Since October, the government has invested $52 billion in Citi, while agreeing to eat up to $249 billion in losses on the bank’s toxic real estate portfolio. And so it’s really hard to say no when those Washington “investors” call for a favor. In the 1990 Martin Scorsese movie, a restaurant owner realizes too late that a partner big enough to protect him is big enough to take everything he has. As Ray Liotta narrates, “Now he’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with a bill, to Paulie . . . But now he has to pay Paulie.”
And for those of you who don’t remember how that story ends, eventually Paulie is taking so much off the top, that the owner ends up torching the place for the insurance money. But don’t worry, its not like the interest groups that spent hundreds of millions of dollars electing Democrats have a long wish list that will only make it harder for real businesses to survive. Oh wait, they do.