…You have to develop some sort of system where, at least when it comes to the riskier investments (though part of the problem in what happened recently was that somehow these subprime CDOs got graded as hella secure) banks – and more importantly bankers and associated individual actors – are subject to deferred gratification/compensation.
The banks themselves take fees when assembling huge deals, and a good chunk of those fees often is funnelled into bonus pools that is distributed to a handfull of super senior Execs, and those who put the deals together. These are short term financial incentives for the banks as institutions, but more importantly those leading the orgs as individuals. And, these are basically just processing fees that have nothing to do with the overall, long term performance of the asset. Last week’s This American Life detailed the exploits of Magnetar Capital, who basically operated like Bialystock and Bloom out of The Producers (their brilliant analogy, not mine). It’s an entirely rational model under the way the system is set-up.
The underlying problem here is the same as the underlying problem in our general society and culture, the same problem that leads to a curative vs. preventative healthcare model and a industrialized food system that creates 99 cent, antibiotic laden burgers made from b-grade corn, while ensuring fresh naturally grown produce remains prohibitively expenisve for many of us. We continue to incentivize and value short term productivity and savings over sustainability and long term benefits. That’s our cultural ethos!
What the “let the banks fail” camp fails to realize is that those who ran the economic system into the ground while working at a bank, don’t give a flying fuck if the bank fails. It has relatively little impact on that person’s financial wellbeing. Some people take this corporate personhood thing a little too seriously, as if the organization itself is some moral-having body and that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
It’s worth reiterating that the gander here is the moral obligations of corporate persons. The inapplicable but otherwise sound principle on which CU vs FEC was decided was the theory that a group of persons who have some particular right do not lose that right by acting in concert, but what seems to be lost on those who ascribe free-market benefits to for-profit corporations is that the charter of a for-profit corporation does not in fact have the effect of causing individual actors to work in concert. It has the effect of adding new powers (such as never being subject to probate court) and insulates the individual actors from the full effect of exercising their existing powers (such as limited liability, or enshrining profit-making over ethical citizenship) but, most important of all, installing decision makers whose actual incentives are not those of the entity that they control (executive officers serve themselves, while board members evaluate them on their own self-made images, nevermind whether the shareholders are represented by the board, the board follows the charter, or the charter doesn’t directly support bad citizenship).
The district court ruling is just 66 pages, but I’m only 1/3 done it yet. The crux: To everyone’s surprise, telling people that they should go pray and are un-American if they don’t constitutes a government endorsement of religion. Who’da thunk, eh?
On its face, this is wonderful news, but as a pragmatic matter, it may just play into the hands of the ever-more right-wing court, letting it make up bullshit precedent that’ll take decades to repair.
To keep with the user-generated content, and also from last week, racial profiling now mandatory police practice in Arizona for absolutely no good reason, and to protect residents from absolutely nothing. Hello, nonwhite legal residents of Arizona, this is your state, we just wanted to say that we don’t give a flying fuck about you.
I especially love how the “liberal media” (okay, I know the WSJ usually doesn’t get called that, but CNN is doing it too.) describes this as “strict”/”tough” as if its primary effect was enforcement of real laws.
It is worth nothing that this is from the same place as Joe Arpaio, so it’s not like we didn’t already know that there was popular support for the racial profiling.
To follow myself up now that I’ve finished reading FFRF v. Obama:
The District Court (of western Wisconsin, if anybody cares) applied the Lemon test; the National Day of Prayer clearly fails because it has both the intent and effect of endorsing a particular religious activity on the part of individual citizens.
The judge also discusses the lame-ass unprevailing arguments against this, noting that the law only dates from 1952 and the 1988 modification of it to make it easier for churches to use advertise with participate in it just makes matters worse.
She also points out that even "ceremonial deism" and Breyer's wishy-washy sometimes-with-sometimes-against-Ten-Commandments opinion also points to striking it down, because the authors of the law seem to have actually meant it.
And finally (and this is just wonderful), she points out that the existing opinions that the defendants cite to support the law… are dissents of the form “Why, if we were to use the majority’s ruling, it would make even the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional!”. The judge seems somewhat surprised that the defendants cited these, what with the fact that the District Court is required to apply the majority opinions, not the dissents.
One last thing on note, she rules that Obama is not allowed to declare the Prayer Day once all the appeals are done, so she’s expected to have this brought to the higher courts. (There’s the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then the SCotUS to appeal to yet. Maybe also the option of review by the District en banc, but I doubt that’ll happen, even if it is an option.)
Well, I mean, I can always hope stronger that Scalia gets hit by a bus.
More seriously, assuming Stevens is replaced with somebody even vaguely non-right-wing (i.e. at least as centrist as O’Connor was), you’d still have 4 reality-based votes that would uphold the district, and 4 bat-shit votes that would over-rule regardless, which still leaves Kennedy to wank on about which high-fallutin’ principle wins the day. This isn’t a “law-and-order” topic, so Kennedy isn’t automatically right-wing on it. So, really, let’s hope Obama replaces Stevens with a woman, and that’s she’s willing to suck Kennedy’s cock.
No bet. I’ve never paid a great deal of attention to his record before O’Connor left, so I suspect you’re right. But to be fair to Kennedy, while I think he’s often muddled and wrong, he’s seems to at least be wrong in good faith. If this gets all the way to SCotUS, I think it’ll get enough funding to get a good advocate who might honestly convince Kennedy. Maybe. (Let me dream, damnit.)
Oh, and I forgot one thing. Consider what SCotUS did with Newdow. There was a blatant case of endorsement. The court simply avoiding making the obviously necessary decision by finding procedural grounds to disallow the challenge.