Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his colleagues worked the phones to try to line up support on Wall Street for the plan announced Monday. (…) Some bankers say they turned the conversations into complaints about the antibonus crusade consuming Capitol Hill. Some have begun “slow-walking” the information previously sought by Treasury for stress-testing financial institutions, three bankers say, and considered seeking capital from hedge funds and private-equity funds so they could return federal bailout money, thereby escaping federal restrictions. [...]
Bankers were shell-shocked, especially when Congress moved to heavily tax bonuses. When administration officials began calling them to talk about the next phase of the bailout, the bankers turned the tables. They used the calls to lobby against the antibonus legislation, Wall Street executives say. Several big firms called Treasury and White House officials to urge a more reasonable approach, both sides say. The banks’ message: If you want our help to get credit flowing again to consumers and businesses, stop the rush to penalize our bonuses.“
In other words: “suck it, bitches”. And, as the unofficial spokesbitch for bitches everywhere, I must say we’re feeling rather disinclined to suck it any more than we have already. There seems to be an emerging consensus that nationalization of the banks and banking-related program activities is the endgame, and this is the sort of compassion-annihilating publicity which will ensure it ends on terms favorable to the middle class. Governing out of anger may well be bad practice, but politicking from that position is tough to beat.