We’re listening to the bank CEO press conference after their meeting with the president at the White House. And among other comments Jim Rohr, chairman and chief executive of Pittsburgh’s PNC Financial Services Group, has just noted that the financial services industry is the “biggest industry we have in the United States.” I take it that some of that metric may be tied to just how one defines and delimits what constitutes an ‘industry’. But this points up a basic structural problem. The point of the financial services ‘industry’ is to efficiently allocate capital throughout the economy or to put it a bit more cheekily to actual ‘industries’. Now, that’s a critical function. But when it becomes the biggest ‘industry’, and in many ways clearly the most powerful, that’s a problem.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.