Economy and Business
Populist banker. Now those are two words you rarely see linked together.
But Thomas Hoenig, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, truly is a rarity. Firmly rooted in small-town Iowa and Kansas, he has never aspired to be part of the Wall Street-Washington power elite, and he doesn’t hesitate to challenge their financial orthodoxy and obsequious kowtowing to the preening barons of big banking.
“What’s good for General Motors is good for the country,” Defense Secretary nominee–and former GM CEO–Charles Wilson famously told the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1953. These weren’t his exact words, but they have resonated nonetheless.
Back in business school, they taught us that a company’s major costs were land, labor, and capital. There were strategies to minimize each, with labor the most complicated cost to control. That hasn’t changed, even though workers have increasingly become replaceable parts, the federal government has weakened labor rights, and much U.S. manufacturing takes place in other countries.
As Dr. Milo later noted, “Erzinger struck me, fled, and left me for dead.”
We enter 2011 with a few more dollars in our paychecks. For about 98 percent of Americans, the extension of Bush tax cuts and the new payroll tax holiday will make it easier for us to afford a gallon, rather than a quart, of milk for our families each month, and to fill our tanks almost as high as we did with lower gas prices last year.
Do you love your megabank?
You may be a bit hazy on the Persian Gulf. Basically that’s where a lot of the world’s oil comes from.
As a critic of runaway CEO pay, I have a lot of scars from debates I’ve done on cable TV business shows. But my most memorable pummeling was in August 2007, when I nearly got my head bitten off for criticizing Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo on the CNBC show Squawk Box.
Well, the Democrats are finally showing some fight. They’re fighting with each other, but it’s a start.