Bankers Decry Witch Hunts

Can’t a banker get some peace and quiet these days? Financial executives are lashing out at the 90-percent bonus tax passed by the House this week. Talking to the Financial Times, one banker really ratcheted up the anger: “It’s like a McCarthy witch-hunt...This is the most profoundly anti- American thing I’ve ever seen.” In a memo, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit said “The work we have all done to try to stabilize the financial system and to get this economy moving again would be significantly set back if we lose our talented people because Congress imposes a special tax on financial services employees.” Politicians fear banks may react by returning public capital, even if it worsens the credit squeeze, and by refusing to participate in public-private partnerships to repair the credit markets.