© 2009 Jim Worth
Power Lunch About the Economy
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The first 19 minutes of Power Lunch today was both interesting and frightening.

Interesting in two subjects you addressed: firing Ken Lewis, and the banks charging usurious interest rates. Both are subjects that should be continuely redressed until an appropriate solution is found.

Frightening, because they spotlighted how some of you just don’t get it; lost in an atmosphere of bright lights and financial celebrity. And frightening because of the inane questions and statements made during both segments.

A couple of points regarding Lewis’s removal. This is a man who offered Angelo Mozilo $30 billion just two short years before before he was able to get it at bargain prices. Thank God for him that Angelo turned him down. Lucky! Not all that brilliant.

Bank of America is still in trouble and I wouldn’t be so sure about Merrill’s numbers. Big banks are going to come tumbling down because their new model is to screw the consumer to make up for their horrible, risky decisions. That practice will ultimately backfire as well.

Let’s address the credit card issue which is what I was eluding to. The inanity of Dennis and Michelle’s statements and questions are perplexing. Their lack of understanding of the banking crisis, especially related to usurious interest rates, is apalling. It points to the inability to apply credible balance between right and wrong. Usurious interest rates are wrong no matter what the financial environment is. The failure to see the disconnection between Wall Street and Main Street is at the very heart of the financial crisis.

Sue brought up a very important point regarding banks raising interest rates even on long-time good customers. Michelle, and Dennis’s outbursts in favor of banks showed a surprising lack of journalistic integrity. Dan Colarusso tried to express a problem with usurious practices that is felt throughout the country, but I fear it fell on deaf ears.

There is a criminal irony to what the banks are doing and they deserve to be brought down for betraying the public trust.

Yes, they have betrayed the trust of a reluctant citizenry; the same people who bailed them out and prevented their collapses. The Fed is giving away money with short term loans of 0 percent. They then turn around and charge their customers from 15.99 to 35%. Even the average person understands the criminality of such practices.

But it’s apparent that, despite their number of years on CNBC, Michelle, and Dennis still don’t get it.

Additionally, when we approach the issue of TARP don’t kid yourselves. The banks are posturing and their chest expanding statements are merely rhetoric. They’re not stupid and would love to keep TARP funds at 5 percent for as long as they can. Some may genuinely believe they can pay it back but in this negatively spiraling economy why not keep it until the government asks them to pay it back?

There’s more I could say, but I have addressed most of what I would explain on my new web site: “It’s Worth an Opinion” at: http://worthanopinion.net.

Take some time to read the articles I have written. I think you’ll All find them extremely interesting and well researched. Several are related to the two subjects which I’ve addressed: “Pain on Main,” and “Piracy in America,” both on the Today Page, “What They Should’ve Done,” on the Economics Page under the Op-Ed, and “Too Big to Fail,” on the Opinions page. But even the others would offer some unique insights.

Thanks for your interest in my comment and in my view of the world I live in.


Jim Worth
Author, “Final Audit”

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This letter was written in response to two segments on Power Lunch on CNBC related to problems in the banking industries; retention of Ken Lewis at BofA and usurious interest rates charged by banks. Submitted to Power Lunch on CNBC, April 20th, 2009.

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