In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Charlie Gasparino discusses the fact that while "some investors and Sheila Bair" had hoped the government would put Citi out of its misery, the plan is to keep the bank "half-dead and half-alive because in its current, near-vegetative state," where it can't do much harm, and focus efforts on Bank of America. Gaspo understands the logic, but he doesn't agree with it. He thinks even in a state of comatose, the Big C could do a tremendous amount of damage. How does Charlie know this? He's seen it happen before:
In some ways Citigroup reminds me of this nasty neighbor I had as a kid. He was a hazard to both the community and his wife and kids whom he used to abuse on a daily basis. Then one day he got into an accident; I believe he fell off the back of a truck, cracked his skull and was in a coma. We prayed for his timely exit from this world but he hung on, first for weeks and then for months.
"Neither God wants him nor the devil wants him," my father remarked with a laugh one afternoon as we laid odds on whether he would live or die.
The man did in fact live, miraculously given to size and scope of his head injuries, and once he was able to function again, he returned to his nasty old self. It was a shame, we all thought, if he had died, it would have spared everyone so much trouble.
I can't but help feeling the same way about Citigroup.