In their own words

There’s a difference?

“Is this the US Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?” — US Democratic member of Congress Dennis Kucinich, speaking on the US$700 billion bailout of Wall Street.

But it’s fundamentally sound

“If we don’t do this, we may not have an economy on Monday.” — Ben Bernanke, US Federal Reserve chairperson, pitching the Wall Street bailout to Congressional leaders on September 18.

Wasn’t that the point?

“The problem with such voluntary [regulatory] programs is that, as we’ve seen throughout history, they often don’t work.” — Roderick M. Hills, a former chairperson of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, on the Bush administration allowing investment banks to regulate their own credit exposure.

Because they told us so

“We foolishly believed that the [banking] firms had a strong culture of self-preservation and responsibility and would have the discipline not to be excessively borrowing.” — James D. Cox, professor of securities law and accounting at the Duke School of Law.

The party continues

“Just days after the federal government committed $85 billion of taxpayers’ money to a bailout of insurance giant AIG last month, senior execs from the troubled company headed to Southern California’s ultra-swanky St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach for a week of wining and dining top salespeople ... the company paid more than $440,000 for the event, including nearly $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals, $23,000 in spa charges and almost $7,000 for golf outings.” — Los Angeles Times, October 8.

So the party can continue

“You can see that this is welfare of the rich, it is socialism for the rich — it’s just bailing out financial institutions. This is madness, this is insanity, they have more than doubled the American national debt in one weekend for a bunch of crooks and incompetents. I’m not quite sure why I or anybody else should be paying for this.” — US billionaire Jim Rogers, commenting on September 8 on the government bailout of mortgage loan firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Well thought-out

“It’s not based on any particular data point. We just wanted to choose a really large number.” — Anonymous US Treasury department spokesperson quoted in a September 23 report on the US Treasury’s $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan.

Not large enough

“Declared losses on US loans and securitized assets are likely to increase further to about $1.4 trillion.” — International Monetary Fund quarterly assessment of global capital markets, issued on October 7.

The horror! The horror!

“We haven’t seen the worst yet.” — Hong Kong investment banker Renault Kam, commenting on investment banks ordering their senior bankers to travel economy class on (short) plane flights.