Business Financial Politics

Bankers a No Show at the White House

I just want to say that if Obama summoned me to the White House, I would have walked George Washington type miles to get there. I would have ridden my bike. I would have taken the train. I would have hitched a ride on the expressway.

The fact that three of the bankers; the CEOs of Morgan Stanley, Citibank and Goldman Sachs were ‘fogged out’ so they called in on a speaker phone to the President of the United States boggles my mind. I’m incredulous. The more I think of it, the madder I get.

We have all pulled no shows at some point in our lives. I have anyway. I remember when I was in college and got engaged to a boy that really wasn’t such a good guy. My father, who lived in St. Maarten at the time, told me to get down there for a conversation about the whole thing. I didn’t go and broke up with the boy instead. It was easier, and I knew he was right. In other words, I didn’t need the meeting to get the point.

How about they don’t need the meeting in person to get the point? How about they all issue press releases tomorrow saying they will loan out the huge stockpiles of cash they are now sitting on rather than giving it to employees that sent out economy to the dark side? That would work. Then they don’t have to go down there as far as I’m concerned, and they don’t even need to make up some stupid excuse about trying.

The all time worst no show on my part was when I shared an apartment with Cathryn, the fruitcake maker and IHop pancake syrup hoarder in the mid-seventies. She had a blind date. We were having a ton of fun and she wasn’t feeling like she really wanted to go out. She suggested I open the door, check out the potential of the blind date, and if he was a no-go I should say that something terrible had happened and she would call tomorrow and apologize. The doorbell rang, and I answered it. I did a brief assessment and thought, “Not so much.” I told him something terrible had happened, at which point he stepped inside. He looked so earnest and concerned that I re-evaluated my original ‘he’s not going to cut it’ assessment and said, “Actually, I’m not sure if something terrible has happened or not, can you hold on a minute?” I swear to God. It’s amazing I have any friends. She went out with him and the bottom line was you should always go with your first gut reaction.

Another time, (I promise this is the last trip down memory lane in this blog entry) I told a boyfriend I couldn’t get a cab downtown because I was totally over him. He took a cab uptown, called me from the lobby and said he was there to pick me up. Maybe the Pres should have sent Air Force One and done the same thing.

Here is the thing. You plan for a no show and make the appropriate excuses. My grandmother has died more times than would be possible if I was one of John Smith’s (the Mormon with 97 wives) daughters. You gotta be smart about it. Saying you are fogged in to the President of the United States is pretty dumb, especially when there are things like Amtrak and a news media that can prove your grandmother died twenty years ago.

There must be repercussions for this amazing slight. I think Obama should fly up to New York City today and confront them in person – with the camera rolling.  Or maybe call their boards of directors and have them all fly in next week – all of them. I bet they would show up.

When they needed money last year and Paulson told them to come to Washington, they ran to get there. They left with hefty checks totaling billions of dollars. Oh sorry, I forgot, they weren’t getting anything this time. Right.

Whatever. It’s not really about the meeting at all. It’s about the messed up financial system that isn’t really working for any of us now.

You know, I bet if Obama had invited the wives to come down with them and Michele would show them the Christmas decorations, they would have all made it. Just kidding feminists. Just kidding.