Villains of Financial Crisis Hide by Boring Us

Tepid hearings reveal pretty much nothing
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2010 5:30 AM CDT
Villains of Financial Crisis Hide by Boring Us
Robert Rubin and Charles Prince appear before the congressionally chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, April 8, 2010.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If you’re like Peggy Noonan, you devoured CSPAN’s coverage of this week's Financial Industry Inquiry Commission hearings, and you got to see, live, the dramatic testimony of ex-Citigroup CEO Charles Prince. “Let’s be real,” Prince said. “You, for political reasons, both Republicans and Democrats, finagled the mortgage system so that people who make, like, zero dollars were given mortgages for $600,000 homes. … And Wall Street? We went to town, baby…. You’re finaglers, and we’re finaglers. I play for dollars, you play for votes.”

Okay, so Charles Prince didn’t say that. Noonan made it up for her Wall Street Journal column. Prince, naturally, said something perfectly dull and opaque, couched in industry jargon specifically designed to be dull and opaque. “This is where famous and important people being grilled hide now: in boringness,” Noonan writes. The weirdly courteous commission didn’t even seem interested in grilling them. It actually made Noonan miss congressmen, who at least show some emotion, however fake. (More Peggy Noonan stories.)

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