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Where Wall Street meets baseball

Marketplace Staff Feb 16, 2009
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Where Wall Street meets baseball

Marketplace Staff Feb 16, 2009
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: I’m sure you’ve heard the old song “Take me out to Wall Street?” No? All right — there is no such song. But when the economy throws us a curve ball, some people think baseball.

Fortune Magazine’s Allan Sloan joins us now. Allan, Team Obama has its hands full with so-called “bad, bad Wall Street” and all its greed and giant compensation packages. You’d figure they would keep their distance, right?

Allan Sloan: Right, but it’s the same way the Yankees are dealing with A-Rod, or A-Roid, or whatever I’m supposed to call him. You know, the Yankees are talking about how, you know, A-Roid has done terrible things. But you don’t see them cutting his contract or trying to get rid of him because they need him. And the Obama administration, for lack of a better word, knows that it needs Wall Street.

Chiotakis: Well now if this is all about knowing how important the players are, and not necessarily that the players are a little shady, how does that inspire confidence in the American people now?

Sloan: Well, that’s the thing. We all, I hate to say this, but we sort of have to grow up. It’s not a question of whether you like Wall Street — I don’t particularly like Wall Street, and I’ve written about it most of my working life. But if you’re gonna have a private market that makes stuff work, well, you sort of gotta put up with them. But you don’t have to put up with the whole act. And at the very least, you can denounce what they’re doing — and you know, in terms of paying enormous amounts of money to the top people — and maybe they’ll grow up and behave.

Chiotakis: So let me get this straight, Allan, what you’re saying is it’s the devil you know, or it’s the baseball player you know?

Sloan: Right. I mean A-Rod’s not someone I would have picked for the Yankees, but no one asked me. But he’s what we’ve got. And the question is, are we better off with him or without him? IT’s the same thing with the financial system. We’ve got the financial system, we’ve got, we oughta fix it some. But we can’t go back in time, especially since the problems now come out of things that people like I and my colleagues at Fortune were yelling about back when the markets were up, and nobody listened. We’ve got to make due with what we have and make this work, and then we can go back and fix something. Running around looking for fill-ins is not very helpful unless you want to have the movie like Frankenstein.

Chiotakis: Allan Sloan, joining us from Fortune Magazine. Allan, thanks.

Sloan: Steve, you’re entirely welcome.

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