Earlier this week, I had a few choice comments in Colin Barr’s Fortune column about Volcker’s retirement:
“Bankers are like 5-year-olds,” said Barry Ritholtz, a New York money manager who writes the Big Picture economics blog. “If you leave them unsupervised with a bowl of candy, they will eat it all and throw up all over everyone. Volcker got that.”
But having proposed a tough rule — shares in Goldman Sachs (GS) and other big banks got walloped the day of the announcement — the administration then stood aside as the language got watered down in Congress.
Though this is hardly unusual in itself, it meant Obama punted on what now looks like his last chance to reform the big banks. After all the damage bankers did with their bonus-boosting high-stakes gambling, this doesn’t exactly register as a profile in courage.
“Obama had this brief window to say this is a disaster and we have to take action to fix it the right way,” said Ritholtz. “It is rare for a leader to be given that opportunity, and he blew it.”
The full column is worth a few minutes of your time . . .
Sheriff Volcker leaves Wall Street untamed
Fortunes January 6, 2011 3:47 pm