Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Libertarian, contrarian Bill Bonner, no friend of the left, writes today like a leftist about the Wall Street gang:

Depressions seem to bring out the dirty, rotten scoundrels. Richard Fuld - formerly head of Lehman Bros. - was in Paris this week. A friend reports seeing him at a wedding reception held at the exclusive Automobile Club on the Place de la Concorde. We didn't ask questions. But we're happy to see Mr. Fuld still has the joie de vivre to go out...socialize...and have a good time.

Some guys would have been laid low by his experience; they would cower in a bolthole somewhere...unable to show their faces in public...embarrassed and ashamed. After all, Fuld sank one of the world's great financial institutions...and brought billions worth of losses to millions of people. If he were Japanese, for example, he would have at stepped in front of a bullet train or removed his own intestines. But dirty rotten scoundrels just go to fancy weddings.

Of course, we have no particular reason to single out poor Dick Fuld. The scoundrels are so thick on the ground, you can scarcely jump out of a window on Wall Street these days without falling on one of them.

Forbes says the entire U.S. financial industry is "effectively insolvent," thanks to their errors and omissions. But now that everyone is pointing his finger at capitalists...we take their part. We're suckers for lost causes and underdogs. Yes, they are dirty rotten scoundrels...but the people who now pretend to save us from them are even dirtier and rottener.

At least Dick Fuld got rich honestly - by misleading investors. Even Bernie Madoff made his money, too, the old-fashioned way - like a gigolo - by defrauding investors, one at a time.

But now the whole thing has been turned over to the big boys. Now we're getting theft and fraud on a much bigger scale. Trillions of dollars are being given out by politicians and functionaries. AIG, for example, has been described as 'where taxpayers' money goes to die.' But it doesn't die in AIG - it goes to pay off debts to the biggest boys left in the room - Merrill and Goldman Sachs. 'In the room, in the deal,' they say on Wall Street. Goldman was actually in the room with Tim Geithner and the feds - the only investment bank present - when the decision was made to 'rescue' AIG. Goldman may not have mentioned it at the time, but AIG owed Goldman billions of dollars. Now, the taxpayers bailout AIG so that Goldman can get its money.

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