That’s the question the breakingviews.com column* asks in the Money section of today’s Wall Street Journal.
Pluto in Capricorn is already exerting its influence in the financial world, and especially life in the executive suite. Capricorn and its ruler Saturn, hold court at the top of the horoscope. This is why the tenth house relates to one’s career and reputation. What Pluto is bringing to the surface now is that leaders – from CEOs to central bankers, are trying to stand on a floor whose foundation is rapidly eroding. Angelo Mozilo, the cofounder and CEO of Countrywide Financial (CFC) is the first CEO to agree to forfeit his $37.5M severance pay, fees, and benefits. During Pluto in Sagittarius (1995-2008), fallen CEOs would depart with a fat pay package regardless of the company’s financial losses.
As a sign ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is about unrestricted global expansion. In short, we broke through the boundaries. Any concerns were pushed under the table in our optimistic state of euphoria. Now that the party’s over, financial firms, central bankers, and governments want to solve the crisis in the same manner that got us there in the first place. Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers, quoted in today’s WSJ** neatly sums up this attitude: “Moral hazard and confidence are different sides of the same thing. Sustaining confidence and preventing panics is itself a source of stability. It also economizes on capital and can encourage desirable risk taking.”
Financial bailouts and government stimulus will only make things worse. Capricorn and Saturn require taking responsibility for past mistakes, not rewarding them. Pluto in Capricorn will destroy what is not working in order to rebuild something new. As breakingviews.com states: “If Wall Street can’t overhaul itself, it risks a backlash that could end up stifling the industry with red tape.”
*The breaking views column is only available in the print edition of the WSJ or through paid subscription at breakingviews.com.
**“Bank of England Chief Changes Tack in Crisis”. Available to print and online subscribers only.