Jeffrey Sachs, economist at Columbia University, writes:
During the last 20 years Wall Street has had its way with us. On a bipartisan basis it provided the Treasury Secretaries, filled the regulatory agencies, paid itself unconscionable bonuses, and stuffed the campaign coffers. The greed knew no bounds. The distortions of public policy -- right up to Greenspan's infamous decision to leave financial regulation up to the firms themselves -- have wrecked the world economy.
The fascinating thing about this greed is that it is so deeply ingrained that neither the bankers themselves nor our economic leadership understands just how disgusting and dangerous it is. Even after the music stopped, to use Chuck Prince's now famous simile, the bankers keep dancing - with our money. They continue to grab billions of taxpayer dollars (in Merrill's case) or at least hundreds of millions of dollars (in AIG's case) with giddy abandon, in full view and with a straight face. And our economics officials declare that this is unavoidable or too dangerous to curb.
And he concludes:
The faster that the economics team and Congress heed the public call for simple justice and decency in financial matters, and the more rapidly that translates into a true Wall Street clean up, the faster will come the economic recovery.