You know the old joke. It gets tailored for whatever the despised group of the moment is:
Q: What do you call 10,000 [lawyers/politicians/whatever] at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start.
I was thinking about that recently with regard to Wall Street and bankers. The popular (and populist) rage that has been rising against Wall Street seems to be reaching new levels. According to Gallup, Americans rank the “honesty and ethical standards” of bankers as “low” or “very low” at a rate about three times higher than we did in the mid-1980s. (The vast majority of that increase came after the most recent financial meltdown.) And politicians – even Republicans – now regularly use Wall Street as an easy punching bag for cheap political points.
It’s hard to argue with the sentiment. Those people did ruin a minimally well-functioning economy.
Today, Mayor Garcetti will deliver his first State of the City address to outline his goals and vision for the coming year. One can expect a focus on his “back to basics” message of creating a stronger economy and more efficient and effective city government. As he delineates those “basics” and how he hopes to achieve them and pay for them, the Mayor needs to make sure he is taking a full accounting of what’s happening in his own City Hall backyard – ensuring that the fulfillment of his vision doesn’t come at the expense of our streets, communities or workers. An item that requires his immediate attention is the draining of hundreds of millions of dollars from city taxpayers each year.
It turns out that the city of Los Angeles spends more than $200 million on annual fees to Wall Street banks and other financial institutions. This eye-popping figure is detailed in a new research report released by Fix LA,