Ciao, Grasso!


My first, semi-serious reaction to the sacking of New York Stock Exchange president, Richard Grasso, who worked his way up from $82.50 a week in 1968 to a platinum parachute of $140 million?

"They"–the old-line WASPocracy–will do anything to stick it to a spaghetti bender who does good! If Catholicism is the last acceptable prejudice (which of course it isn't), then busting a goombah's chops is the last acceptable prejudice against European Americans (pop culture may be awash in knuckle-dragging goodfellas but when's the last you even heard a Polish joke?). This is the sort of thing that my sainted mother, the former Therese Guida–who grew up speaking Italian and whose own mother was once kept out of the US for years due to the 1920s' racist immigration laws–used to talk about.

Then an Italian American (whose name even ends in a vowel) I trust on financial matters pointed out, "Fuck that puny thieving scumbag. The interlocking compensation committee scam that Grasso benefited from isn't much different than a bunch of mob bosses getting together on the bocce court to decide how to carve up territory."

Whatever the truth of the matter, this much is certain: The NYSE is an interesting example of self-regulation that is responding to investor concerns. The fact that various public entities are among its biggest investors muddies the waters a bit, but it provides an illustration of how markets correct themselves.