May 24, 2013
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Feb. 12, 2009
/ 18 Shevat 5769
Wall Street wizards no more
The phenomenon of opulent Wall Street investment wizards contributing in large numbers to the Democratic Party, often to the left wing of the Democratic Party, struck me, until recent years, as perverse to the utmost. During the 2008 election cycle, 60 percent of the donations made by employees of the top Wall Street firms went to Democrats. Surely, these Wall Street donors had to realize that the left wing of the Democratic Party, which dominates the party, is utterly ignorant of the economic system that allowed the Wall Streeters their opulence. Yet as the imbecility of Citigroup and AIG and all the rest is revealed, it has become obvious that those who write checks for Madame Pelosi and for the enthusiasms of Al Gore actually know very little about free market capitalism. If they did, they would have realized that in capitalism, the bubble always bursts and the chain letter always runs out of suckers.
Reviewing the fall of these impossibly leveraged investment firms, it is apparent that their leading executives had no respect for prudent risk management or for prudence in general. Lending standards were foreign to them. Their laxness would have been spotted easily in decades past by prudent lenders. Yet for several decades now, standards of all sorts have been wasting away, for instance, entertainment standards, intellectual standards and investment standards. Where there was once Ella Fitzgerald there is now Britney Spears. Russell Kirk has been replaced by Arianna Huffington. Walter Wriston gives way to Robert Rubin. Obviously, when investment standards are abused, the consequences are more immediate than in the realms of entertainment and intellect. Financial loss is real and cannot be denied for long.
From our vantage point in early 2009, we can see that critics of Alan Greenspan were right when they said that he lowered interest rates too much between 2001 and 2004. But what about the products that the Wall Street wizards were selling? They were called in hushed tones of awe "complex derivatives." Actually, they were sausages stuffed with junk loans, mediocre loans, good loans and sufficient spice to sucker the credulous. These sausages were sold all over the world, and every time a transaction was made, those in on the transaction made money, even the vegetarians, even the economic ignoramuses. It was a kind of gigantic chain letter. Government regulators did not take heed. The politicians did not take heed. Those investment bankers who did and who spoke out were ignored.
As one of the now-discredited wizards, former CEO of Citigroup Chuck Prince, put it in an interview with the Financial Times: "When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you got to get up and dance. We're still dancing." He said that in July 2007. He was off the dance floor by early November. There was a time when such insouciance about excess "liquidity" would be unthinkable for a responsible Wall Street banker. Yet as I say, in recent years there have not been a lot of responsible officers in the Wall Street investment houses, and those who were responsible were not listened to.
On Wall Street, in London, and wherever else the madness took hold, huge salaries and bonuses were heaved around, even after the bubble had burst and the chain letter was seen for what it was. Now my worry is that the rogues of Wall Street will be replaced by the rogues of Washington. A fundamental problem of our time is a widespread insouciance to prudent standards. Such standards would have restrained the opportunists who danced when they should have practiced due diligence. Now let us hope the politicians will return to prudent standards in fashioning their resolution of the financial crisis. Thus far, there is little reason for optimism.
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.
JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, Creators Syndicate
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
Ask Doctor K