Eliot Spitzer worries me.
Under the guise of cleaning up Wall Street, I think he's going to hurt Wall Street.
I don't think he cares, but you should.
Let me be clear: Spitzer is an ambitious New York state attorney general who's done a lot of good chasing corporate bad guys. But now he's hurting the good guys.
In trying to clean up the mutual fund industry, he demanded Alliance Capital cut its fees. And Alliance Capital did! Am I the only one that is appalled by that?
Can you imagine an outside regulator coming in and telling a company how much money it can make, or maybe how much "you" can make?
What's to stop someone from saying, "Disney, you made too much money last year. Cut all your theme park fees by 20 percent."
Or, "Apple, you're doing too well with this i-Pod, cut the price in half."
The reason that I mention that is because he's likely to wade into the Dick Grasso mess at the New York Stock Exchange. And maybe force Grasso to give up some of his pay.
But, before you go cheer for that, think of this: The board at the NYSE voted for and approved that pay package. Now under some arcane not-for-profit state laws, Spitzer will likely argue Grasso and the board of this quasi-public institution did a boo-boo.
I frankly think it's a stretch and I'm no Grasso fan! I don't know how the board even allowed the compensation in the first place. But it did and it's done.
My bigger point is watch your big thumb, Mr. Spitzer.
I know you want to run for governor -- and god knows what else after that -- that you're helping Democratic causes and candidates in New York even now. But intruding into bad guys' policies seems to give you license to go into good guys' policies as well. Well, that's not your job.
You police. You don't regulate.
You watch out for fiefdoms. You don't set fees.
You overlook. You don't over-reach.
I don't know what worries me more, Mr. Spitzer: That you're on the case, or just making a case.
I know everyone's singing your praises. I'm just wondering about your motives.
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