Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spitzer

It's too bad. As attorney general and certainly as governor, he didn't do everything the best way. But it's become easy to forget that in the first few years of this decade, particularly in 2002, the financial system came close to imploding from a lack of public trust. In my experience as a former sell-side trader, the floor traders at the NYSE aren't the most introspective knuckle-draggers on the evolutionary scale. When they cheered the Spitzer news it spoke volumes, and showed they're too dumb to see the bigger picture. During Spitzer's tenure as AG, white-collar crooks used a bit more anti-perspirant and thought twice before ripping someone off. He helped restore trust, and that's the lifeblood of the financial system. Without it those traders' mortgages in the leafy Connecticut and Jersey suburbs might have become a bit burdensome.

In light of the past few months, I think it's safe to say that if there's anything Wall Street doesn't need less of these days it's oversight, regulation, and indeed prosecution. In that regard, at least, Spitzer deserves to be remembered well.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anne Laurie said...

So... in 2014, will NSA's "accidental" leak of Spitzer's zipper problems be remembered as the last hurrah of the Bush/Cheney junta's attempt to turn America into the authoritarian kleptocracy of their dreams? Or as another step in the reduction of "the last global superpower" into the sort of epic horrorshow that was Russia in the 1990s?

3/13/2008 2:50 AM  
Blogger DrDave said...

When someone like Spitzer (or Bill Clinton, for that matter) is brought down by his own personal weakness and hubris, it's more than a little depressing. Why do they think they can get away with anything?

Yes, there are things that Spitzer did that reflect well on his intentions but this is just so obviously and incredibly hypocritical that it is probably best that we don't think about him at all for a while.

3/13/2008 8:25 AM  
Blogger Dave S. said...

From an admittedly minimal amount of reading it seems as if some of Spitzer's tactics as AG were excessive (indictments to intimidate, etc.). What's your take on that, CR?

3/13/2008 11:00 AM  
Blogger Miss Bliss said...

I gotta say I'm more concerned with the timing of this "scandal" and the forced retirement of Admiral William J. Fallon, Mideast Commander. Any military leader who insists that diplomacy with Iran is the way we must proceed ends up being shown the door. Scandals are unimportant compared with the very real danger of the Bush Admin appears to still be planning in Iran.

3/13/2008 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TCR, you are the first and only blogger to see the bigger picture in this regard. For that, I thank you.

3/13/2008 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hypocrisy. If nothing else, the Republican Party has taught me to really examine that word. Alan Alda said it best. To make a long story short, a friend tells him (in response to Alan's conundrum), "The good thing about being a hypocrite is that you get to keep your values."

Some men screw women, other men screw investors. I'm sad to see someone that did something good for the public in public office, go down for this reason. The whole thing seems a little bit shady, from all perspectives. Somehow we are all a little bit poorer for it. If a man stands up and says I have no flaws, I think I would be afraid, very afraid.

3/13/2008 5:18 PM  

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