Why Didn’t The Major Bank CEOs Show Up On Monday?

Speaking on Wall Street at noon Monday, President Obama laid blame for the crisis and recession of 2008-09 squarely at the feet of the financial sector.  The diagnosis was sound but the rest of his speech was disappointing – the administration’s draft regulatory reforms look lame, banks are fully mobilized against the only proposal with any teeth (a consumer protection agency for financial products), and the President’s call to “please don’t do it again” surely fell on deaf ears.

In fact, were any of the most relevant ears even listening?  The real news from Monday was not the substance of the speech or the stony silence of the financial elite in the audience, but rather that not a single chief executive officer (CEO) of a major bank was in attendance.

This is striking because CEOs were the natural and repeated point of contact for the President and his staff throughout the crisis – as seen, for example, at the pivotal White House meeting in March.  This makes sense, because it was the CEOs whose jobs and reputations were on the line – people like Lloyd Blankfein (Goldman Sachs), Kenneth Lewis (Bank of America), Jamie Dimon (JP Morgan Chase), and John Mack (Morgan Stanley).  And these same CEOs are today the key decision makers for everything the President wants to urge: careful risk management, responsible compensation schemes, and improved business ethics.

These CEOs are, of course, busy people and no doubt many or all had good excuses and sent nice apology notes.  But their collective absence is beyond remarkable.  The President saved their jobs, bonuses, pensions and much more after he came in office; this was a gutsy call on his part and one that may still sully his legacy.  And in this endeavor, the President represented both the Congress of the United States – for example, in deciding how to implement the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) – as well as all taxpayers and every citizen.  Usually, you have to stand in line for a long time to sit in the same room as the President of the United States.

But not a single big bank CEO apparently had the time to show a little respect or gratitude, and to pay even lip service to better behavior in the future?

More than any technical discussion of raising capital standards or tightening leverage ratios, this presumably uncoordinated failure to show up speaks volumes about current attitudes on Wall Street.  The CEOs of our biggest banks have weighed the man and done the trade.  They have no more use for this President, no fear for what he can do to them, and see no reason to show support.  They have moved on – presumably back to whatever they were doing before the events of September 2008 so rudely interrupted.  And their obvious presumption, contrary to the words and body language of the President on Monday, is that next time – when they need it – the representative of the taxpayer will be there for them again, with generous bailout packages and extraordinary kindness.

By Simon Johnson

This is a slightly edited version of a post that originally appeared on the NYT’s Economix, and it is used here with permission.  If you would like to reproduce the entire post, please contact the NYT.  Short quotes may be used under the usual fair use rules.

78 responses to “Why Didn’t The Major Bank CEOs Show Up On Monday?

  1. Simon,
    Thanks again for speaking the truth and calling out the immoral profiteering of the financial elite. When I heard you on Tom Ashbrook’s show the other day I was deeply grateful that someone with some cred was saying what needs to be said. What can the average citizen do to help bring about the change that is needed? Do you know of any organizations or movements that are boldly addressing these issues? Please keep it up and let me know if there is anything I can do to support your efforts.

  2. Were they invited?

  3. prancing and speechifying, my man. prancing and speechification.

  4. Indeed the CEOs of the big banks have done the trade, and judged the man. They found him inconsequential. Careful analysis and deconstruction of crucial statements of Obama (say on health care) shows him not grounded on real convictions (see my latest essay on my site 60% of the way down in it is an analysis of a devastating statement of Obama, who exhibits no real understanding of ethics whatsoever, or so I claim, in detail).

    Barack Obama used to call Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan, his “friend”. Is Barack going to cry now that they show their spite? Probably not: this would require some conviction somewhere.

    Patrice Ayme

    https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/

    I

  5. “Busy people” – doing what? We know these guys are nothing but lobbyists, politicians, so Simon has it just right. If they didn’t think it was worth showing up here, it was because each of them saw a better political return on investment elsewhere that day.

    I can understand that they feel they have the administration in the bag, and that permanent Too Big To Fail racketeering is a done deal. I get the contempt they feel for Obama. Who wouldn’t feel it? It’s what every thug feels for the coward who rolls over.

    But it’s still funny how they’re so demented in their sociopathy by now that they never even go through the motions of public politics anymore.

    There’s gotta be a way to exploit that…

  6. The statement of Obama who shows he does not understand ethics:

    As Obama puts it: “Insurance executives don’t do this ["treat their customers badly"] because they are bad people. They do it because it’s profitable.”

    (It’s in my essay “Why France is bad…”)

    Thus bankers (or slave traders, for that matter) can do whatever, however bad: in Obama’s eyes, they are not “bad people”.

    Time to go back to primary school?

    PA

  7. Since their writers probably wrote the speech there wasn’t any need for them to sit through it. No doubt the regulations are already being polished by the bank lawyers. Isn’t Obama working for them? Did they make those campaign contributions out of public spirit? Really, Simon, what did you expect?

  8. Larry Kudlow is giddy

    My God! What a sentence. Chilling, shocking, … if Obama can read that line and still walk in to work tomorrow morning to conduct business as usual,…then everything the critics say about him is true. He really is just a shallow calculating politician and I am heartbreakingly disappointed. However, I must say after having read this that America’s gratitude and respect goes out to Simon Johnson for having the courage and strength to write this way. That is how I define moral fiber. Amazing!~ Obama on the other hand,…. The Disappearing Man.

    “CEOs of our biggest banks have weighed the man and done the trade. They have no more use for this President, no fear for what he can do to them, and see no reason to show support. “

  9. Plebeianswillrevolt

    Clever “Glen Beck” type reply. What can you do for an encore Greg, flap your fins and catch a fish in your mouth?

  10. It is time to take those guys down.

    Every administration, sooner or later, has its challenge thrust upon it by events, and the challenge is seldom what they thought it would be. Right now the Obama administration is about as much in control of the US as the Mexican government is of Mexico. Obama will probably never be a Teddy Roosevelt (or an FDR) but if he can not rise above his passivity, he will be a one-termer.

  11. The CEOs of the most important banks could not be seen being lectured by somebody as insignificant as the president of the US. They would lose all credibility in the eyes of their costumers. Of course they didn’t show.

  12. they saw their chance to show who is Boss and they took it – they knew they would be reprimanded and they didn’t feel like it

    around the year 1000 there was a pope in Rome in just such a dire situation – the Romans didn’t want him, the Romans considered themselves to be Boss

    – he closed the churches shortly before Easter – no tourists no salvation for locals, deads couldn’t be buried – shortly before Easter the Romans blinked and the pope ruled everafter
    – at the time that was an unheard of and very bold step to take
    – is there a similar unheard of thing the mightiest man in the world could do to force polite behaviour and together with that cooperation?

  13. I don’t think it’s right to criticize the CEO’s like this.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if instead of listening to Obama’s speech, they were on a little island off the coast of South Carolina, toasting Obama and Bernake with champagne flutes full of the finest champagne.

  14. It’s true though isn’t it? Bad people harm others for sport. Good people harm others for money.

  15. Seriously. You can’t just go to those things. You have to be invited. Does anybody know if they were invited and all snubbed? If so, that is even bigger news.

    If they weren’t invited then this argument is less interesteding to me. I suppose they could have called the White House and asked to be invited. So, in that sense Simon is right. But I stand by my inital question: were they invited?

    BTW, its not nice to compare someone Glenn Beck, under any circumstances. Its very hurtful.

  16. I resent this slander of dolphins, the most intelligent animals on earth.

  17. Lavrenti Beria

    “But not a single big bank CEO apparently had the time to show a little respect or gratitude, and to pay even lip service to better behavior in the future?”

    I mean, really, Simon, your feelings are hurt? You were expecting gratitude? Egad, man, these people haven’t paid enough for Obama’s professional sevices? One expects performance and value from one’s employees, not to be annoyed with demands for recognition in addition to getting one’s money’s worth, eh? And tell me, please, that that isn’t what’s going on here.

    A little advice for the future: When considering the political dimensions of the word “gratitude”, one is perhaps best guided by the insights of Josef Stalin on the matter. “Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs,” he opined.

  18. Are you saying that Obama works in the “governmental affairs division” of Goldman?

  19. I hear ya Greg.

    I can just see Ken Lewis showing up without an invite.

    “Excuse me, sir. Are you on the list?”

    “I don’t know I’m Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America.”

    “I’m sorry, sir, you don’t appear to be on the list. I can’t let you in.”

    “Let me get Obama on the Phone…hello? Barack? Yes, it’s Ken, Ken Lewis…yes, I have a little problem…what?…I’m not on the list?”

    “I’m sorry sir, if you’re not on the list, you can’t come in”

  20. This really isn’t that shocking. People have portrayed it like it’s shocking, but it’s not. In a way, they’re doing President Obama a favor. By marking their ground (marking their territory by pissing, as it were) they’re letting him know who his REAL friends are (including Jamie Dimon). More accurately, they’re letting President Obama know who his real enemies are.

    Unfortunately, sniffing these pigs out (pigs like Ken Lewis, John Mack, and Lloyd Blankfein) isn’t something they teach at Harvard Law Review. This is a new type of pig in fact. A PARASITIC PIG which likes to pay itself huge salaries on the taxpayer’s dime. Apparently, giving depositor’s 2% interest on accounts that they use to make +10% in investments on isn’t enough. Now they want to use taxpayer money to stuff their personal coffers.

    When the bankers chose to ignore President Obama, the bankers are also ignoring the vast majority of taxpaying American voters, because they voted for President Obama. The bankers are telling American voters “We already own Congress, so why should we respect the American people?!?!?”

    The bankers may think this is cute. It’s not clever on a long-term outlook.

  21. Lavrenti Beria

    How could you even suggest such a thing, Yakkis. ;-)

  22. Obama during the campaign once said that he writes better speeches than his speech writers
    – maybe they didn’t show up because he insisted on writing his own speech
    – after all if you are in the banking business you need reliability
    – can’t have somebody saying without guidance/supervision what’s on his mind …

  23. These things are seriously staged.

    The WH invites people to presdential events to either reward them or to persaude them.

    So the question is: were they invited and did not come, or not invited at all.

  24. Its like meeting attendance percentage on a Saturday after a Friday payday.

  25. Lavrenti Beria

    I like the language, the likenesses here, Ted. However, you make the common mistake of failing to extend them to the political side of the equation. Parasitic piggishness is not nor can it be a trait limited to bankers, sir. It has no meaning in its own right apart from the willful collusion of political vermin that make it possible. One aspect cannot be abstracted from the other, as it were. Fully to be appreciated, they must be view in tandem.

  26. maybe Greg has a point and they weren’t invited but only their runners-up were – now the most simple explanation would be it was some mix-up at the cubicle level (we are famous for being stupid and fallible) and the BigBrass told their assistants not to alert their colleagues to it
    – next explanation would be Obama snubbed them intentionally telling them thereby I won’t talk to you anymore. I’m going to look who’s a promising talent one level down
    – next explanation would be Obama snubbed them und hoped for the reaction he’s getting here, public in an uproar our president has been snubbed –
    – or maybe Yakkis is right and they couldn’t cancel their appointment in the spa
    – or maybe the invitations were on simple paper without special kotaus or adequate prostrations to the masters

    any way it would be nice to get to see the invitations …

  27. Honestly, I think that this shows that Obama is NOT a leader, whether or not the CEO’s were invited. Would LBJ have taken this from them? TR? Reagan? I doubt it. Take charge already!

    If I were President, I’d make sure to have them follow me around like puppies and parade them around just to let them know which branch owned them. But I suppose that the tables are turned (they own the Presidency), and their absence speaks volumes.

    I hope PRESIDENT Obama grows a spine and starts acting like he’s President.

  28. Look, you can’t have it both ways (by “you” I mean both Obama and Simon and everyone expecting or demanding different behavior by financial CEOs).

    Our entire society is now constructed on neoliberal economic principles, exemplified by Friedman’s dictum that a corporation’s sole purpose and measure is it’s success at increasing profit on behalf of shareholders (and, it follows, on behalf of the executives whom the Directors – elected by the shareholders – select to run the company).

    The most profitable (therefore most exemplary) corporations are in the financial industry, and their business is the creation and manipulation of debt, which is the single most important economic component for the modern operation of most businesses, households, and governments. With importance comes power and with power comes attitude.

    So why the surprise and shock that this industry was thoroughly deregulated with full public knowledge and approval over a 30 year period; that the Fed and the Bush and Obama administrations and Congress have been willing – nay, eager – to spend “whatever it takes” to rescue and subsidize this industry to keep it from going bankrupt from top to bottom; and that the CEOs of this industry consider themselves superior beings entitled to imperial rewards with no restrictions, and who consider themselves to be under no ethical, political, or legal constraints on their behavior? Especially when any weak financial reform proposal from the Liberals promptly labeled “socialist” and easily killed by Conservatives of both parties?

    Gratitude? Consideration? Social Responsibility? Fear of consequences from the government? What planet are you from?

  29. Or, as Barry Ritholtz put it today in the best short statement I have possibly ever read:

    ‘Next week, Volcker will appear before Congress, where one hopes he will testify on their inexcusable acquiescence to bank lobbyists, and their inability to reform finance. “Grow a spine, you corrupt, chicken-shit cowards, before the country goes to Hell,” we wish he was overheard to remark.’

  30. “on behalf of the executives whom the Directors – elected by the shareholders – select to run the company”

    but that’s the point I do not get
    – basically these executives are nothing else but employees
    – how could it happen that the employers, those who give them the job, hire them, let them get valuable powerful and cocky way past anything reasonable. What happened that the real owners allowed their lackeys to get so uppity? How did that evolve?

    I know how it evolved when a king hired mercenaries and one of them proved to be a leader but those leaders had their own soldateska and the kings fought them for every bit of influence and he never ever regarded any of them as his equal i.e. would neither play bridge nor golf with him.

    why then do the shareholders seem to take a kind of perverse pride in employing the most expensive BigBrass of the country – is it a kind of my Porsche is faster than your Maserati thing? or in other words, an I can p*e further than you thing?

    sorry, but besides all the terrible stuff that is happening due to the machinations of these people this behaviour looks terribly immature to me.

  31. talk to the invisible hand

    Simon, you’re actually concerned about brownie points?

  32. In the old days you made the Harvard Law Review by having the highest grades. The President made it in a more original way: they staged an essay contest for those who didn’t liked being graded. Those considered historically disadvantaged were graded separately and assigned a certain number of spots, of which he got one. Then they tore up the essays so nobody could tell why anybody won. Don’t blame Harvard. They aren’t allowed to just take the smartest people any more.

  33. How did the real owners allow their lackeys to get so uppity?

    It works like this: corporate power is vested by law in the boards of directors. They have exclusive power to run the business, but of course the directors are chosen by management from the ranks of superannuated military officers, defrocked Senators and Congressmen, retired and occasionally incumbent executives, corporation lawyers, pin up minorities and celebrity females. A director’s pay is high six figure chump change, tiny allocations of stock and options, but each director makes a business of being a director in six to fifteen Fortunate 500 companies at a time, since only one day per month of service is actually required, and this involves only snoozing through a slide show and five course lunch and voting yes at the appropriate time as orchestrated by the corporate secretary who has a script. Now, of course, the continued acceptability of any individual in this seriously underappreciated role of Fortunate 500 Director is naturally enough dependent upon the gentleman or lady maintaining a conciliatory attitude toward the CEOs who appoint them and hold a sword of Damocles at the ready to put out of the director business any who actually object to anything the CEO may want to do, like pay himself more than other less important celebrities like power hitting shortstops, movie actors, talk show hosts, etc. The shareholders really have nothing to say about all this. They have no voice in executive compensation; their choice is to sell the stock and buy another one.

  34. The financial industry does not respect the government and why should it? The federal agencies are controlled by the financial industry and have been relegated to the role of cheerleaders. In good times they pat each other on the back while leading the pep rally, while in bad time they make excuses.

    I don’t know why anyone would expect the CEO’s to attend the President’s speech. There is way too much work to be done creating the next big bubble. One must remember that each CEO has a part to play in this design so that investigators can never place the blame for the ultimate global financial meltdown at just one doorstep. The more players that are involved, the more the blame is diluted. No one really is individually responsible because they all are.

    Don’t get me wrong, the financial industry is sad for a bit as their profits are temporarily disrupted while governments around the world pick up the pieces and try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. But at the same time this temporary disruption to profits provides the time needed to devise the next complex global scheme to defraud investors around the world. When it comes right down to it there’s not much difference between the African pirates that take cargo ships hostage for ransom and the financial system that takes the global economy hostage for ransom. The real differenc is simply scale and complexity.

  35. Plebeianswillrevolt

    I resent the defense of filthy bank CEO’s. Have you kept up with the saga of Kenb Lewis and John Thain lately?, thankfully there is a Federal Judge in Manhattan with the same fortitude as Andrew Cuomo did you read the Vanity Fair article on Goldman Sachs, Matt Taibbi?,…. an individual with the same stellar character as Simon ….these bank freaks should be hung, shot, for treason. Not bonused in the tens of billions. This is no joking matter. Somehow they have Obama by the throat and are choking him off camera.

    And the Glenn Beck metaphor is that of a seal, not a dolphin.

  36. were you there, simon johnson? if you weren’t there shouting ‘you liar’ at the top of your lungs then we know you weren’t serious about your mission.

  37. “The CEOs of our biggest banks have weighed the man and done the trade. They have no more use for this President, no fear for what he can do to them, and see no reason to show support.”

    And when the wheels come off again and they go looking for another handout? Somehow I think this, oh, just might make a wee bit of difference in Obama’s response.

  38. CEOs appoint directors!?

  39. prancing and speechifying. what he was selected to do. kinda like nero practicing his scales.

  40. The day is a comin’.

  41. I they were invited, and didn’t show .. maybe there were a lot of empty chairs near the front?

  42. They sure show up uninvited when they want money, don’t they? Guess when that same wants their help and cooperation, they’re nowhere to be seen. Invited or not.

  43. I hope it doesn’t cause the earth to reverse its spin, but I disagree that the absence was rude, or even that the White House would have preferred things turned out differently.

    To begin with, no CEO would want to go unless he knew that all the others would be there. If one guy shows up, the evening news is going to be that Obama lectured [insert CEO name here] on responsibility. So there is a game theory reason to stay home.

    More broadly, unless they know what is going to be said, no point showing up and generating footage of “President reads Wall Street the riot act.”

    Political PR teams suggest getting out in front of any story to avoid the other guy defining the terms. But that advice doesn’t hold for corporations. No matter what, the banks are going to be the bad guys, just as tobacco companies or insurance companies in their respective sectors. And if you are going to be the bad guy, just don’t show up. Refuse to fuel the fire.

    The bank CEOs played their hand well. No point blaming them. Blame our elected leadership for folding while holding all the cards.

  44. I am not sure that this event involved invitations, but rather was announced, early on, to the entire financial community, and the WH let the chips fall as they may. Whether the CEO’s showed up or not doesn’t really matter. Not only are they very busy guys (plotting more ways to drive most of us deeper into debt or poverty by developing creative financial products before the CFPA is created, or planning to move large parts of their operations off shore to avoid taxation issues and regulatory oversight, or determining how best to arbitrage between countries, or …..) but even if they showed, it would be to hob nob with those who have coopted the populace with their behind the scenes dealings.

    Do I sound cynical? Maybe it’s because I have seen nothing to make me otherwise. Hah, the thought of any of those guys standing on the floor with the riffraff! Wouldn’t that spoil their images to be seen with the rank and file (who will be eventually mostly unemployed due to the second great collapse in a few months)? Yes, it would. These guys don’t like to leave the peaceful quiet of their ivory towers and vast well guarded estates. Why confuse us now with such an apparent ruse as showing up to hear their major benefactor scold them and ask for what they are not prepared to give.

  45. Every matter is a joking matter, if you want to make it through the day and still hope for tomorrow. I hope Yakkis never stops making me chuckle with the wise cracking. It keeps things from getting too serious to do anyone any good. ;-)

  46. “If I were President, I’d make sure to have them follow me around like puppies and parade them around just to let them know which branch owned them.”

    It’s kind of hard to call the tune when you’ve spent the better part of the last year making clear to these people and to others that gestures nothwithstanding you really are the ideal employee after all. I can’t even visualize Obama being “followed around” by his own puppy. He’d be more apt to seek a compromise with him when it came time for selecting a place to pee.

  47. LOL. But that’s the thing about Obama. He continually bargains and compromises with the Republicans who are implacable and have no intention of voting for his policies, and then they turn around and cry that the measures were not bipartisan because they did not vote for them. Not because he’s trying to please everyone (he’s perfectly happy to piss of his base, or rather what’s left of his progressive base), it’s because he wants to be one of the plutocrats.

  48. Hillbilly Daryl

    They didn’t and don’t want or need anything just now.

  49. Do people working in this GS division get a bonus?

  50. There is so much momentum towards corporatism and globalization right now that the situtation will continue to deteriorate. A lot of things spring up better using a grass roots approach and perhaps that needs to be the focus. If the political and societal clout is there, the politicians will follow. Progressives need to keep convincing people at the personal, gut level. Times have been bad before, this country started as a slave state, remember?

  51. Don’t get me wrong, the financial industry is sad for a bit as their profits are temporarily disrupted while governments around the world pick up the pieces and try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

    re: Humpty Dumpty…the thing was, they never could put him back together again.

  52. if our Vorstand is your CEOs and your directors are our Aufsichtsrat then on paper they don’t but in reality they kind of may via a you scratch mine I scratch yours.

    but even if this is so it does not explain the uppity tolerance. There was a time when an old general would have easily put the owner of a heli-pad, no matter how smart, in his place and not have considered supervising the highest paid BigBoss a status symbol worth having.

    also Roman soldiers could appoint an emperor by lifting him on a shield and they quite often did successfully i.e. the emperor became a real emperor, still once he had become emperor he was emperor and also quite often did not keep his promises to the soldiers i.e. put them in their place.

  53. When Obama applied to Harvard, he didn’t tell them he was a minority, didn’t apply under umbrella of any set-aside. Your tone is snide and sarcastic. Your ‘facts’ aren’t.

    I don’t have too much more respect for the POTUS than these other folks here. I think he has a gauzy view of bipartisanship. But just to look at the grand scheme of things from a politician’s POV, I suggest reading Edward Harrison’s attempt to live inside the mind of a Representative @ Credit Writedowns or Naked Capitalism. Also read Rumi Mallott Morales piece on Senator Dodd @ Nouriel Roubini’s weekly mailer. Can’t send any links. This !@#$% machine is in its death throes.

  54. “due to the second great collapse in a few months”

    ts ts ts – the media is already out to smear people like you for pricking the next bubble by showing a deplorable lack of optimism

  55. Am not talking about how he was accepted to Harvard. Am not saying he isn’t ‘smart’. Admit to being snide and sarcastic (redundant?). However, this is exactly how he achieved law review status. Facts are facts. Look it up. He admits it himself.

  56. Management nominates directors. It controls the proxy machinery. Would be independent directors cannot get themselves listed on management proxies. They must circulate their own in order to oppose management candidates. State corporation law limits access to shareholder lists, which makes proxy contests into very expensive advertising campaigns. Institutional shareholders routinely rubber stamp management nominees. If they dislike management they simply sell the stock. Individual shareholders seldom vote, and their only choice is to vote against management candidates since no other candidates appear on the proxies they get in the mail. It is sort of like elections in Cuba. Quorum requirements are low enough that the whole voting process is nothing but a charade. None of this is accidental or new. A classic book on the subject was written in 1932.

  57. Looks like we might need another Pecora (sp?) hearing.

  58. The relevant ears don’t need to show up at a press conference to “be listening” to the president. The absence of bank CEOs at this event is not remotely of concern to me.

    What I want to know – what are the highly compensated financial leaders doing to prevent such a catastrophe in the future? Sounds like a whole lotta nothing. (“We haven’t changed our approach to the biz,” says GS’s Viniar – an appalling admission – but one that has gone unremarked/unnoticed/unpunished by the administration…)

    So what is the administration doing to prevent another meltdown?

    Coddling the big boys in ways that will ensure it will happen again.

    TBTF is even bigger. Lehman’s collapse is proof that the irrationally greedy people running Wall Street must be propped up forever by the feds – or else….

    The administration has changed nothing, and thus, the cycle has started up again. Life insurance anyone?

  59. Hmmm, do you suppose they paid as little attention to the opening statements in the FCIC hearings yesterday? At NewDeal2.0, we’re watching (lots of good first day analysis over there) but I wonder what channel these same CEOs had their TVs tuned to yesterday…

  60. They control the bonuses.

  61. Given how profitable metldowns are for “the biz”, we’ve made them our new business model.

  62. “But not a single big bank CEO apparently had the time to show a little respect or gratitude, and to pay even lip service to better behavior in the future?”

    The banks own the administration. They do not need to talk to Big O, they talk to Geithner, Bernanke, Summers, Emmanuel. They leave maintenance of the farce to the Sockpuppet-In-Chief.

    This is no FDR, no LBJ. Even the president has to earn respect, especially from those who are naturally inclined to respect nothing but themselves and raw power.

  63. If CEO’s had to show up every time that Obama was giving a press conference, they would need their private jets back and wouldn’t be able to get any work done. Some people actually have to do work in this country.

  64. “staged” is not a fact, it’s an opinion
    “didn’t like being graded” is not a fact
    “so nobody could tell why anybody won” is a supposition, not a fact
    “aren’t allowed to take the smartest people any more” is a conclusion based on previous suppositions.

    Your snide comment is pretty light on facts. You have opinions. That’s okay. Own them as opinions; try to convince people your opinions are correct, but don’t spout a bunch of suppositions and then claim they are facts.

  65. Yeah, unlike the president who goes around kissing babies and planting arugula in his backyard, bankers have serious business to do. They can’t be bothered to hear what every hack politician has to say about how to run their business. They’re doing just fine as it is thank you!

  66. Yeah, unlike the president who goes around kissing babies and planting arugula in his backyard, bankers have serious business to do. They can’t be bothered to hear what every hack politician has to say about how to run their business. They’re doing just fine as it is thank you!

  67. “The President saved their jobs, bonuses, pensions and much more after he came in office; this was a gutsy call on his part”

    Gutsy? Well, calling the presidents actions gutsy is like saying it is gutsy for a prostitute to perform fellatio on a john AFTER receiving the money.

    The CEOs already received the services they paid for, so why should they stick around?

  68. you have a point. the holy one has already handed the walking papers to one major industrial CEO. now, who wants to be next?

  69. Exactly.

    Maybe it’s my military background, but one of the things you are supposed to do when you are in charge is ACT LIKE YOU ARE.

    Any organization can survive without a strong leader when times are good, but strong leadership is necessary to have any realistic chance of doing anything constructive when TSHTF.

    The fact that the master thieves were too preoccupied looting the treasury to pay a courtesy call to The President (as a concept, the individual holding the office should NOT matter) is hard proof that they have no respect at all for the United States, the Constitution, and the Rule of Law.

    I honestly hope that the President is at least disappointed that they didn’t show up. But I also think that this is hard proof that most elected officials couldn’t lead their way out of a wet paper bag, because to my knowledge not a single member of Congress has complained about this disrespect, which any self-important elected official can understand.

  70. please! please!

  71. But the President went THERE, to talk about THEM. That’s why it’s a problem. If he went there to talk about baseball, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal.

  72. Who can even stand listening to another one of his speeches anyway? Did you hear about the lady who gave her TV to Goodwill to make sure she never had to see another speech by Obama?

    Someone needs to tell him to give the appearances a break until next Jan, then stick with once a year–i am CONFIDENT people are averse to looking and hearing his speeches anymore…and this last one was more than a pathetic bunch of nonesense…as if it matters anymore that there will be no more bailouts–the banksters already took every last penny and borrowed to the gills of eternity for our children and grandchildren to pay, and he gave it the blessing instead of calling them out. SO, he is an accomplice in the biggest bankheist bonanza of all times.

  73. the privately held federal reserve and these affiliated bankster cartel members OWN THE PRESIDENT AND MOST ELECTED OFFICIALS, PERIOD.

  74. “own the president …”

    my bet goes like this:
    there are the states parading (not in unison, heaven forbid) their pathetic single trillions and billions as a big deal and there is world-finance parading its unknown and probably unknowable 61 or so trillion of by now probably mostly mad bets out there.

    This makes Obama like the guy with one arrow against a bataillon of maxim gun operators. Though I could never understand the adoration he generated I hope for him being a good basket ball player because to the best of my knowledge they score by threading/tricking their way through the opponents.

    So stop giving up on him early – right now there is no better bet out there and if he is to score he’ll need a lot of support.

    and as a bit of decadent European advice – the rulers we had who were a bit (or a lot) loose around the marital vow were by far not the worst of them – i.e. give those applying for high office a bit of slack there – no cronyism ithough i.e. the perks should be public – if the wife is also his Maîtresse-en-titre good for all but if not allow her a nice butler – and let them keep functioning as an official couple.

  75. Many insightful and good comments but all that will not change a thing. How long has Goldman been in the bad press now? – Have they changed their tack? They are all having a great year and will pay good bonuses… compliments of the American tax payer… and what are the people doing about it? Absolutely nothing. Since the Administration and the Congress are not independent, why isn’t anybody rallying the people for a nation-wide protest, general strike or something similar? Isn’t America a democracy? I still remember the moral sermons addressed at many of the Asian countries and their corrupt leaders and their crony-capitalism during the financial crisis of the late nineties. The scale of scandals at the time pales relative to what has happened – is happening in the US today. What a hypocrisy. And seriously, if you do not stop these guys on Wall Street, they will bring your Nation and anything it ever stood for down. If you are loaded with debt because you lined the pockets of a few, you will not have the money to spend on defense, welfare, health, education etc. China will know how to take advantage of it. It already is.

  76. When I encounter a blatantly political cheap shot, that discredits the comment stream. Grow up.

  77. Actually quite a few people have showed up recently in DC. And the Republicans got them there.

    How’s that for irony? The takeover is complete. The flock have come to the wolf.

    Apparently, there’s some shearing left to do.