I am actually speaking at a conference put together by an Objectivist organization tomorrow so I have Ayn Rand on the brain. (Rand’s philosophy is called Objectivism.)
Now I am not really an Ayn Rand guy. Ms. Rand once referred to libertarians (with whom I identify) as “right wing hippies.” And she didn’t mean it as a compliment.
Even still her thinking and writing are absolutely vital to the libertarian canon. She is also the most important and most influential female thinker of the 20th Century. There is really no other woman who comes close.
As such I think it makes sense that if we are to replace Hamilton on the $10 bill (which sounds good to me) we should replace him with Ayn Rand.
How awesome would it be to see the Treasury churning Rand portraits out?
Click here for the evolution of the $10 bill.
And don’t worry anti-Randians. There’s a move afoot to outlaw cash anyway so you won’t have to look at Ayn for very long. (And we’ve had to stare at FDR on the dime for 3 generations, so deal.)
It’s their money. They earned it. It sounds like they hadn’t had the easiest of lives. (Not that that matters in this equation fundamentally.) If they want to leave their fortune to the US government that is their business. It appears that theirs was a gesture of thanks to a country which took them in and which became their home.
I appreciate that sentiment very much.
But the US Treasury?
Congress didn’t authorize this payment. What gives?
Sadly the answer is all too familiar. Rule of law be damned.
Some Senate Democrats are (rightly) taking on the President over his nomination of Lazard’s global head of investment banking, Antonio Weiss, for Treasury undersecretary. Part of the problem is that Lazard is going to pay the guy $20 million in a bonus if he takes the job in government.
Now why would a global investment bank pay a C-level employee $20 million to go work for the government?
As I’ve said before, the Fall of 2008 is seared into my brain. I remember the exact moment when I heard that Greenspan said we were looking at a “once in a century” financial crash. I remember Lehman going down. I remember Goldman being saved. I remember when AIG which reinsured much of Wall Street was commandeered. I know it was a dark time for everyone but trust me, in the financial sector it was absolute insanity.
One could feel how fast and loose things got all of a sudden. In the “Great Blackberry Panic” as David Stockman refers to it, the rules were thrown out the window. The Fed did what it wanted. The Treasury did what it wanted. And in the chaos Wall Street saved itself at the expense of the rest of the economy. Fall 2008 on Wall Street was a cocktail of desperation and opportunism.
If you remember the post we recently did about the “new serfs,” well, below is a good example of this reality.
TARP was the absolute height of crony capitalism. Many of the big banks should have gone down, but in the midst of a “Blackberry panic” – as David Stockman puts it – the masters of the masters of the universe lost sight of reality and the nature of markets. Yes, Goldman Sachs would have gone down. But this would have been a GOOD THING. The blood which should have filled the the streets of Downtown Manhattan would have washed the unsustainable leverage clean from the system (for a while). Giants are meant to fall. It would have been good for the economy.
It would have been terrible for Wall Street of course. Banks, livelihoods, careers, and reputations hung in the balance that fall of 2008. For the bankers the world was indeed ending. So in a selfish act of desperation they forced the American public to save them.
According to this review Mr. Geithner thinks quite a lot of himself. He takes credit (credit?) for the lion’s share of the TARP bailout, which he sees as a success and not as many have come to see in the years since, an overreaction to a meltdown brought on by easy money which fundamentally undermined our economy.
No biggie. $11 billion here. $11 billion there. And because Treasury sold the shares back to GM, even though it was at a loss, the move took the restrictions off of executive pay. So that’s nice for the executives.
In January Bloomberg reported that Tim Geithner called the CEO of Standard and Poor’s after the company downgraded US debt to explain that the move would have “ramifications” for the company. Now S&P finds itself embroiled in a lawsuit driven by the Justice Department which S&P says is punishment for the downgrade. Read More
Geithner was able to get in and out of Washington DC pretty much unscathed. But his legacy will haunt the Treasury for a good while.
I will say that he did his job – for the banks.
Many people are mystified by the kids at the Ron Paul rallies screaming “End the Fed!”
They ask themselves, “Why should we end the Federal Reserve? The Fed helps maintain economic stability right? Every country has to have a central bank. These “End the Fed” kids are nothing but “Paulbots.” The people on CNBC and Bloomberg tell me that the Fed acts in my best interest. I think the people on Bloomberg and CNBC ought to know what’s right for me and my money. Harry Reid is right. Those hard money people and kids at the Ron Paul speeches are nothing but a bunch of anarchists!”
But the main reason many people feel this way is because they fundamentally don’t understand what the “End the Fed” people are really saying and why they are saying it.
The answer I believe is, yes, absolutely. Frankly I think that some people in Washington were hoping for a crash before now.That they haven’t gotten one has lead to significant consternation.
Politico says it’s more of a “chicken little” situation. Regardless of what fable the partial “shutdown” and renewed debt limit debate most resembles, president Obama has lost credibility with the American public on economic matters. (And other matters too. Remember last month’s crisis in Syria?)