Does Wall Street Place Employees Above Shareholders?

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Wall Street gadfly James Grant, who has published Grant's Interest Rate Observer since 1983, wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal essay that:

"The big brokerage firms are not in business so much to make a product or even to earn a competitive return for their stockholders. Rather, they open their doors to pay their employees -- specifically, to maximize employee compensation in the short run."

Do you think that "to maximize employee compensation in the short run" is Wall Street's primary goal?

If so, does the situation call for any type of reform, such as altering compensation practices or restricting banks' use of leverage (the central villain in Grant's piece)?

Or, should government - instead of providing a safety net when things go wrong - punish institutions for reckless behavior (another reform Grant seems to want)?

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