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Neel Kashkari Calls ‘Bull’ on Banks’ Claims They Didn’t Need TARP Money

Neel Kashkari, the 36-year-old Goldman Sachs alum Henry Paulson hired to distribute the bailout funds, had a rough time of it during the heat of the economic crisis, and since being replaced he's been laying low. The Times found him out in a "secluded mountain cabin in California," where he has apparently been getting back to nature, "decompressing" by "chopping wood" and congratulating himself on a job well done in getting the economic system to not collapse. (Not that anyone has sent him any thank-you cards for that lately, but one of the tough lessons Kashkari learned this year is that people think more about things that do happen than catastrophes averted.) He'd been thinking about writing a book that would have knocked the socks off Andrew Ross Sorkin's, he told the Times, but apparently Dick Cheney advised him against it, saying it might complicate his chances of getting back into government (apparently no one warned him that a close association with Dick Cheney might have a similar effect). So, the mountains.

Up there in the high altitude, he's been doing some thinking. And one of the things he's thought about, it turns out, is the behavior of his old buddies on Wall Street. They're not patriots, he tells the Times. And what's worse, they're liars:


“Every single Wall Street firm, despite their protest today, every single one benefited from our actions,” he said. “And when they get up there and say, ‘Well, we didn’t need it,’ that’s bull.

“They did need it. And they’re all happy with the actions that we took, and they need to show restraint today.”

Also he'd be lying if he didn't say that occasionally when he's out there chopping wood, Lloyd Blankfein's face flashes across the grain.

The Economic Bomb That Didn't Drop [Caucus/NYT]

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