Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cross purposes

Remember the comment made here several times that expressed frustration about the administration blaming banks for not lending more and at the same time sending regulators out into the field with greater and greater demands for pristine balance sheet quality and ever higher capital levels or else. Can't have it both ways.

Now we have this dilemma on both a national and global scale with higher stakes. As central bankers, treasury officials of governments, some leading corporate citizens, and the IMF work intensely to maintain stability in once again fragile markets, politicians and government prosecutors(is there any difference) at all levels are working at cross purposes with those constructive players, acting unpredictably and at times incoherently in their bids for attention.

Various government leaders and politicians either can't stop the scapegoating and finger pointing that has become their raison d'etre for the past year or they are doing iconic Al Haig imitations, singularly losing their minds in public with inane announcements or actions. Government prosecutors in many countries and of course states in the U.S. see a big green light from the politicians and public to go after any actor that has participated in the financial crises of 2008 and 2009, benefitting from all the intellectual firepower of 20/20 hindsight. As this current crisis unfolds prosecutors are dredging up and threatening liabilities, civil actions, and even now criminal actions that have the potential to cripple, or at least maim, those that need to be in the forefront now with all attention looking at today and ahead, not to the past.

This storm should pass with some damage left behind but no disaster. If it doesn't, serial dysfunction will have won again and no doubt will strike again.


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