“I don’t know karate—but I know cr-azy.”
The Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein finally said the F-word.
While Congress and the Treasury mull over approaches to the financial crisis with exotic names like “cram down,” “claw back” and “disgorgement,” and tax AIG executives “1000 percent” on their $160 million in bonuses, Pearlstein posed a potential solution in simpler terms.
He said what we should be hearing from every leader in government from President Barack Obama on down: “the Justice Department would surely have been within its rights to launch an extensive civil and criminal investigation into whether those bonuses were granted as part of an ongoing conspiracy to defraud shareholders.”
Any other description is making the situation more complicated than it needs to be.
See, most of us out here on Main Street don’t know the ins and outs of naked short selling. But we know that if you go to any sports book in Vegas and bet $100 on Morehead State to win it all, the casino takes your money up front. We don’t know how to engineer a credit default swap. But we know that when the dealer offers “insurance” against a blackjack, the odds say it’s a sucker bet. We didn’t know that banks were borrowing $30 or $40 for every dollar they had on hand, but somehow we all knew a long time ago that “no matter what a stripper tells you, there’s no sex in the champagne room.”