Glass-Steagall: {Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin}
May 24, 2012 • 8:42AM

A satire published on, by columnist Michael Silverstein, tells the story of how "Mr. B." [Blankfein] enounters the Goldman Sachs washroom attendant, Selig Cartwright, who remarks that Mr. B. is "white as a sheet," and asks why. "They did it again, Selig," Mr. B. replies. "They spray painted those nine horrible words on our front entrance. You must have seen them when you came to work this morning.... They keep reappearing again and again like some kind of awful warning."

When Cartwright asks "What are they, sir? These nine words that fill you with such obvious foreboding?" Mr. B. then pronounces the fearsome words: "'You have been judged, and Glass-Steagall is wanted."'

* Elsewhere, Robert Scheer goes after Obama on Glass-Steagall, in a column published in the Rapid City Journal (South Dakota) under the headline: "Obama administration part of the hustle." Scheer cites Obama's praise for Jamie Dimon, when Obama said that "JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is," and that Dimon "is one of the smartest bankers we got." Scheer notes that when Dimon was at Citibank, he was in cahoots with Sandy Weill in getting Congress to repeal Glass-Steagall, and adds: "The fact that Dimon first rose to banking prominence as he worked alongside Weill to reverse Glass-Steagall did nothing to tarnish his reputation in Obama's eyes."

* The ever-rising chorus of voices for the re-instatement of Glass-Steagall is drawing some hysterial responses. For example, Andrew Sorkin's "Dealbook" column in the New York Times attacks what he calls "the Glass-Steagall myth." Sorkin cites the calls for Glass-Steagall, including by Elizabeth Warren, and says: "A meme around Glass-Steagall has been created, repeated so often that it has almost become conventional wisdom: the repeal of Glass-Steagall led to the financial crisis of 2008. And, the thinking goes, has become almost religious for some people, that if the law were reinstated, we would avoid the next crisis. The facts — basic facts — just aren't that convenient. While the repeal of Glass-Steagall has seemingly become the sine qua non of the financial crisis, it is pure historical revisionism."

* As quoted in Politico's "Morning Money," under the title "Moynihan on Glass-Steagal," Forbe's Halah Touryalai writes: "There's been a lot of talk about the return of Glass-Steagall but Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan thinks the universal banking model is crucial for his business.... The CEO of the nation's second largest bank said the model is the 'most important' model there is because it gives consumers access to global information, capital markets, investment advice and basic banking all in one place. 'We can't be competitive if we can't provide all those services to our consumers,"' he says.