Sunday, 6 November 2011

Working on Wall Street Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Felix Salmon waxed indignant about Jon Corzine's peculiar resignation statement, and laugh-out-loud lines such as, "This was a difficult decision, but one that I believe is best for the firm and its stakeholders."

This is as absurd as someone driving a bus off a cliff, killing everyone aboard but himself, then holding a press conference during which he says in a conflicted voice, "It is with a heavy heart that I wish to announce that I have decided to part ways with the company."

Felix comments, "... would it be too much to ask for just a tiny hint of remorse here? A short apology, perhaps, to the thousands of employees and customers who have lost their jobs or their money?"

Remorse? How do you spell that again?

Wall Street doesn't DO remorse, Felix. C'mon, man. You're smarter than that. Throughout the financial crisis and its aftermath, the lack of remorse was painfully striking.

Almost two years ago to the day, I commented on this phenomenon. We taxpayers weren't thanked by the big banks that received bailout funds (as I recall, Citigroup was a notable exception that came rather late). No apology for their securitization meltdown either. But Blankfein did see fit to note that they were all doing God's work.

And AIG's Robert Benmosche memorably threw a hissy fit about not being able to pay his executives more than $500,000 a year.

Is there really any mystery any longer why "Occupy Wall Street" exists?