Who Cares If Wall Street Execs Quit?

BY Business Desk  December 3, 2009 at 3:54 PM EDT

Wall Street sign; via iStockphoto.com

Question: Why are so many people concerned that if there are controls put on the remuneration of top people in the financial industry, that these people will leave? Aren’t they the prime causes of the financial crisis in the first place? Who cares if they leave? Can their replacements do any worse?

Paul Solman: I’m not sure how many people are concerned. I’m only sure they’re pretty much all from the financial industry itself. THEY care if they leave. And they’ve spend an awful lot of money gaining access to Congresspeople via campaign contributions to be able to make their case in person. What can they possibly say, you might wonder? Here’s a stab:

We WEREN’T the prime causes of the crisis. You WON’T find better replacements. And — my personal favorite, heard often in defense of the AIG bonuses — only WE know the ins and outs of the complicated deals we made, so only WE can unwind them.