Monday, June 27, 2011

Some Cats and Dogs

When you look at the US’s unemployment numbers and economic malaise, and then at w has the money ameliorate some of the problem--over and above what they owe--it’s the nation’s banks, not the US Treasury.

When I was a lobbyist I would strive for “two fers,” initiatives which would produce benefits which helped multiple industry or political interests. It was not original thinking on my part merely a good way to build support, add momentum to my objectives, and improve the chances of winning.

I believe the nation’s big commercial banks, complete with their honking large investment banking subsidiaries, have a golden opportunity to achieve the “Trifecta” of doing good, doing well, and winning public and government support by funding commercial and municipal public works efforts around the nation, using new construction to put lots of people back to work and generating even greater bank earnings. (Sorry, Ron Klain, I disagree with you re the jobs impact of this type of activity, no matter who funds it.)

Four years ago, federal officials didn’t tarry (maybe they should have) when the banks “appeared” on the ropes and needed financial and regulatory help. The Bush and later the Obama administrations quickly infused the depositories with hundreds of billions in taxpayers dollars.

That cash came unencumbered by reciprocal demands on the banks and allowed those recipient financial institutions to improve their bottom lines---which they then arbitraged earning more and paying themselves wonderful bonuses or just increasing their overall compensation with Uncle Sam’s cash.

Now they should return the favor. Why aren’t the ABA and the Bankers Roundtable taking advantage of this opportunity to make money and help the nation?

The banks should find a way to give back to the nation, as well as their investors, and employ their ample resources in the most job creative, intensive manner?

There are no major legal or regulatory barriers to this arrangement and if there are, they could be handled easily, by a gracious Congress and Obama Administration. House.

If the banks occasionally wandered outside the liens of supporting job creating and revenue returning projects, I am sure that the federal and state regulators will be thoughtful about the added risks they are taking because of the greater good in the broader lending effort.

Maybe Republicans reading this, who still believes that the banks represent the “private market,” might embrace this not so bold proposal to have that financial segment elbow Uncle Sam out of the way and do their thing for America, bringing their private sector efficiencies to bear. It doesn’t involve raising taxes.

How much worse can this be than the thumb twiddling and the partisan hot air going back and forth now on Capitol Hill and in various state houses and governors’ mansions? And, when it works, let the banks get the credit for it.

Do What I Say Not What I Do

The United States sits here chastising and cheering on the Irish, the Greeks, Spain, Italy and Portugal, screaming at them to fix their economies, while we engage in partisan hyperbole and do very little to repair our own leaky financial house, White House media hints today, notwithstanding.

And, we want the world’s respect? For what?

We can adopt this hypocrisy because it boils down to the fact that we have a larger economic engine—not sure whether anyone can galvanize and channel it—and ultimately, our armies and guns are bigger and more plentiful. So, somewhere along the line is the implicit, “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll smite you!”

I think we have been woefully negligent as a political society, meaning the White House and Congress, cowardly hiding behind this disastrous kabuki dance of “Let’s put off this reckoning until as many of us as possible come back 2013.”

For what it is worth, I have “unsubscribed” from every political fundraising group which virtually daily send me fundraising messages, in the process telling them how disappointed I am in their lack of leadership in deficit reduction and other crucial matters.

People and institutions need greater leadership in hard times and not as much when the sun is shining and everyone is drawing paychecks.

I’ll repeat what I’ve been saying, both parties are negligent in their respective stewardships, but it’s President Obama, for whom I voted, who disappoints me most.

The nation—and the world—are looking to him, not John Boehner (R-Ohio) or Harry Reid (D-Nev), to get in front, project power, and produce some practical economic solutions.

Maybe that’s about to change, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

What Others Say?

People know my views on the works of the AEI’s, Peter Wallison, Ed Pinto, and now, after her book, Gretchen Morgenson.

They each have argued that Fannie Mae put lousy loans on their books for years prior to the Wall Street subprime driven financial meltdown which affected financial intuitions and societies across the globe. These critics have been unrelenting in their excoriation of the former GSEs.

I’ve cited official rejection of this political indictment and baseless political rthetoric, which is what it comes down to. But, as long as they persist, more rational and reasonable will try and expose them and their agendas.

Recently, I came across some additional views extremely critical of Wallison and his man Pinto’s efforts to con the President’s Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and others.

The juicy one is from the Daily Kos, written by Peter Architect, who has commented before on Wallison’s effort. (Bear in mind, much of what is in Morgenson’s books tracks the Wallison/Pinto fictions.)

The next piece, on the same issue, was written by David Min for the Center on American Progress.

The most recent comes from a former major league baseball player and now real estate veteran, Broderick Perkins, who was a first baseman for the San Diego Padres.

Perkins’ work appeared in the “,” which describes itself as, “The fastest-growing local content network in the U.S., powered by the largest pool of knowledgeable and passionate contributors in the world.”

Thanks to the friends who sent me these articles. I hope my blog readers enjoy them as much as I did.

Maloni, 6-27-2011


Blue Lightning said...


These construction projects DO create jobs, just not as many as people think, and not as many as we would like -- and certainly not as many as projects did back in the 1930s, when very few machines were used in construction (and lots of manpower). My other point was that MANY smaller projects (even if they are not iconic like the Hoover Dam) create more jobs than a FEW big, famous projects. So I'm with you, 100%, on the idea that the banks should help finance construction, and I agree that it will create SOME jobs. Where we may disagree (or maybe not) is on my view that to create MASSIVE numbers of jobs for the future, we need to grow long-term prospects (like advanced manufacturing, green energy, etc.) and fund/support the kinds of start ups that create large numbers of NEW jobs.

Hope you are well.


Bill Maloni said...

Thanks Ron.

I hope I didn't over read your opposition, but--frankly--I'll take whatever new jobs a major infusion of "private capital" would deliver.

I also would hope that somebody can come up with a way to let the banks "give back," while generating some good for others, which I realize was not part of your commentary.

BTW, if they do another movie with an older Ron Klain in a principal's role, to hell with Kevin Spacey, I'm available.

Bill Maloni said...

Ron--Shame on me. I should have added "congratulations" on your new gig.

The world expects your usual grand success.

Anonymous said...

I read the paper "Faulty Conclusions Based on Shoddy Foundations" by David Min referenced by your article. I am amazed at the errors that Ed Pinto's conclusions on Subprime and Alt-A mortgage loans have driven both media and politicians. I wish the paper gets the same attention from the media, it's never late to review conclusions.