The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, January 28, 2008

sdrawkcaB dlroW ehT

Kinda strange, isn't it? Or-- when you put it in the grand tapestry woven in this nation since the Second Gilded Age began-- maybe it's just the same old crap. From Abu Ghraib to Enron (let's go ahead and throw in Iran-Contra, New Orleans' crumbling levees, and the 80's Savings & Loan scandal) and now the credit crunch, it's always a great time to screw up when you're atop the pyramid [scheme].

Under the stewardship of Dow Kim and Thomas G. Maheras, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup built positions in subprime-related securities that led to $34 billion in write-downs last year. The debacle cost chief executives their jobs and brought two of the world’s premier financial institutions to their knees.

In any other industry, Mr. Kim and Mr. Maheras would be pariahs. But in the looking-glass world of Wall Street, they — and others like them — are hot properties. The two executives are well on their way to reviving their careers, even as global markets shudder at the prospect that Merrill and Citigroup may report further subprime losses in the coming months. . .

The quick comebacks of these executives stand in stark contrast to the plight of the hundreds of investment bankers who have received pink slips in the last two weeks. They also illuminate a peculiar aspect of Wall Street’s own version of a class divide. Senior movers and shakers often land on their feet, no matter how egregious the losses tied to them. The industry rank and file, however, from mergers-and-acquisitions bankers at Bank of America to sales executives in Citigroup’s hedge-fund servicing business, see their jobs eliminated despite being far removed from the subprime crisis.

Just thought I'd help get the week off to a wretched start, ya know?