Dumb Headline of the Day: “War on Wall Street”

I had to do a double-take when I saw this headline on the Bloomberg news service this morning:

War on Wall Street as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall
“A one-page proposal gaining traction in Congress could turn back the clock on Wall Street 10 years, forcing the breakup of banks, including Citigroup Inc.  Lawmakers in both parties, seeking to prevent future financial crises while soothing public anger over bailouts and bonuses, are turning to an approach that’s both simple and transformative: re-imposing sections of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act that separated commercial and investment banking.”

How exactly is this a “War on Wall Street?”

The 1933 Glass-Steagall Act was designed to prevent a Wall Street catastrophe from spilling over into the real economy. For 65 years, it did just that. And thanks to Gram & Co., it was repealed just in time for the crisis to erupt.

Nice work.

Undoing one of the factors that made the impact of the crisis much worse is hardly a “War on Wall Street.” Putting this law back on the books is prudent, and long overdue.

Note: That hedline is a quote from former Fed Governor Lyle Gramley. Perhaps its a Bloomberg style requirement not to use quotes in hedlines, but it changes the information communicated by omitting them.

One suggestion for Bloomberg hedline writers is to use quotes when quoting. Your hedline should have read:

“War on Wall Street” as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall

It communicates far more effectively with rather than without . . .

War on Wall Street as Congress Sees Returning to Glass-Steagall
Alison Vekshin and James Sterngold
Bloomberg, Dec. 28 2009

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