Monday, September 14, 2009

Quotes of the day

In the year since Lehman's collapse, it's become even clearer that Jamie Dimon was the only chief of a major bank to have properly prepared for the hundred-year storm that hit Wall Street. Starting the year before, his firm had been aggressively dialing back its exposure to mortgages—particularly of the subprime sort—while others were sitting tight.--Duff McDonald

The esteem in which Obama holds Dimon was revealed by The Wall Street Journal's Monica Langley in a story about a March 2009 meeting at the White House. Business executives, she wrote, "implored Mr. Obama to get credit flowing again. 'All right,' the president said. He'd have his people 'talk to Jamie.' " Even today, it's a fair bet that those conversations are continuing.--Duff McDonald

For years now, many businesses and individuals in the United States have been relying on the power of government, rather than competition in the marketplace, to increase their wealth. This is politicization of the economy. It made the financial crisis much worse, and the trend is accelerating. ... President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the birth of a military-industrial complex. Today we have a financial-regulatory complex, and it has meant a consolidation of power and privilege. We’ve created a class of politically protected “too big to fail” institutions, and the current proposals for regulatory reform further cement this notion. Even more worrying, with so many explicit and implicit financial guarantees, we are courting a bigger financial crisis the next time something major goes wrong. ... In short, we should return both the financial and medical sectors and, indeed, our entire economy to greater market discipline. We should move away from the general attitude of “too big to take a pay cut,” especially when the taxpayer is on the hook for the bill. If such changes sound daunting, it is a sign of how deep we have dug ourselves in. We haven’t yet learned from the banking crisis, and we’re still moving in the wrong direction pretty much across the board.--Tyler Cowen

Do not do that again, I've warned you. I will take you out.--Secret Service agent to CNBC reporter Bob Pisani

The Rays' opening-day 2008 payroll, $43.8 million, ranked 29th among the 30 major league clubs and came to about 21% of the top spending club, the Yankees, who didn't make it into the playoffs.--Michael Hiltzik

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