He’s Making a List...

If you have time to do some reading this week, I have a recommendation. The New York Times is running a long-term series called “The Reckoning”. It’s a series about how we got into such a major economic crisis.

The article I just finished reading was about Senator Charles Schumer.

A Champion of Wall Street Reaps Benefits

Senator Schumer first came to my attention when I started checking out the slot program in New York -- specifically the slots for Jet Blue at JFK.

” US Senator Charles E. Schumer today welcomed JetBlue Airways, a new, low-fare airline, to the city of Buffalo as the airline began regular service between Buffalo and New York City. Schumer lobbied the Department of Transportation relentlessly on Jet Blue's behalf to obtain 75 precious take-off and landing slots at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Schumer first met JetBlue CEO David Neeleman shortly after his election to the United States Senate in November, 1998. At that meeting, Schumer pledged to work hard to secure the slot exemptions JetBlue needed at JFK. In return, Neeleman made a commitment to fly to one Upstate city on JetBlue's first day of service, as well as two others within their first 18 months of operation.”

As you can see, Senator Schumer doesn’t try to hide the fact he bent the rules to get the slots. He brags about it in a press release. He’ll probably do the same thing when it comes to shilling for Wall Street. Oh, and in case you didn’t know it, Senator Schumer is a Democrat.

As The New York Times series demonstrates, there will be an accounting as to who all got us into this mess. As the failing economy becomes real for more and more people -- when you lose your home instead of watching your neighbor lose his -- there will be a call for blood. After that, there will be a cry of “never again” and we’ll put the regulations back in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Read your history. It was true of the Great Depression. It will be true of this one. Maybe “never again” will be longer than 75 years next time time. Maybe we’ll make it 100 years before we forget and let people dismantle the regulatory system. No, I don’t really thinks so either but there is always hope.

Don Brown
December 22, 2008


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