March 18, 2010
What the heck is a "Punk Staffer"?
And how does a "punk staffer" differ from a non-punk staffer?
Posted by Menzie Chinn at March 18, 2010 04:10 PMdigg this | reddit
punk staffers don't worship the neo-liberal/neo-con alliance of Greenspan and Rubin.
Posted by: joe at March 18, 2010 05:01 PM
Its rather obvious, isn't it? A punk staffer is simply someone who says something Boehner doesn't agree with.
Of course, this punk is most likely smarter and more knowledgeable about banking and finance than he is. But, hey, thats not really the point is it?
Posted by: Jerome Turner at March 18, 2010 05:43 PM
Let's hope the lobbyists are stupid enough to listen to Boehner's advice. When at Treasury I recall a meeting with a group of well-paid attorneys (each with annual earnings well over a million dollars) lobbying a cause, wondering what made them so valuable. Their cause was clearly bad economic policy, but I found myself sympathetic to them anyway and willing to apply myself to help devise ways to minimize their pain. I doubt Boehner's tack would have elicited the same energy in this task.
Posted by: don at March 18, 2010 05:50 PM
Gawd! Am I the only guy here who lived through the 70's and 80's?
A Punk Staffer is a staffer with pink and black hair, saftey pins through their cheeks, wrap shades, ripped jeans, and music guarenteed to send anyone born before 1960 into paroxysms of agony.
YEEESH!!! How soon they forget.
Posted by: Joshua F. Whalen at March 18, 2010 07:55 PM
As Boehner was speaking to bankers, this doesn't surprise me. Despite all of the shiny edifice of Wall Street, these are very crude people that enjoy "tough guy" talk. Prior to the financial crisis, and possibly even now, one of the really popular things to say was saying that you were going to "pimp" a product. Of course, they actually meant to sell or market, but they preferred the word "pimp" for some reason. It's one of the many manifestations of phony macho-ism on Wall Street.
Posted by: Brian Quinn at March 18, 2010 09:20 PM
It wouldn't surprise me to discover that you've used the term "punk staffer" on a few occasions yourself when reading, addressing, rebuking, or correcting responders such as myself.
Posted by: Brian at March 18, 2010 10:40 PM
I suspect that the difference is that a "punk" staffer has a closer symbiotic relationship to the rent-seeking weasel, but I could be mistaken...
Posted by: ddearmont at March 18, 2010 11:01 PM
Posted by: lenehey at March 19, 2010 07:24 AM
Brian: Well, can't say I've ever thought of using the term; it's so bizarre, it would never occur to me -- and anyway, how would I know a given reader was a "staffer". Finally, I myself have been a "staffer". Whether I was ever a "punk" at the same time as being a staffer, I leave others to judge.
Posted by: Menzie Chinn at March 19, 2010 07:46 AM
Haha. That would be a G-12 pay scale government banking regulator individual, (without "rule of law" on his side) beating up on the multi-billionaire banking CEOs/lobbyist funded Congress/regulatory captured Federal Reserve Cabal that have taken the little peoples' interests to heart!
One area where my and Krugman's view overlap is the current state of banking, and Krugman just posted a comment replying to Boner with a quote from one of our esteemed and downtrodden banking CEOs, Jimmy Cayne. (ex-Bear CEO)
Having gone thru the trouble of reading "The Sellout" by Charles Gasparino, I can fill in a little background about how one becomes a multi-billionaire banker.
In the case of Jimmy Cayne, he dropped out of college after two years. His main skill and focus in life was being a "bridge bum" (the card game). He happened to be very, very good at it, but his wife demanded that he get a "real" job. So he compromised and got a part time job at the then start-up Bear Stearns as a bond trader. This way he could still play bridge a lot.
As a part timer, with no "skin in the game", he convinced Bear's risk management committee to make a huge bet on buying New York city bonds when New York was in financial straights, making the case that someone would bail out NYC. The bet paid off big, and this was Caynes first and only success in finance. But he was able to parlay it into a steady climb up the ladder at Bear, even tho this peers were quite sure he wouldn't know a bond from a stock certificate. His success was attributed to considerable skill in schmoozing politicians (he got a lot of government securitization business for Bear), internal politics at Bear, and finally mesmerizing investors.
His story is not that unusual on Wall Street, and MIT economist Samuelson once commented (before his death) that most upper executives on Wall Street couldn't pass an undergrad finance course.
Let us take pity on the breed.
Posted by: Cedric Regula at March 19, 2010 07:58 AM
Clearly a punk staffer is a staffer who laughs when you say “A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.”
An extensive effort at inter-generational communication here
Posted by: Robert Waldmann at March 19, 2010 12:40 PM
what about sleepy staffers?
Posted by: caveat bettor at March 19, 2010 01:00 PM
This is a group, dressed as Joshua F. Whalen describes, that is plotting to kidnap all the leading banker CEOs, drag them to a reopened CBGB's in New York, where Johnny Rotten will rise from the dead to bring his Sex Pistols to play very loud music until the CEOs agree to go along with financial reforms.
Posted by: Barkley Rosser at March 19, 2010 01:54 PM
Krugman sort of quoted Cayne's wrath at Timay, but implied that he edited out the good parts because they would not live up to The Times standard of editorial conduct.
Since I have no such scruples, and this isn't The Times anyway, I dug up the whole quote from William D. Cohen's recent book.
Here it is. Enjoy, and happy dreams.
Asked about Geithner’s comments and his decision regarding opening the discount window to Wall Street after Bear had been sold for $2 a share and not earlier, Jimmy Cayne became spitting angry.
“The audacity of that p—k in front of the American people announcing he was deciding whether or not a firm of this stature and this whatever was good enough to get a loan,” he said. “Like he was the determining factor, and it’s like a flea on his back, floating down underneath the Golden Gate Bridge, getting a h–d-on, saying, ‘Raise the bridge.’ This guy thinks he’s got a big d–k. He’s got nothing, except maybe a boyfriend. I’m not a good enemy. I’m a very bad enemy. But certain things really—that bothered me plenty. It’s just that for some clerk to make a decision based on what, your own personal feeling about whether or not they’re a good credit? Who the f–k asked you? You’re not an elected officer. You’re a clerk. Believe me, you’re a clerk. I want to open up on this f—-r, that’s all I can tell you.”
P.S. Cayne did somehow get $10.81 for his once billion $ stock value in Bear, which was first priced by the government in the forced takeover at $2, and then eventually upped to $10 when shareholders pointed out that, outside of official bankruptcy, they get to vote on accepting the offer!
Posted by: Cedric Regula at March 19, 2010 03:17 PM
Professor Rosser - John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) is indeed alive and well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Rotten
You may be thinking of the Sex Pistol's erstwhile bassist - John Simon Ritchie (a.k.a. Sid Vicious).
Posted by: Marty at March 20, 2010 11:05 AM
What's so hard to understand about what Boehner said and his intent behind the words? I took it as a comment intended to illustrate that this was someone of little or no consequence who was acting uppity, operating above their pay-grade, or didn't have the pull to be that big of an annoyance to someone as important as Boehner. It illustrates his self-importance and lack of humility more than anything else.
Others have said this is speech typical of Wall-Street execs. I think it's typical of a lot of upper management in this county and not just in the financial sector. These are just the offhand verbal expressions of people who have never truly grown up in many ways and somehow ended up empathically and morally stunted. They learned growing up that you can't just say certain things outside of certain circles, but they never learned the lesson that other people have an intrinsic value and worth that is more than the size of their wallets, what power they have over you, or their ability to give you what you want.
Posted by: Keith Marquard at March 21, 2010 04:38 PM