If I might channel John Stossel for a moment, "Give me a break!" Really, Pandit? "Don't give up on us"? "Give us a chance"? What a little whiny bitch. Is this what business in America has become? Apparently, if you accept the Journal's estimation in the first paragraph. Reading about Citigroup or GM or Chrysler, I can just hear the voices of Jim Taggart or Orren Boyle screeching from the pages of Atlas Shrugged: "Give us a chance!" "It's not fair!" "We need a chance to succeed too!"
In a recent phone call with a senior government official, Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Vikram Pandit revealed who's on top in the new world of American finance.
"Don't give up on us," Mr. Pandit said, pleading with the official not to push out top management. "Give us a chance to execute."
What, I wonder, would giving up on Citigroup constitute exactly? Letting them fail? Not a terrible proposition. Breaking them up into little Citipieces? An even better idea. It seems that Pandit, on behalf of his shareholders, is intent on perpetuating the illusion that Citi is still a private enterprise. News flash: it isn't. Honestly, and yes this is me saying this, I would prefer all out nationalization of Citi to this farcical capital injection Beckett-esque production. Maintaining a nominally private institution just to serve as a vehicle for politicians' policy fantasies is worse than the government taking over a bank. The government takes over insolvent banks and turns them over all the time. On the other hand, the former situation is exactly what transpired with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And look how well that turned out.
Bottom line: If you can't run a successful (aka profitable) business on your own without begging feckless bureaucrats to "give us a chance," then you do not deserve to be in business. End of story. Pathetic displays like this one only perpetuate the government and the public's perception that businessmen are bungling idiots (don't get me wrong, some are). Meanwhile, the remaining capitalist heroes are too busy attempting to navigate the socialist waters to stand up for basic principles. That's our job.