Sunday, March 29, 2009

Being Arianna Huffington VI

This Tuesday morning on CNBC's Squawk Box from 7-9 Arianna Huffington will be the guest host. The show will feature Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Nouriel Roubini, and Congressman Barney Frank. Maybe this will begin the process of resuscitating CNBC's tattered image. After the Jon Stewart evisceration of CNBC's financial analysts, we all know they need it. Arianna Huffington's piece on Jon Stewart's interview with Jim Cramer and John King's interview with Dick Cheney is great.

The Huffington Post article can be read here. Brilliant comparisons are made between the Jon Stewart and John King interviews. Squawk Box this Tuesday promises to be interesting with both professionalism and punch. While the intentions and knowledge of Huffington, Taleb and Roubini my be trusted, the same may not be said of Barney Frank. I tend to distrust politicians generally. Senator Chris Dodd (D) and Senator Richard Shelby (R) would be among these. Neither would get my vote if I were constituents in theirs states.

I have some thoughts about Congress and some questions for Congressman Frank. Has the Federal Reserve become a hindrance to a viable democratic capitalistic system where there should be checks and balances? The Fed does not have absolute power! Not only has the Federal Reserve failed us, but Congress too in their lack of oversight of the Fed—instead there appears to have been, rightly or wrongly, collusion in regulating these big American banks with ties with hedge funds and the likes of Barclays in London and Deutsche Bank in Germany.

This week Treasury Secretary Geithner asked that the Treasury be given more power to regulate some companies, namely those such as AIG, and perhaps GE, who are not banks but behave as such. To give the Federal Reserve more power seems like a sick solution. How do you give more power to those who have utterly failed the American people who seem bent on a global imperialistic financial agenda to concentrate wealth among the few in the world? JP Morgan, the founder, was astute at this kind of global financial focus many years back shortly after the Civil War.

There is no surprise that Wall Street bankers are arrogant and self-centered. Although JP Morgan served the US well with his financing of Thomas Edison, and his investments in infrastructure, big banking seems to have been conceived out of arrogance and dominance, the necessity of centralized global power in banking. Some may assert that it is simply human nature. OK. Regulation is then mandatory, perhaps the kind that is revisited for efficacy and maintained for stability.

As a member of Congress how is it that Congress' oversight of the Federal Reserve went completely unwatched? For many yeas Alan Greenspan was instead a revered demigod of sorts with Congress shaking its heads in agreement to everything he proposed. I have written here on Being Alan Greenspan that included a scathing critique by Bill Flickenstein. He has written of Greenspan often, beginning some years back. Mr. Flickenstein provided more oversight over the past years than members of Congress on the right, left and center. They, by and large, seem to have their self-interest at heart, one that seems to go straight to the heart of campaign financing in order to keep their "illustrious" civil servant careers.

I hope that Mr. Frank will have to answer hard-hitting questions, perhaps from those coming from the people. While Arianna Huffington never seems to shy away from hard-hitting questions for all sides, Democrats and Republicans, I also understand that polticially sometimes it is not always the platform, especially considering certain shows on certain networks work, not to mention the rescuitation of CNBC. My very wealthy Republican partner said that since Taleb and Roubini will be on Squawk Box with Huffington that he will sell short on Tuesday. As one who does not take tips from anyone, he took Huffington's guest appearance on Squawk Box with Taleb and Roubini as Tuesday tip. That was funny! Truth generates short-selling.

I'm really looking forward to the show on Tuesday. Maybe Huffington should have a show every Tuesday. It would be great to have a finance show that addresses critical issues and how decisions made by government and private coroporations affect the masses. The perfect storm seems to have been created in that the masses were duped, though not without culpability with the complicit will of Congress through legislation and the creation policy for the likes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to accept mortgages so that individuals and Wall Street banks could collect billions of dollars in fees beforehand and a bailout thereafter.
These are some of the questions and thoughts that I'd like to see addressed when Arianna Huffington hosts Squawk Box this Tuesday. What would you like answered or what comments would you make?


John O'Leary said...

Judith, if you want to read a devastating (and irreverent) indictment of the major financial players in this crisis check out Matt Taibbi's piece in Rolling Stone:
Aside from his profane (and perhaps unduly harsh) characterizations of the bankers and politicians involved, he actually breaks down what happened in a way that even I can understand it. (I finally get what collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps are!) It's a long piece but I recommend it.

judith ellis said...

John - I have read it. Perhaps it should be required reading for all. Yes, it is indeed long and I'm afraid that much maybe lost because of this. Some may even by pass it altogether. This would would be unfortunate. Sometimes the "profane (and perhaps unduly harsh characterizations" is the only thing that will wake some people up. Taibbi's piece is indeed "devastating" and "irreverant." He writes in ways that others dare not; he is generally very provocative and often right on.