Rolling Stone praises Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley in a blog post by writer Matt Taibbi. Taibbi writes about J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s Senate testimony before the Senate banking committee and says he had an "inkling" it would be hard to watch but …
But I wasn’t prepared for just how bad it was. If not for Oregon’s Jeff Merkley, who was the only senator who understood the importance of taking the right tone with Dimon, the hearing would have been a total fiasco. Most of the rest of the senators not only supplicated before the blowdried banker like love-struck schoolgirls or hotel bellhops, they also almost all revealed themselves to be total ignoramuses with no grasp of the material they were supposed to be investigating.
Taibbi writes a scathing indictment of the meeting and the sentators "slavish" questioning of Dimon on derivative trading.
This was an opportunity to show Americans how a too-big-to-fail commercial bank like Chase – supported by vast amounts of public treasure, from Fed loans to bailouts to less obvious subsidies like GSE purchases of mortgages and implicit guarantees of bank debt – uses the crutch of government support to gamble recklessly in search of huge profits, with the public on the hook for any potential downside.
But he writes, instead, "Instead, they mostly cowered and cringed and sat mute with thumbs in their mouths, while Dimon evaded, patted himself on the back, and blew the whole derivative losses episode off as an irrelevant accident caused by moron subordinates."
Jon Tester of Montana gets some credit for standing up for the farmers he represents, but mostly Taibbi's praise is reserved for Merkley who at one point when interrupted in his questioning by Dimon says, "Sir, this is not your hearing. You’re here to answer questions. And I only have five minutes."
For the full commentary, go to the Taibblog.