One person who does not have to worry is James Cayne, the recently departed chief executive of Bear Stearns. According to the New York Times, he walked with $232 million in compensation over the period from 1993 to 2006. This is just another example of how the global economy rewards extraordinary talent.
The official line is that the Fed had to get involved and make the guarantees in order to keep the markets in order. This is not clear. It is not easy to accept Fed pronouncements these days. After all, just last year Chairman Bernanke was telling us that the problems in the subprime market were likely to be contained. It is time that the Fed comes clean with both an honest assessment of the severity of the problem and increased transparency in its behind the scenes deals with the big banks.
There is something a bit obscene about billions of taxpayer dollars going to the country’s richest people, when average workers can’t afford health care for their kids.