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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. 12, 2009 / 18 Shevat 5769

Wall Street wizards no more

By Bob Tyrrell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

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