One year after fall of Lehman, few changes

Is it a failure for Obama or Congress? Probably some of both. Either way it’s infuriating to see such little action after the collapse of Wall Street. Lobbyists took over the process and Washington has been all to willing to let industry control their future. As someone who voted for Obama, it’s a constant disappointment to see such a lack of interest in a failure that has clobbered the retirement plans and jobs of everyone I know.

Another speech is planned for this week but without serious action based on ideas beyond the normal Geithner-Summers ideas, it’s going to be very difficult to defend this administration. It’s well past the time for speeches. People want to see action that shows someone in Washington appreciates the blood bath most Americans experienced during this downfall. The lack of change promoted by Obama is precisely what we would have had with a McCain administration. It’s been a continuation of the Bush-Paulson plan and for me, that is not change.

One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the surprise is not how much has changed in the financial industry, but how little.

Backstopped by huge federal guarantees, the biggest banks have restructured only around the edges. Employment in the industry has fallen just 8 percent since last September. Only a handful of big hedge funds have closed. Pay is already returning to precrash levels, topped by the 30,000 employees of Goldman Sachs, who are on track to earn an average of $700,000 this year. Nor are major pay cuts likely, according to a report last week from J.P. Morgan Securities. Executives at most big banks have kept their jobs. Financial stocks have soared since their winter lows.

How’s your $700,000 job going? How’s your 401K looking? Does anyone know of any normal person who has recovered as well as Wall Street?


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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