Even Sandy Weill Has Rejected Megabanks. Why Won’t Mitt Romney?

How to Make Government Work
July 26 2012 4:20 PM

Even Sandy Weill Has Rejected Megabanks. Why Won’t Mitt Romney?

Mitt Romney
Why hasn't Mitt Romney rejected megabanks?

Photograph by Oli Scarff/Getty Images.

So Former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, the father of two horrendous ideas (megabanks and financial deregulation), has come around, acknowledging that the premise of his repeal-Glass-Steagall ideology is wrong. Even Weill now says: Break up the banks because it will make the financial system safer and the economy sounder.

But before we all start waxing poetic and singing his praises, we should remember that most clear-thinking economists, and even many bankers, had come to this conclusion long before Weill did—including John Reed, Weill's former co-CEO at Citigroup; Philip Purcell, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley; and Richard Fisher, the president of the Dallas Fed. But at least Weill finally got it right, even if he is still to blame for one of the most damaging policy shifts in our economic history.  

Advertisement

Here are a couple of crucial lessons we should all agree on: The so-called synergy that Weill and others claimed would result from merging commercial banking and investment banking often ended up being little more than the triumph of fraud and avarice over truth-telling and fiduciary duty. The notion of self-regulation is a pure canard. It is no more than a license to steal and a cover for corruption.

But what to make of the few who remain steadfast in their dedication to the broken system of self-regulation and big banks? Like Mitt Romney, whose only answer to reforming financial services is to repeal Dodd-Frank and then let the chips fall where they may?

It is hard not to conclude that when it comes to financial services, Mitt Romney is about where he is on most other matters: wandering aimlessly, doing little more than repeating the disastrous mantras of the past. He has shown not a moment of originality, independence, reflection, or leadership in this entire campaign. Instead, his is a spineless voice for tired, failed answers that are now even rejected by his former friends. Isn't he feeling a little lonely out there?

Eliot Spitzer, the former governor of the state of New York, hosts Viewpoint on Current TV. Follow @eliotspitzer on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 2 2014 11:16 AM Some McDonald's Monopoly Properties Matter More
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Doublex
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 11:35 AM Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar’s New Video Is Somehow Both Creepy and Joyful
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?