I don’t have an advanced degree in economics, I don’t work in the world of high finance, nor am I an astute investor who converses fluently about tax-frees vs. muni bonds. For all I know, they’re the same thing. But… I think I have a pretty good handle on the economic disaster that we are being asked to understand because there is a simple explanation. Doesn’t even require one of those good- old- boys special commissions to investigate the matter and conclude that this crisis was totally avoidable. Here is what happened.
Pretend that your son, George, borrowed your very expensive car without permission. Just took it, put 700 billion miles on it over eight years, had the absolute best time living it up, then realized that he was headed for a very steep cliff. Seconds before the car drove over the edge, he opened the door and bailed. Fell right out on his face, but, hey at least he survived. And so sure is he that you’ll be grateful that he didn’t die in the car, he goes home and asks for, no demands, right then and there, for you to give him a check so he can replace the car and get right back on the road.
Oh, and George threatens that if you dare ask a single question about the sanity of his decision, he will tell the whole world that you failed him. Furthermore, if you think you’re going to get an apology for his role in this mess, you must be joking. He knows you know what he was doing the whole time and you never put your foot down, you just looked the other way. Why should he say he’s sorry? He’s had the best time ever!!! Now hurry and write that check.
If you’re still unsure that this was what happened to Wall Street and our banking industry, see if you think is a more reasonable explanation.
Your sons George and Dick have a gambling problem. Actually, more of an addiction, but you are loathe to talk about it because, well, you’ve got your own problems and as long as they don’t hurt anyone, hopefully they’ll outgrow this immature phase and wise up. Unfortunately, one day you learn just how big a problem your sons have because they bet the house. YOUR HOUSE. Yep, sold it right out from under you so that they could continue to roll the dice at their favorite casino, the U.S. Congress.
Furthermore, they want you to bail them out today, no questions asked, because they know, and you have to believe them… if they can just get right back to the tables, it will eventually be their lucky night and they promise to pay you back. You just have to understand that they can’t tell you how much they’ll win back or when.
And one more thing. It’s possible that the $700 billion they need might only be a down payment because well, there were two other casinos called Iraq and Afghanistan, where they lost upwards of $10 billion a month, and um, they will need some help paying for that as well.
As if this isn’t bad enough, they are secretly working out a plan where as soon as you give him the money to pay back these unfathomable debts, they’re going to head right back to the tables so they can play for even higher stakes because that’s what gambling addicts do. They make sure that no matter what, they stay with the action.
Got it? That’s what happened. Class dismissed. Anyone know where to find the principal’s office? No one is ever going to believe this story.