Marketplace Scratch Pad

Morning Reading

Scott Jagow Apr 23, 2009

The eyebrow raiser of the morning is the WSJ story on Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. Lewis claims Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke pressured him to keep quiet about losses at Merrill Lynch before B of A closed the deal to buy Merrill. I’ll have more on that shortly. Here are some other things that caught my eye:

What would Thomas Jefferson do? (Vanity Fair)
“How can A.I.G. lose billions of dollars and justifiably distribute taxpayer aid to the people whose actions put the company in the government’s hands in the first place? This type of riddle has rankled the nation before. In fact, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton engaged in a similar debate more than two centuries ago.”

Geithner’s Protections Are Banking Opportunities Lost (Real Clear Markets)
“While it pines for a healthy banking system out of one side of its mouth, the Administration speaks with a forked tongue. Indeed, it wants ownership in banks so that interest rates charged customers can be regulated more heavily, loans for strapped customers can be reduced or forgiven, future loans can be directed toward preferred constituents, not to mention that hiring can be restricted at times to those possessing U.S. citizenship.”

The reeducation of Tim Geithner (Portfolio)
“Geithner would have an uphill battle against his critics even if every white male over 60 in Washington were to vouch for him. To succeed, Geithner must make the transition from loyal subordinate and hardworking bureaucrat to the imaginative, inspiring leader the times demand.”

Why I fired my broker (The Atlantic)
“You no longer know the world you live in,” (the psychologist) said. “You played by the rules, the rules benefited you. The world functioned according to some regularities. Right now, it’s unclear what rules apply. There is a new regime. What seemed prudent earlier has disappeared. I’m surprised Americans aren’t more panicked. Americans seem to accept a level of insecurity in their lives that Europeans wouldn’t tolerate. Paralysis is one response to this level of insecurity.”

I am the news today, oh boy: A recession writer gets laid off (True/Slant)
“As many emails attest, I was becoming a friend, a confidant, a trusted voice to thousands of hurting people. And in one swipe yesterday, the Chicago Tribune took that away from them without any explanation. It explains in no small part why the Tribune is losing readers like a trauma victim loses blood and internal organs.”

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