Great Moments In Tone-Deafness

January 14th, 2010at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Exhibit A:

Turner triggered controversy in August when he first floated the transaction tax idea and criticized the size of the U.K. financial sector in an interview in Prospect, a British journal. At a black-tie gathering of financial executives in London on Sept. 22, Turner said banks should move away from products, such as complex derivatives, that don’t benefit society.

“Some financial activities which proliferated over the last 10 years were socially useless, and some parts of the system were swollen beyond their optimal size,” he told the gathering.

Turner’s remarks have been condemned by executives who say it’s ridiculous to introduce a moral dimension to regulation.

“Quite honestly, I am appalled, disgusted, ashamed and hugely embarrassed,” wrote Howard Wheeldon, a senior strategist at BGC Partners LP, in an August note. “How dare he?” Wheeldon now says. “Markets will decide if something is too big or too small. It’s not for an individual, however powerful, to slam and damn nearly 1 million people.”

Yes, how dare anyone suggest that something as petty and schoolmarmish as mere morality should every trump the wisdom of the almighty and all-knowing market which never makes mistakes!

Exhibit B:

[Harold Ford Jr.] blasted [Gillibrand’s] support for the proposed health care overhaul, which is expected to cost New York an extra $1 billion a year, and for opposing the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry.

“It was a mistake,” he said, noting that most Wall Street firms had already paid back the money. “How can you be against ensuring that the lifeblood of your city and of your state survives?”


After Mr. Ford, a five-term Tennessee congressman, arrived in New York, he took a job as a vice chairman at Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America). But he kept a toe in politics, becoming a commentator on Fox and then NBC, which features him several days a week on programs like MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Speaking from a conference room at New York University, where he is a teacher, Mr. Ford, 39, expressed enthusiasm about his new hometown, though he described a life quite different than most New Yorkers. On many days, he is driven to an NBC television studio in a chauffeured car. He and his wife, Emily, a 29-year-old fashion executive, live a few blocks from the Lexington Avenue subway line in the Flatiron district. But Mr. Ford said he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab.

Asked whether he had visited all five boroughs, he mentioned taking a helicopter ride across the city with fellow executives, at the invitation of Raymond W. Kelly, New York City’s police commissioner. “The only place I have not spent considerable time is Staten Island,” he said, adding that “I landed there in the helicopter, so I can say yes.”


He has breakfast most mornings at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, and he receives regular pedicures. (He described them as treatment for a foot condition.)

Mr. Ford declined to discuss what he is paid by the bank, but publicly available data suggests that he earns at least $1 million a year. Asked what role outsize pay packages played in fueling the financial crisis, Mr. Ford said he objected to capping executive compensation on Wall Street. “I am a capitalist,” he said. “I believe that people take risk, and there are rewards if they do well; they should lose if they don’t.”


Offering a glimpse into a possible campaign strategy, Mr. Ford and his aides said he would run as an insurgent who is uncontrolled by the entrenched political class that he says has rallied around Ms. Gillibrand. His tentative slogan: “Harold Ford: nobody’s man but ours.”


Mr. Ford has officially been a resident of the state only since 2009, and did not vote in November’s mayoral election.

Oh yeah, New Yorkers are just going to loooove this anti-establishment man of the people.  He really has that common touch.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Politics,Quotes,Wankers

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