Bill O'Reilly had a segment on his Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," which reminded me of the Soviet era where someone tells someone, who tells TMZ, who tells Bill O'Reilly that Northern Trust is sponsoring (hold your breath for suspense) a golf tournament! Northern Trust even had the audacity to provide their customers with entertainment and (hazy undercover photos) gift bags!
There is no rulebook for how to use TARP money. Lately, any company stepping outside the "normal" lines of thought will get nailed by the media or humiliated by Congress. Is that really where we want to wind up?
Common sense would say: If bankers are marketing their services and want some semblance of normalcy, they should be allowed to run their business without being afraid.
Common sense will also make the bankers more self-aware that the world has changed, that they should scale back extravagant marketing, not because they have to, but because it makes good business sense.
Unless we want to see a gray curtain of paranoia descend over our country, we had better take a breather. Let the bankers get back to work and stop looking over their shoulders.
However, I don't think the media or Congress has the restraint to let that happen. So, let me be the first to predict: Mao jackets will become fashionable by 2010.
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