Matt Taibbi’s latest column is about the Senate Banking committee, and how today’s session is meant to be a reflection on lessons learned from the MF Global disaster today. It’s even called “The Collapse of MF Global: Lessons Learned and Policy Implications.”
Taibbi, naturally, thinks that is completely stupid.
There’s an obvious connection, he writes, between a hot-button issue of the moment and the antagonist of the MF Global story, Jon Corzine (from Rolling Stone):
To make an obvious comparison: Much like the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, the outrage here goes beyond the fact of the horrific crime. An equally profound insult in both cases lay in the fact that that crime had obviously been committed, and authorities refused to act for months. This situation with former Goldman chief and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine and the officials of MF Global involves a less physically savage offence, but the authorities’ refusal to act is every bit as incredible.
Perhaps you think Taibbi’s telling is a bit dramatic. After all, Zimmerman killed an unarmed child, and Corzine and his firm only lost… or misplaced… or couldn’t keep track of $1.6 billion.
Forget that, says Taibbi. The money was stolen. The time right before the company’s collapse, the time journalists keep calling “chaotic” and members of the firm say was just too complicated for them to understand (tons of numbers, of course) was actually quite simple. MF Global realised it didn’t have the money to pay its massive debts, so it took the money from clients.
Taibbi compares Corzine’s much cleaner telling of that period to the tornado in the Wizard of Oz when everything goes haywire and Dorothy and Toto (both worth an approximate total of $1.6 billion) are lost.
It sounds better coming from Hollywood. And Dorothy was just dreaming anyway.
The again maybe we are sleeping on the MF Global issue. If that’s the case, though Taibbi makes this all sound more like a nightmare than Dorothy’s pleasant sleep. In our dream, middle Americans, not to mention the farmers and ranchers that invested with MF Global, are forced to watch Corzine and co. steal with impunity. It sends the wrong message, Taibbi argues.
That’s where the Zimmerman comparison comes in.