Actor The Promise The Reality
Financial Executives Brilliant Risk Management Catastrophic Losses
Eliot Spitzer Mr. Clean, Financial Reformer Celebrity Prosecutions, Real Abuses Untouched, and Not So Clean
Sarbanes-Oxley Financial Responsibility Large Costs, No Apparent Benefits
Basel Capital Standards International Coordination, Sound Banks Worldwide Banking Collapse
Fannie, Freddie Stable Mortgage Credit Fed the Boom, Stuck Taxpayers with the Bust
TARP Unclog the Financial System Zombie Banks
Big Fiscal Stimulus Put the Economy on a Better Path Wait and See

The pattern is big egos, big money, and big power offering big promises, getting big media play, and making big mistakes (Spitzer’s mistakes were relatively small, to be honest). To me, the fiscal stimulus represents yet another redistribution of power away from ordinary people and toward the elite, when already the imbalance is too high. I am more worried about rot at the top of society than at the bottom.