A background on the science: Men typically have longer ring fingers than index fingers, while women's fingers are even. But excess testosterone in utero has been found to lengthen ring fingers (and turn women lesbian). The ring-finger characteristic, in turn, has been linked to traits like success in hypercompetitive fields like Wall Street and professional sports. As you study the finger length of Washington's moneymen, new and old, the question to ask: Having gotten into this mess by people taking outsized risks, do we really want a bunch of damn-the-torpedoes macho men fixing it?
The old team:
Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's ring finger is freakishly long, which could explain his impulsive behavior with the government's bailout money.
Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke's ring finger is cocked here, but extended, he seems to fit the profile.
Neel Kashkari, the Ferrari-loving head of the Treasury bailout program, has a relatively normal hand.
Paulson's replacement at Treasury, Tim Geithner, is an eerie match for his spidery fingers.
Called to account for the collapse of his firm, Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld could invoke a novel defense: With that stubby ring finger, how could he possibly be a wild and crazy type who'd risk his entire company on bad mortgage-bond bets?