Poll: The government should…

Please vote in this poll using the sidebar.

The government should... (check all that apply)

  • Prosecute bank executives for fraud. (31%, 151 Votes)
  • Prosecute bank rank & file employees for fraud. (13%, 65 Votes)
  • Allow foreclosures to happen. (37%, 180 Votes)
  • Prosecute Bernanke, Paulson, and/or Geithner. (18%, 86 Votes)
  • None of the above. (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 212

This poll will be active and displayed on the sidebar through 05.09.2009.

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    asdlfkj says:

    Could someone please provide about two sentences for each of the listed groups of people, and why they might be guilty?

  2. 2
    lilypad says:

    I think you have a misspelling there. Isn’t it “Geithner” with an H? We Germans love those extra letters.
    Okay, so I just looked it up in order to not make an idiot of myself if I was wrong, and Google has a ton of searches like “is Geithner Jewish?” as if that has anything to do with anything. Scary.

  3. 3
    The Tim says:

    RE: lilypad @ 1 – Whoops, you’re right. Thanks. Fixed that.

  4. 4
    jon says:

    The $1000 per day Blight Laws being discussed on CR seem rather punitive as well. On one hand the CRA compels banks to loan in low-income areas, but when the owner bails the bank is punished for it. Of course no one will want to go into a business like that, so a new government agency will be formed and taxpayers will be on the hook again.

  5. 5
    WestSideBilly says:

    I don’t see how punishing employees for doing what their superiors told them to do benefits anyone.

    And I’m really not clear of what crimes were committed by Bernanke, Paulson, et al.

  6. 6
    The Tim says:

    By WestSideBilly @ 5:

    And I’m really not clear of what crimes were committed by Bernanke, Paulson, et al.

    Here’s just one example that has recently come to light:

    Both Bernanke and Paulson in mid-December knew Bank of America was obliged by statute to publicly disclose the huge losses Merrill Lynch & Co. had racked up that month. You don’t get to be chairman of the Federal Reserve or, in Paulson’s case, secretary of the Treasury or head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. without learning this basic tenet of U.S. securities laws. Instead of making sure the public was fully informed of the losses before Bank of America completed its purchase of Merrill on Jan. 1, they did all they could to keep the secret safe.

    Neither Bernanke nor Paulson told the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the letter Cuomo wrote to lawmakers and regulators. They didn’t tell Lewis or anyone else at Bank of America to do the right thing and obey the law. And while they promised Bank of America lots of money to keep it from calling off the deal, they were careful not to commit any of their agreements to writing for fear this would bind the government into disclosing them itself.

  7. 7
    Mark says:

    RE: jon @ 4

    There we go. The banks aren’t loaning. Now they need to be prosecuted for violating the CRA.

  8. 8
    Mikal says:

    RE: The Tim @ 6 – And your basing they didn’t disclose on what besides Cuomo’s letter?

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Jonness says:


    I think you should have a selection for “all of the above.” Otherwise, I can’t vote. :)

  11. 11
    The Tim says:

    RE: Jonness @ 10 – You can select more than one option in this poll.

  12. 12
    TheHulk says:

    Dammit cant sleep tonite for some reason. Anyways, besides the obvious choices above, I would dearly love to see some clawback legislation to go after those Wall street types who made money during the recent years. That would certainly bring back some moral hazard into the equation.

  13. 13
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: TheHulk @ 12 – Extremely bad idea, IMHO, especially if you look at the sort of program the the House proposed for AIG and the likes. Punishing everyone associated with the company, regardless of fault, and destroying the company (and the government’s investment) in the process.

    I’d prefer something that required non-cash compensation to be tied more to the long term health and profitability of the company. So that rather than trying to hit next quarter’s numbers, a company’s management would be trying to maximize the next decade’s numbers.

  14. 14
    TheHulk says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 13

    No, I am not recommending going after rank & file. I figure the income distribution at these companies (if you take into account bonuses of course) is that 80% of the profit goes to 20% of the employees (or maybe it is 90-10). My idea would be to target those people for clawback. Typically, these head honchos set up the process (Financial Products anyone?) that has lead to the state we are in these days. Oh how I would love to see Stanley O Neil or John Thain have their assets taken over and wages garnished for the next 10 years…. Not gonna happen I know, but if it does, it will certainly make other people more cautious in the future. Like Krugman said, lets make baking boring (and safe).

  15. 15
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    RE: TheHulk @ 14 – I wasn’t talking about rank and file. I was talking about guilt by association, which is what the House plan was regarding the tax surcharge.

    If someone makes seven figures working for a company, they presumably earn that company seven figures or more. By attacking people at the top you merely take the most talented people away from the top. They might even simply retire. There are people in this world that simply will not work for $250,000 a year, which is basically what the House plan would have provided.

  16. 16
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 15

    “If someone makes seven figures working for a company, they presumably earn that company seven figures or more.” Kary salaries are not set from earnings they remain pretty stable independent of a comapnies earnings or losses. It’s supply and demand and very often it’s not properly tested but set by assumption, history, entitlement etc and it severly lags the market since the low mark tends to be set at employment and then never adjusts lower independent on market conditions in terms of supply and demand. It’s no doubt that top execs in the financial industry are extremely overpaid today compared to earnings or supply/demand.

  17. 17
    Kary L. Krismer says:

    Maybe compared to earnings, if you look at the entire company’s earnings, but not necessarily the earnings attributed to that person.

    Using AIG as an example, it was a tiny group of people that led to their losses, but they presumably had people in the profitable parts of the company whose presence resulted in sales and profits far in excess of their compensation.

    But perhaps that leads to another point. Perhaps compensation shouldn’t be tied to the overall performance of the company for high end management. Perhaps it should be tied more to how their division does.

    I’m not sure why you say there’s anything out of balance as far as supply/demand is concerned. To the extent companies like AIG and bailed out banks are losing talent, that would indicate otherwise. Has anyone seen any stats on that?

  18. 18
    patient says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 17

    You have many huge banks being absorbed by other banks. When this happens the need for management in the market reduces. The supply increases and demand decreases. Pretty simple. Bear S, Wachovia, Lehman, WAMU etc are no more. There are a lot of management tasks connected to the company that is no longer needed when it is no more. We also have a major recession and dissapearance of many bank business cases that no longer need to be managed. I could go on but I think the point is made.

  19. 19
    Jonness says:

    RE: The Tim @ 11

    Thanks Tim. I voted for all your selections. I think the best solution, though, is to strip the wealth of anyone that had a hand in this (politicians, bankers, etc.), and put them in labor camps until they can reimburse the nation for its losses. Once they pay off their fare share at $8/hr, we’ll give them a second chance starting out in a halfway house (but they have to pay their own room and board by picking fruit, washing dishes, and scrubbing toilets).

    Hopefully people see the humor in this post. It’s not meant to be taken literally. To do that, I would have to have included waterboarding.

    Just kidding :)

  20. 20
    One Eyed Man says:

    RE: Jonness @ 19

    Thank you comrade for educating me as to the appropriate means of achieving social justice. Or is that re-educating me?

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