Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm struck by the similarities between the banking stories I've been reading this week and the coverage of last night's Delaware Senate debate. First, the banks:

At JPMorgan Chase & Company, they were derided as "Burger King kids" -- walk-in hires who were so inexperienced they barely knew what a mortgage was.

At Citigroup and GMAC, dotting the i's and crossing the t's on home foreclosures was outsourced to frazzled workers who sometimes tossed the paperwork into the garbage....

"I don’t know the ins and outs of the loan," a Litton employee said in a deposition last year. "I'm not a loan officer." ...

Does that remind you of this?

Delaware Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell ... had a tough time this evening with some basic questions about issues she'd face if she is elected to the Senate....

The debate moderator Nancy Karibjanian of Delaware First Media asked O'Donnell to talk about a recent high court opinion she disagreed with....

"Oh gosh. Give me a specific one," O'Donnell said after a deer-in-the-headlights moment.... Karibjanian said, no, because that was the point: she needed O'Donnell to name one.

"I'm very sorry right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot but, uh, I'll put it up on my website I promise you," she said....

Or this?

But her description of the United States' role in Afghanistan in the 1980s came out a bit garbled:

Well if you remember when we were fighting the Soviets over there in Afghanistan in the '80s and '90s, we did not finish the job, so now we have a responsibility to finish the job and if you are gonna make these politically correct statements that it's costing us too much money, you are threatening the security of our homeland.

We know what happened with the banks: rich guys who thought they'd warped the system to provide a bonanza to them and their kind in perpetuity had concluded that they were bulletproof, and could allow literally anyone, however untrained or unqualified, to do their grunt work, in whatever half-assed way they pleased. The rich guys had such a good thing going that it just didn't matter.

Now, in politics, the rich guys who own the tea party movement, and who are looking at big gains that will soon warp the political system to their advantage, seem to be taking the same approach to low-level staffing.

They don't care that their "loan processors" in elected office could theoretically include O'Donnell and Sharron Angle and Joe Miller and Rand Paul and Carl Paladino. They don't care that the president they intend to elect two years from now might be Sarah Palin. They don't care that one of the top salesmen of their political ideas, Glenn Beck, is a head case who taught himself politics out of fringe books written by deservedly obscure hatemongers. The rich guys -- Masters of the Universe, all of them -- are simply untouchable! The process they've cooked up will take care of itself! Nothing could possibly screw it up!

Well, hiring a bunch of Burger King candidates probably won't hurt the rich guys all that much. It'll mostly hurt us, and hurt the country. But if that happens, why should the rich guys care, if, at least for a while, the money flows to them in torrents?

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