Sunday, February 1, 2009


What I admire of the American Democracy most, is the smooth transition of power after the election. Once the electorate verdict is out, there is no animosity and backbiting, at least in the public. There is a show of mutual respect by both the victor and the vanquished.

Many of our community members were very exited with the middle name of Barack Obama. I was amused by an SMS received which went something like Barack Hussain Obama, became the 44th American President on 24th Muharram – Ya Husain !! I simply replied back,) feeling sorry for being a damper, stating the last name of the atrocious dictator who killed many innocent Iraqis, mainly shias was Husain !!

So more than the name, the work of the man, his upbringing, his qualifications, his track record and past achievements, are important. Considering all these factors, people around the world at large and the American people have high expectations. But the task ahead is a very difficult one for the OA given the condition of the world economy.

However, within a short span, things are showing a CHANGE. Recently President Barack Obama minced not words in lashing out to Wall Street Investment Bankers, for taking home nearly $20 billion in bonuses, at a time when tax payers money was being given to them as bailouts.

He is sending out hard hitting messages, and this has already started to show results to some extent. The simmering anger against the ‘fat cats’ is receiving momentum and the Bankers and Insurance people are going on their back foot, for the first time.

A case in point is that lavish spending is being curbed, and John A. Thain, the former Merrill Lynch executive, who was forced out of Bank of America for renovation of his office that included an $87,000 (Rs 42.4 lakh) area rug and a $ 35,000 (Rs: 17.08 lakh ) commode !!! Good sense has finally prevailed on this high profile executive and he has confirmed that he will reimburse the Bank, the entire amount.

Citigroup has been made to see common sense in abandoning its plan to buy $50 million corporate jet. So results are showing, but the road ahead is still long and hard. Yesterday at a Davos Debate on BBC the Investment Bankers and Business Heads on the panel, had a harrowing time answering to pointed queries, as to why they should not shoulder the blame, and they oft repeated reply that the problem was not with their integrity and honesty, in most cases but with the problems in the ‘financial system’. However, their argument did not hold water, with the now fully aware audience and one lady Economic Professor and existing Merrill Lynch Director, made a show by stepping down from her stool. One Company Director confirmed that he did not know how the financial system was working, but as long as he and others were making money, it was fine.

According to some Investment Bankers on the Wall Street, they say that for all their ‘hard work’ they deserve the bonuses.

Is it for hard work or ignorance - a point to be considered. Ignorance of the financial system made them rich. However, hard they may try to justify, it was GREED AND GREED ALONE., that has resulted in this economic tsunami, the effect of which has started to be felt by countries around the world.