Still not seeing the bigger picture:

February 3rd, 2010 by Rick Drain

Sigh.

The outspoken representatives of the financial industry are now up in arms at the prospect of being forced to pay a “financial crisis responsibility fee” to help pay for the public’s losses in some areas of the TARP bailout.

The banks say, accurately, “We paid back the money we got, plus generous interest.”

OK, now let’s think more broadly:テつ they paid back the money that the taxpayers and workers of America put up to save the financial industry.テつ So now the surviving industry titans are saying, “Hey, we’re fine now, crisis over, settled up, bye-bye.”

“And, uh, write if you get work.テつ Good luck.テつ Really.”

The bailed-out financial industry is ignoring the fact that they caused a huge amount of damage, which is still quite unhealed, to the larger economy, the workers and taxpayers.テつ Are the financiers offering to return the favor of rescue by rescuing the taxpayers?テつ Only in the “What’s good for Goldman is good for America” sense.テつ They want to be left alone to keep their future profits, and the only benefit to the common wealth will be indirect, the result of having restored a largely-functioning financial system to play its part in commerce.

That’s totally self-centered, even solipsistic, logic from the financiers.テつ They’re OK now, so let them get on with things.

The American taxpayers were hurt by the bankers’ mistakes.テつ The taxpayers paid to rescue the bankers.テつ The bankers now need to pay to rescue the taxpayers.テつ That’s a true adult sense of responsibility in action:テつ if you hurt someone, you make them whole.

The leaders of the bailed-out financial industry need to see the world through a larger frame than their own private interests.テつ Anything less invites the taxpayers to take MUCH stronger action.テつ Good corporate governance requires being a good neighbor, especially when your neighbors have paid to rescue you.テつ It’s your turn, rescue your neighbors.