The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Five Years After The Economic Collapse; Meet The Press Fails In Stacking The Deck

...And they took the world down!

There are time when live television just does not go as planned, or as hoped. The little voices in the earphones manage the cameras and the flow of the show very well, but those behind the-scenes managers cannot manage people how will speak their minds. Such a scenario played itself out this morning of segment  of Meet The Press

Instead of staging a panel with a balanced set of financial minds (conveniently called experts), NBC programmers booked Former Treasury Secretary and uber wealthy banking industry former Goldman Sachs CEO  Hank Paulson, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, and Barney Frank. 

The cast was set, a major player in the banking system that wrecked world economies while operating in a GOP 'Free-Market; No-Regulation" financial environment. According to the Academy Awarding winning documentary, The Inside Job, Paulson was a major contributor to an abyss into which the world damned near fell, and contributed to an economic collapse in this country that has virtually killed our middle class. If you have never watched The Inside Job give yourself  an education of a lifetime and expend viewing the 1:48 minute documentary. (And, not one person in the movie has spent a moment in jail!). Bartiromo, a well established and long-time hater of President Obama, and we feel a Wall street operative employed by NBC. Barney Frank, former member of Congress, and a noted critical thinker and one who speaks his mind without regard to protocol. 

NBC programmers did not place one economist, banker nor a financial pundit on the panel. What was the intent? Did the network wish to help the uber wealthy Hank Paulson hawk his book? As we look at the totality of the Meet The Press hour, was there a secondary motive in feeding "Obama Derangement Syndrome" sycophants with the 'five year' segment? It seems the full show hour may have included noted Obama complainer Andrea Mitchell and the ever-present Sunday Morning Show fixture: John McCain. Why not book an economist or financial pundit not connected with the Bush Years or a GOP ideologue like Bartiromo? Progressive financial (economic) expert guests are out there and a few are frequent guests on MSNBC (e.g., Jared Bernstein). 

Wouldn't you know that Barney Frank would hold his own? He not only held his own, he posed a question which appeared to have caught both Paulson and Bartiromo off-guard. Neither was prepared for the tough question, or maybe I should say neither would dare respond to the question. Actually, the question was not a tough quest at all; it was a question that appeared by the way it was received as an out-of-bounds question.  Frank's response is just below followed Bartiromo's preceding question. 

Alas, David Gregory jumped-in to save the moment. What a network sham!

Barney Frank..
 “To your question about those poor beleaguered bankers who have been forced to do so much,” Frank said, “why are they paying themselves so much money? Where did these enormous salaries come from if they were in fact in such serious trouble?”
Frank was responding to CNBC host Maria Bartiromo’s call to “get beyond the conversation of is Wall Street evil, are the bankers evil and causing pain” and instead look to economic growth as a cure-all for the vast inequality in income and wealth that has been exacerbated since the end of the recession. 
30 second clip

It would have been interesting to hear Bartiromo’s response had Gregory not intervened to prevent anyone answering Frank’s question. Wall Street executive pay seems difficult to defend five years on from the crisis. It isn’t just that banker bonuses and bank profits have returned to or even surpassed pre-crisis highs. It’s that a third of the highest-paid executives of the past 20 years have been failures or frauds. It’s that companies routinely manipulate performance-based compensation schemes to effectively guarantee executive payouts. It’s that taxpayers subsidize payments in the form of stock, which also give executives incentive to the sorts of fraud and risk-taking that created the financial crisis.
The full clip
Leave it to Barney Frank to expose the basic thought of answering a question about the nation's Top .5% bankers. I cannot recall faces like Paulson's and Bartiromo's without imagining to very pronounced butt-puckers.

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