Postscript: Advice to a New President


There can be few fields of human endeavor in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have the insight to appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.

 --John Kenneth Galbraith

I've detailed many of my own thoughts throughout the book, but I have two additional ideas. The first is simple: We need to start teaching basic financial literacy in public schools. That so many people willingly signed on the dotted lines for mortgages they could not possibly afford points to the terrible lack of basic financial knowledge.

Second, quantitative methods have become extremely important on Wall Street. Their ability to identify aberrational patterns and find trading opportunities is one of the biggest growth areas in finance today. It is a technique that could be easily adapted by the Securities and Exchange Commission for indentifying fraud. Perhaps the SEC could impanel practitioners, academics, mathematicians, and quants to develop a plan to use the tools of quantitative analysis to ferret out Ponzi schemes such as Bernie Madoff's before they cause billions in losses and ruin lives.

These past 300 or so pages have criticized, castigated, and even castrated many of the worst citizens of Bailout Nation. For this last chapter, let's employ a different approach.

One of the terrific things about working on Wall Street ...

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