Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 23, 2009 / 29 Shevat 5769

Bad Times Visit Our Betters in Europe

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LONDON — Think that credit collapse that triggered the Bush administration's $700 billion bank bailout was necessary because of Republican hostility to regulation and the ineptness of President George W. Bush?


If it were that simple, then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Labor Party would not be squirming, and the United Kingdom would not be swimming in staggering sums of debt.


It was not that long ago that market watchers hailed Brown as the savvy Euro-technocrat who, as the United Kingdom's former chancellor of the exchequer, understood capital markets and calmly navigated British finance through the storms that swamped Bushdom last year. When the Halifax Bank of Scotland was on the verge of collapse in September, Brown began working on a takeover of the bank by Lloyds TSB — for which the prime minister was hailed as a hero who averted a crisis.


But the deal did not save the empire. Instead, it helped sink Lloyds, requiring government intervention. British taxpayers now own a 43 percent stake in Lloyds — which may grow. Some wonder if Brown will have to nationalize Lloyds.


Oh, yes, and last week, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Lloyds was planning to pay 120 million pounds ($171.72 million) in bonuses to top execs.


Sound familiar? This part is, too: There were Cassandras in both countries warning of impending disaster. Earlier this month in Washington, whistleblower Harry Markopolos testified before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets about how he had figured out back in 2000 that financier Bernard Madoff, who now has admitted to bilking investors of a whopping $50 billion, was a fraud. Not only did Markopolos find and document evidence of fraud, but worse, he repeatedly handed the information to Securities and Exchange Commission staff. Staff members either didn't understand the information or did not care.


Now Brown has his own Markopolos. His name is Paul Moore, the former head of risk management for Halifax Bank of Scotland. Before a House of Commons Treasury Select Committee this month, Moore testified that he warned the bank between 2002 and 2005 that the sales-driven culture under bank head Sir James Crosby would lead to ruin. "You know the adverts that beg you to buy more? People must be protected from falling into so much debt," Moore told the Independent on Sunday.


For his troubles, the bank canned Moore, then worked out a 500,000 pound ($715,515) legal settlement that demanded his silence.


It turns out that the man who fired Moore for issuing this sage advice, Crosby, later was named by Brown to be the No. 2 regulator at the Financial Services Authority. After Moore's testimony, Crosby resigned, but the damage to Brown was done.


Moore also told the Independent, "Brown presided over a policy based on excessive consumer spending based on massively increasing property prices, which were caused by excessively easy credit which could only ultimately lead to disaster. But no, in Gordon's mind it was all caused by global events beyond his and anybody else's control."


The word from No. 10 Downing Street is that Brown has "no regrets" about the Lloyds/HBOS deal. Tory leader David Cameron now calls the merger "a bad decision," and others have cited the "no regrets" line as proof that Brown is out of touch and unable to admit mistakes.


It's easy to kick Brown, even if the Lloyds/HBOS merger — and his boast at the time, "We have changed the competition law" — may have kept the economy from sinking faster and deeper.


The moral of the story: No matter which party is in charge, leaders are likely to be too cozy with people who make big money. In the end, Brown would have been better served with a friend named Paul Moore than a colleague named Sir James. (President Obama, take note. Maybe you want to share your BlackBerry address with Markopolos and Moore.)


The other moral: Throughout the Bush years, Democratic critics spoke as if every problem would be dealt with smoothly under different leadership. But in the United Kingdom — one of Our Betters in Europe, with European higher taxes and commitment to liberal regulation — their very European Union oversaw the same credit craze that occurred under the bumbling, right-wing, go-it-alone Bush.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.

Debra J. Saunders Archives

© 2009, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles