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Opinion: Bankster PR

By Ron Andersen

It’s been pretty quiet in the banking sector lately. That’s not to say the banksters haven’t been busy. According to the LA Times, they’ve launched a PR campaign to improve their image, complete with interviews and OMG! they’re even blogging now! And here all this time we thought they were blood-sucking pond scum. But no, it turns out that behind those Italian suits and manicured fingernails, they’re just regular Joe’s like you and me.

Tim Pannell, CEO of Financial Marketing Solutions, is quoted in the LA Times article explaining the strategy:

We realized that we really need some really genuine, believable pathos — look you in the eye and say, ‘We acknowledge the troubles, we understand maybe we could have done things differently,’…

…Like not looting the public treasury , for instance. In what appears to be his first attempt at “really genuine, believable pathos”, Citigroup CEO, Vikram Pandit has this to say:

It’s clear that we made some mistakes coming into this environment, and we have to acknowledge that…We have to take responsibility for what we didn’t do correctly.

It’s almost enough to make you want to start a Citigroup Fan page on Facebook. Of course, most people’s “mistakes” generally don’t threaten the continued existence of the western democracies. For that we need people so morally bankrupt that even hedge fund managers look down on them.

…in Finance, we have a carnivorous sales force that eats its young, and sells their grandmothers near worthless CDS at par. Forcing this rapacious group of Ferengi to comply with fair cost disclosure is not asking too much.

But it is asking too much. This week the House passed a finance reform bill that puts the new consumer protection bureaucracy inside the Federal Reserve, right where the banks wanted it, right where it will do the least amount of protecting. The Fed was already supposed to be regulating the banks and maintaining our country’s financial stability for the benefit of everyone. The results of their work are found in the dismal numbers all around us.

I ran across an Ayn Rand quote in Ilana Mercer’s column last week that sums up things pretty well. Whatever one thinks of Ms. Rand and/or her adherents, the truth is still the truth.

When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.

I can see it. A lot of people are seeing it. A PR campaign can sometimes change perceptions, but it cannot change what has become obvious. The Banksters compel taxpayers to cover their losses. Their losses come from producing nothing but the trading of favors. Their corruption of Congress is our doom.