Gentlemen your financial system is being taken over by force. March of revolution continues. Eamon Javers from Politico reports – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/20871.html
“These are complicated companies,” one CEO said. Offered another: “We’re competing for talent on an international market.”
But President Barack Obama wasn’t in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation, and offered a blunt reminder of the public’s reaction to such explanations. “Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”
JPMorgan’s Dimon spoke first. He began by complimenting the president on the economic team he’d assembled. And he said his industry needs to explain more directly to the American people that the economic recovery plans are already working. Dimon also insisted that he’d like to give the government’s TARP money back as soon as practical, and asked the president to “streamline” that process.
But Obama didn’t like that idea – arguing that the system still needs government capital. The president offered an analogy: “this is like a patient who’s on antibiotics,” he said. “Maybe the patient starts feeling better after a couple of days, but you don’t stop taking the medicine until you’ve finished the bottle.” Returning the money too early, the president argued could send a bad signal.
Several CEOs disagreed, arguing instead that returning TARP money was their patriotic duty, that they didn’t need it anymore, and that publicity surrounding the return would send a positive signal of confidence to the markets.
Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis cracked a joke at the expense of his peers who’d lavished praise on the administration: “Mr. President,” he said, “I’m not going to suck up to Geithner and Summers like the other CEOs here have.” Lewis also urged the president not to paint all the banks with the same broad brush.
Man…. Rush just started talking about this on Radio….