The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) holds its first public session on Wednesday. When the FCIC was established in May, the prevailing wisdom was that the hearings and final report would be dry and rather inconclusive.
But the debate around Big Banks has started to shifted markedly, particularly in recent weeks. Anger about bonuses is increasingly expressed by the most mild-mannered policy experts. The administration itself is proposing some sort of excess profits tax on the biggest banks. And – most important – our top bankers have their tin ears prominently on display.
In the Daily Beast, I suggest exactly how the Commission can put this moment to productive use. The point is to find for rather dull and difficult technical material to become names, dates, and numbers that catch the popular imagination – and provide a genuine warning. The most obvious and reasonable way to do this is by drilling down into the details of the Wall Street compensation system, then and now – the more you dig, the more you understand why we are heading for trouble.
By Simon Johnson