Just Say Uncle: Sociopaths & Finance
It is really all in the way you think about it. Is it murder or justice? Debt or equity? Budget deficit or moral deficit?
As we struggle with the do’s, dont’s and maybes of the continuing financial reform debate, pearls of wisdom come from the strangest places. Last week’s press conference with John Travolta, John Gotti Jr. might be assumed an unusual source to derive insight. Yet Gotti Jr.’s words as he sat next to a botoxed Lindsay Lohan and Sister Victoria were profound.
“Some people say, ‘John Gotti was a killer, John Gotti was a gangster.” Yeah, he was, but he was also a man’s man, which is the most important thing. He made a choice to be something in his life and he stood true to those convictions. He never one time deviated from that path, not once.”
For some reason this moving testimony from a devoted son to his misunderstood Pa reminds me of the ongoing financial reform war. The current battlefields are fought on the same issues that created the global economic crisis. Monitoring derivatives, credit ratings, capital rules, and “too big to fail” banks has kicked up another firestorm. Only three years after Bear Stearns crashed and burned under the weight of its recklessness, lawmakers are claiming that regulations to prevent another crisis are unnecessary.
Republican Senator Jim DeMint introduced “The Financial Takeover Repeal Act of 2011” in an attempt to abort the nine-month old Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill before it is born. DeMint said, “We must repeal the Democrats’ takeover of the financial markets that favors Wall Street corporations, over-regulates small businesses with massive new bureaucracy and hurts consumers.” The 2300 page law attempts to rein in proprietary trading, re-establish capital limits and fiduciary responsibility for executives and institutions, create transparent exchanges for swaps and derivatives—and hardly favors Wall Street.
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