economy. Right now, it looks like you're doing the economy for your part.
  8. Invest the fourth in education. The last I looked, 20 percent of Goldman's bonus pool would fund all of South Carolina's public schools, K-12, for six months.
  9. Okay, okay. You can pay bankers with the last bucket. Otherwise, they might take those fat job offers from Dubai.
  10. Remind Barney Frank about the shortfalls of too much intervention. Wasn't it KfW Bankengruppe -- owned by the German government -- that wired €300 million into Lehman's black hole the day it declared bankruptcy? You can't say, "Oops," when you're running the show, Barn.

Norb Vonnegut