Hightower Report: Pigs Fly on Wall Street
Citigroup exec wants to be remembered as a reformer
Why isn't Sandy Weill treated as a crook? He not only violated the law, but arrogantly flaunted it. Yet the system treats the criminal acts of Wall Street royals like him as the by-product of "financial innovation." Far from criminal, you see, Weill simply suffers from Narcissistic Avariciousness Disorder.
NAD prompted Weill in the 1990s to create Citigroup, the Wall Street conglomerate that wired your and my bank deposits to reckless deal-making by global speculators. At the time, his too-big-to-fail model directly violated the Glass-Steagall Act, passed in 1933 to prevent another Depression. But in 1999, Weill got Congress to repeal that act, thus legalizing his house of cards that made him a billionaire – before it crashed on our economy in 2008.
But having NAD means never having to say "mea culpa," much less "I'm sorry." So, while Weill now says that Glass-Stegall should be reinstated, he still insists that he was right to repeal it at the time – and that he's not responsible for any of the consequential pain that Americans are suffering.
Indeed, he's even playing the victim, wailing recently that "Our world hates bankers." No, the world hates greed and self-aggrandizement. You are, after all, the guy who has kept a 4-foot-wide wood etching of yourself in your office, grandiosely titling it: The Shatterer of Glass-Steagall. Yet the clueless bankster who shattered that glass so he could reach in and help himself to an immense fortune now wants us to remember him as a pious reformer.
But remember this: Just weeks after American taxpayers ponied up $45 billion to bail out his once-haughty bank, the narcissistic Weill commandeered a Citigroup jet to give him a free ride to a Mexican vacation resort. This act of arrogance led a New York Post headline that will be Weill's eternal epitaph: "Pigs Fly."
For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown" – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.