Angelides: People make mistakes, take Alan Greenspan and Captain of Titanic

April 29, 2010

Phil Angelides, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission chairman, says he’d rather see some taking of responsibility than hear another “I’m sorry.”

REGULATION-SUMMIT/“Personally I don’t see my role as … to obtain apologies. What I don’t hear is a sense of responsibility and self-assessment about what occurred. There seems to be a disconnect between the practices that people undertook and the financial collapse,” he said at the Reuters Global Financial Regulation Summit.

“I’m struck by the extent to which all fingers point away generally from the person testifying,” Angelides said.

And it’s not just Wall Street executives that he’s talking about.

“When Alan Greenspan came in front of us he said he’d  been 70 percent right, 30 percent wrong. Well, you know, the captain of the Titanic was probably 99 percent right and one percent wrong. It’s the enormity of the mistake that matters,” he said.

(He is of course referring to the former chairman of the Federal Reserve who could do no wrong until the financial crisis hit, sinking his star along with the markets).

Was Greenspan asleep at the wheel?

“Well certainly on subprime lending. He was either asleep at the wheel or he made a conscious decision to turn his back, one of the two. I mean, there’s two answers, and neither are particularly good ones,” Angelides said.

(OUCH! If he throws punches in the commission report like he does in interviews, it might make for an interesting read…)

Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Angelides at Reuters Summit)

6 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

Just wait until Mr. Angelides ends up getting the 3rd degree under hot lights and lets see how often he repeats the words, “I’m sorry”. He’s a back-bencher, a Monday-morning quarterback. If his Wikipedia article is accurate, Mr. Angelides has never held a real job in the private sector in his life.

Posted by user8192 | Report as abusive

I agree with Angelides.

Unfortunately, our American society has “evolved” in such a way that the mastering of the skills and art of deflecting due responsibility for one’s interest group, is arguably the number of reason they get to that high profile leadership position. Condaleeza Rice comes to mind, as an example or faithful deflector of G.W.Bush’s accountability. Other talents, skills, insight, wisdom are seemingly out the door when this “artful evasion” skill shines.

Perhaps the only way (and I do not mean it sarcastically) is to start putting the story of Washinton admitted to cutting down the tree in grade schoolers’ textbooks, and start teaching some moral standards in school. There is a void in at least moral principals that all races and religions should be able to agree upon. They threw the baby out with the bathwater when the interpretation of the law became hostile to religion in schools due to the concern of discrimination.

Posted by Jos5319 | Report as abusive

Greenspan should have regulated sub prime mortgage lending when Congress asked him to in 2002.

Posted by STORYBURNcom_0 | Report as abusive

Finally ! Somebody on that side of the TV cameras who’s saying what all of us on this side of the TV cameras have been thinking ! Don’t know how much clout you’ll have Phil but keep talking !

Posted by SGinOR | Report as abusive

I think Greenspan made lots of mistakes, because he never sat down and wrote a check when things didn’t work out. Just another stockbroker who tells you that his hot tip did not turn out that way. Unfortunately he and your broker don’t have to pay for their mistakes. We have federal reserves employees and the last two former presidents that never had to write a check for their mistakes either.

Posted by fred5407 | Report as abusive

When has Greenspan been right?

Posted by vv111y | Report as abusive

[...] Saying I’m Sorry In particularly interesting Reuters Summit Notebook piece, People make mistakes, take Alan Greenspan and Captain of Titanic [...]