"Wall Street’s traditional approach to attacks on its reputation has been to disengage from the public and hide behind an army of lawyers and lobbyists.
Since the financial meltdown of 2008, this tendency has grown stronger.
Wall Street’s lawyers won an internal power struggle with its spin doctors, convincing the bosses that they would end up sued or in jail if their public statements were anything other than bloodless boilerplate.
So the big banks’ apologies for their role in messing up the world economy have been grudging and late, and Joe Taxpayer has yet to hear a heartfelt “thank you” for bailing them out.
Summoned before Congress, Wall Street bosses have made lawyerised statements that make them sound arrogant, greedy and unrepentant.
A grand gesture or two—such as slashing bonuses or giving away a tonne of money—might have gone some way towards restoring public faith in the industry.
But we will never know because it didn’t happen."