Monday, October 06, 2008

The Intolerable Suffering of the Investment Bankers

When the financial melt-down bail-out was first proposed, I marveled at how the paper losses of a handful of bankers could be judged more worthy of intervention than the one-million plus families who have lost their homes in the mortgage crisis over the past year.

Much has been written about socialism for the rich, fascism, moral hazard, and other hazards of this, which I won't re-hash here, since the proposed massive bailout seems to have now become law, well-lubricated with pork fat the second time. Does anybody hear a squealing sound?

I had thought of how difficult it would be for George Bush to persuade people to give him 700 billion dollars, and two songs by the Who came to mind. Initially, We Won't Be Fooled Again, and later, Behind Blue Eyes. This song in its original form seems to reflect the great pain of the bankers. After all, doesn't one banker losing a million properties feel a million times the pain of a family who only loses one? I'm not really sure that the banking class is literally entirely blue-eyed, but let's just say they figuratively are. This song dedication goes out to the clueless Henry Paulson, who will represent the banking class. I don't have a radio station or even a YouTube video or slideshow for this, I'm just suggesting a soundtrack as a concept. Some annotations to the lyrics have been provided for the illumination of the metacognitively challenged.

Behind Blue Eyes
(Pete Townsend, 1971)

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man (who wrecked the economy)
To be the sad man (who is financially washed-up)
Behind blue eyes (WASP or honorary one)

No one knows what it's like
To be hated (you got that right)
To be fated
To telling only lies (financial statements, declarations, depositions, testimony)

But my dreams (greedy ones)
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be (not to mention my accounts)

I have hours, only lonely (everyone has dumped my stock)
My love is vengeance (the homeless families)
That's never free

No one knows what it's like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you (not my fault)

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through (investors may lose confidence, must keep up appearances)

But my dreams
They aren't as empty
As my conscience seems to be

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free

When my fist clenches, crack it open (force me to make loans)
Before I use it and lose my cool (overheated economy)
When I smile, tell me some bad news (market correction)
Before I laugh and act like a fool (deliver me from irrational exuberance)

If I swallow anything evil (excessive risk)
Put your finger down my throat (relieve me of my debts)
If I shiver, please give me a blanket (to stop my financial shivers)
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat (make the taxpayers bail me out!)

No one knows what it's like
To be the bad man
To be the sad man
Behind blue eyes

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