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March 20, 2013

The Washington Whale

On Friday the eyes of the financial world will be on Senator Carl Levin’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. That’s because Mr. Levin will provide conclusive proof that even Senate Democrats don’t believe the Dodd-Frank law ended too-big-to-fail banks.

The hearing is nominally intended to mark the release of Mr. Levin’s report on the “London Whale” trades that cost banking giant J.P. Morgan Chase $6 billion. He will also take testimony from no fewer than eight whale-trade witnesses. This follows earlier Congressional hearings after the Journal reported on the trades last year, including appearances in the House and Senate by J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.

The clear premise of all this political activity is that taxpayers are still on the hook if Wall Street blows up again. Mr. Levin’s staff doesn’t spend a year investigating beer companies that fail to engage the age 25 to 34 demo with new advertising campaigns. Software executives don’t have to explain to Congress why they missed the scheduled launch of an important app. In those industries, big mistakes are issues for customers and shareholders, not taxpayers.”

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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