Audit Notes: “People Love It,” The New Nocera, NYT Parody Flop

Andrew Ross Sorkin has a good column on a panel of top financiers discussing financial reform and too big to fail banks.

This is a nice lede:

The irony was thick.

Alan Schwartz, the former chief executive of Bear Stearns who oversaw its near-demise and subsequent government-aided rescue, was here at Michael Milken’s annual conference — a West Coast version of Davos for financiers — moderating a panel last week about whether the Dodd-Frank Act had ended “too big to fail.”

Are the Milken folks joking putting Bear Stearns’s CEO to lead a panel on too big to fail?

Most revealing, though, is this quote from Thomas J. Wilson, the Chicago Federal Reserve’s deputy chairman. This is your out-of-touch Quote of the Week:

“Our financial system in America is the envy of the world,” he said. “We have more skills, capabilities, infrastructure, data than anybody else and people love it and all of a sudden we’ve sort of turned into it’s like a terrible thing — like we should bust it all up into small little pieces and have a bunch of little companies doing it. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Wilson is also chairman of insurance giant Allstate, which might explain why it doesn’t make any sense to him that our financial system—“the envy of the world”—is in need of serious change. Hey, “people love it.” Who cares about a few trillion dollars, the deepest recession in eighty years, fifteen million people out of work, and massive and growing inequality?

Don’t you ever go changing, financial system.


— Chris Roush reports that James B. Stewart will be Joe Nocera’s replacement as the Saturday business columnist in The New York Times.

Stewart, who’s a Columbia J-school professor, wrote Den of Thieves, was page one editor of The Wall Street Journal, and has worked for Dow Jones for nearly three decades told Women’s Wear Daily this:

Stewart said that it was “healthy to make a change,” but also said his decision was influenced by the fact that he knows so many more people at the Times now.

“I think as you get older working with people you really like is a big plus,” said Stewart, who is 59. “I don’t know most of the people at the top of the Journal anymore.

No kidding.

— Slate published a parody of The New York Times called The Final Edition. Supposedly it’s what the last paper the NYT ever puts out would look like.

Let’s just say it’s tone-deaf at best to put out a fake newspaper whose dominant art makes the Times headquarters building look like the World Trade Center on 9/11, that jokes about date rape, and has a couple of Holocaust jokes to boot. The Onion can get away with this kind of thing most of the time because it’s actually funny and clever. This one’s not (although I must admit I like just about anything that digs at Tom Friedman).

Is anybody laughing at this copy, a supposed parody of a Paul Krugman column?

My collection of extra-small-size antique and exotic used women’s shoes, which are kept in a secret location near Princeton, is without parallel in the global multi-billion-dollar extra-small-size used women’s-shoe market. Carrie Bradshaw has nothing on Paul “Mr Big” Krugman. A pair of my fragrantly decayed 1950s genuine-cork-soled Ipanema Beach espadrilles alone would keep me in clover for years. All it takes is one Asian buyer - of the right bent.

And, in the unlikely event that the extra-small-size used women’s-shoes market goes belly-up, I have a backup. A sensational idea for a Broadway musical I have been working on for years, guaranteed to spin off 7-figure annual profits indefinitely. What’s it about? What else?



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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,