Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The White House Intends to Restructure Wall Street

According to published reports, the Obama Administration "is ready to issue broad new guidelines that would rein in pay at financial institutions."

In other words, the White wants to tell Wall Street how much money they can make, and the plan does not just include firms that took government money. This should be looked upon as a blatant interference of government into the inner workings of the private sector.

"Bold and swift action!" That's the theme originating from Washington these days, and these plans have certainly been drafted swiftly, by Washington's standards.

Now we know that Washington can act swiftly if it wants to, so let's examine the hypocrisy of this situation.

When the elected officials residing in the ivory towers of Washington want to 'rein in' the private sector, we get "bold and swift" action, but when the public wants to 'rein in' the fraud, waste and abuse that has become commonplace in Washington, it happens anything but swiftly- if at all.

According to the President himself, only seven percent or so of the 'stimulus' money has been spent. Since the economy needs to be restarted last quarter, and not next year, can the pork filled stimulus package still be considered swift action?

Just a few short months ago the public opposition to the billions of unnecessary pork barrel projects in the FY10 budget proposal was met with heavy resistance from Washington. At that time, our elected officials declared that "Change in Washington takes time."

I guess we're to assume that if the goal is to regulate waste in Washington it's "change that takes time", but when it comes to micromanaging the private sector it's called "bold and swift action."

Not only does Washington have the desire to dictate pay scales, but they want to also dictate who's in charge. The feds initiated an attempt last week to oust Citi (C) CEO Vikram Pandit. Maybe Pandit needs to go, but how does Washington come up with the timing of these decisions? Pandit was allowed to remain on board long enough to develop an economic plan towards recovery only to be let go when the plan was ready to take effect?

In a similarly curious instance, Washington ousted General Motors (GM) CEO Rick Wagoner after he had been allowed to develop a restructuring plan for his company. Before his plan could be enacted, the White House gave him the axe.

Additionally, Washington allowed both Chrysler and GM to enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy months AFTER giving those companies billions of government money to avoid bankruptcy.

Does anyone else get the impression that when Washington acts "swiftly" that it's already too late?

All of this reminds me of when Barney Frank told the world that Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) were "good investments moving forward." We all know how that prediction turned out.

As the White House declares bold and swift action to reshape Wall Street, America is still waiting on the bold and swift action that will reshape Washington.

Let's not forget, all of those elected officials in Washington that want to reshape private industry, balance pay scales and choose leaders for publicly traded companies cannot even balance a checkbook.

With this latest news that the White House is going to restructure executive compensation on Wall Street, the cat is out of the bag that Washington can move swiftly when it wants to. Now that the American people are aware of that fact, let's reshape the waste in Washington; because for so long we've been told that it takes time to 'change'.

The Wine Messenger

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