Monday, September 22, 2008

A crook of Wall street.

Do you remember that famous tongue in cheek statement made by every mobster in every mob film that ever came out of HollyWood? Just at the End when they had been arrested, after ninty minutes of watching them murder, maim and maraud you could hear them say to the arresting officers:

"Why dont you go down to Wall Street and arrest some real Crooks"

and of course you'd laugh at their ironical brazenness. The very idea that these street thugs who had no respect for law and order could call in to question people who worked hard and within the confines of the law, was laughable.

But , as we all know, Hollywood is there to educate as well as to entertain. Film makers dont just want to keep you amused for 90 minutes, they want to convey a message. They are as you are well aware, Artists. The Guardian Film reviewers who studied english at Oxford, will talk about juxtapoistion, and correlations and even subtle ironies. But of course what we learned this week is this:

"Wall street is full of crooks"

I think what the film makers were trying to say when Their cheeky mobster tells the cops to go arrest some real criminals down Wall Street was:

"Wall Street is full of Crooks"

Older viewers may have gotten this already, but some of the younger ones like myself, had to experience the recent accounting scandals, and more recently the fraud carried out by the big banks in America, before we realised these mobsters were not being ironic.

I say fraud, because that is exactly what has been carried out by the likes of Lehman Brothers. But I just cant decide who they were defrauding:

  • Was it the Ninja (no income no job or assets) customers who they sold mortgages to on properties in some cases worth less than the mortgage?
  • Was it the US government, who you would presume by definition were ensuring they were carrying on business responsibly?
  • Was it their employess who worked long hours, and were loyal to a company who spat them out like sour grapes. (I'm not talking about the high ranking decision makers here)
  • Was it themselves (I am talking about the high ranking decision makers here)

The important question now is, Who will pay for this awful mess? This mess which was created by a criminal enterprise. I am not getting all conspiricy theorist here, or going lefty nuts. This was a crime carried out by criminals. It was a fraud. It is illegal to loan money to somebody who cannot pay it back. They did this on a huge scale. They made huge short term profits on the back of the sale of all these "Products". They ( the high ranking decision makers at Lehman) paid themselves exorberant bonuses and got very rich, on paper at least. What happened next and how the bank came to collapse, none of the egg-head economists in the papers or on tv can explain. They will talk of how these "Products" were repackaged and sold on the "International Markets" as securities or some other Bollocks. But what I dont understand is, if they were sold on to somebody else, then Hows come theys gone bust?

I am beginning to think that people who I took to be experts, are just about as expert as me, and dont really know what the fuck happened this bank? But the long and short of it was, that they lent money to poor people so it bolstered their loan book, and their share price rose as did the many bonuses of the the top brass. But when the poor people couldnt make the payments, and this was the case it seems in an awful lot of cases, it all went to Fuck, as Shakespear might have said.

So back to the question. Who will pay? Well who is already paying? Yes you guessed it, Joe Public. The US goverment is rowing in with 700 billion dollars to stop the US financial sytem collapsing. (it doesnt matter that I dont understand what the 700 billion is for, i'll just make a sweeping statement, and as I am now an economics commentator you'll take my word for it)
The British government had to bail out Northern Rock, and now even Biffo and the boys are increasing their deposit guarantee from 20k to 100k. We dont want a run now do we??
And who will pay for all of this shit in the from of taxes, higher interst rates etc. etc. (I told you I'm a commentator now) Yes, you and me. Joe and Josephine.

This has gone on far too long - this post I mean, so I will sum up. If I go and defraud a little old lady out of eighty grand by selling her a dodgy financial package and get caught, I can go to jail.
And quite rightly. So why not this guerilla of Wall street Fellow. Why is he not being hunted down like Al capone. Is there really 2 sets of rules for 2 sets of people?

It turns out The mobsters were right, Wall street is where real crooks are, but just another strain, no better or no worse.


Manuel said...

huzzah! great post. It's true we will pay for the greed of wall street/the city.......and all under the guise of the"greater good"......bullshit!

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