Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Too Much On-line Weekly, 21 March 2011


Wall Street’s power suits, over recent years, have relished their “risk-taker” image. Big players, they love opining, take big risks. They deserve big rewards.

Last week, a sobering news story on the suits who helped sink Bear Stearns reminded us what really happens when Wall Street’s big risks go south. The suits who “securitized” Bear Stearns into oblivion, turns out, are now jauntily securitizing away — for fame and fortune — at Bear’s former banking rivals.

Who takes the real risks in our economy? This week will see an anniversary that should help us remember. A hundred years ago Friday, the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire left 146 garment workers dead, not all that far from Wall Street. Most died because management had padlocked shut an exit door.

Average working stiffs today are still dying on the job, at worksites that range from coal mines to oil rigs. Wall Street suits seldom value the risks working stiffs face. We need to turn the tables. We need to devalue the “risk” that Wall Streeters celebrate — and challenge the pay deals that excessively reward this risk so faux and phony. This week, in Too Much, the latest on these challenges. ...

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