It was an absolute thrill to be able to appear with journalistic icon Bill Moyers on his show on PBS this weekend. I’ve been a long-time fan of Bill, and getting to meet him, his wife and his staff was truly a highlight of the seemingly eternal book tour I’ve been doing for Bailout since it came out three months ago. Appearing on his show was unlike any appearance I’ve ever done.
Although my interview was about an hour, I spent almost two and a half hours there, chatting with the other guests (Matt Taibbi and Chrystia Freeland), Bill and the rest of the staff. When I was done with the interview, what seemed like the entire staff was gathered outside the studio, buzzing about the interview (they watched in the green room). It was an experience I will remember for a lifetime. Here is the clip that aired this weekend, in which we talked extensively about Bailout, the need for regulators to take on the problems of Too Big To Fail once for and all, and how their continuing failure to do so is setting us up for the next crisis: http://billmoyers.com/segment/neil-barofsky-on-the-need-to-tackle-banking-reform/
And here is a web extra in which we talk about my disappointment with the job that President Obama has done with respect to the bailouts and financial regulation.
Meanwhile, the American Banker reports today that the big banks — surprise surprise — are petitioning regulators for ever more time (and, remarkably, to water down the already soggy provisions of Dodd Frank) to comply with the already inadequate capital standards contemplated in the 2010 bill. Two things to remember: first, whenever their lobbyists seek delay, it’s because they know that time is on their side.
The longer they delay, the more profit they can squeeze out, the more distant the financial crisis becomes in Washington’s rear view mirror, and the greater opportunities to exert their influence over the process. Second, the “if you do anything that will impact our ability to fully exploit our status of being too big to fail you will destroy the economy” ploy is a canard that they trot out over and over again. That they repeat it endlessly does not make it true, but that doesn’t mean that compliant regulators and members of Congress will not take the bait.