It is past time for the banks who benefitted from the TARP (PDF of congress's update report) to come clean. Either pitch in or stop bleeding taxpayers dry. I've not seen this growing sentiment expressed with as much jolting juice as Thomas Friedman has here, in Time for (Self) Shock Therapy.
In his power piece, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman suggests that -- ASAP -- President Barack Obama call the top 300 bank CEOs to the White House for a tough talk. If Friedman had his way, Obama's words would go a little something like this:
..."Here’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to unclog the arteries. My banking experts have analyzed each of your balance sheets. You will tell us if we’re right. Those of you who are insolvent, we will nationalize and shut down. We will auction off your viable assets and will hold the toxic ones in a government reconstruction fund and sell them later when the market rebounds. Those of you who are weak will be merged. And those of you who are strong will receive added capital for your balance sheets, after you write down all your remaining toxic waste. I am not going to continue rewarding the losers and dimwits amongst you with handouts.”Being that today is Sunday and I missed church, all I can say is, "AMEN, Reverend Friedman! Let us pray your electrifying words influence our new president."
Without this sort of come-to-Jesus strategy, we’re going to continue to just limp along...
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