By Stacey Moncrieff, Editor in Chief, REALTOR® Magazine
If you agree that the country hasn’t yet learned its lesson from the financial meltdown of 2008, you’ll want to take a look at a piece in Sunday’s New York Times by Sandy B. Lewis and William D. Cohan.
“The Economy Is Still at the Brink” alternately takes to task President Barack Obama and Congress (stop with the short-term fixes, and start imposing some real reforms on the banking system), U.S. consumers (stop spending money you don’t have), the securities industry (let’s have some real transparency in the area of asset-backed securities), and Wall Street executives (when are they going to publicly admit their role in the financial crisis?).
Lewis and Cohan call for something along the lines of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for top bankers. One condition for repayment of TARP funds, they suggest, should be that bank executives give a public deposition, explaining under oath what happened and why. In exchange for their honest testimony, they’d be granted immunity from prosecution. Interesting idea.
Cohan is both a former Wall Street executive and an investigative journalist. His book on the crisis, House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street (Doubleday, 2009), is supposed to be gripping. I’ll be following his advice to stop spending money I don’t have–I plan to pick up his book at the library one day soon.