Once again we are approaching the annual bail-out season, that time of year when our bankers return to beg our governments for money.
Every year, it is the same institutions that come begging — Goldman Sachs, Citicorp, Bank of America. More interestingly it is the same people.
I wonder, how does someone who just lost $20 billion keep his job or better yet, having bankrupted his previous employers how does he get a new job? In any other industry, if an employee lost $2,000 he would not only be fired, he would be totally and forever unemployable. Clearly the world of finance is different.
Consider this case study:
J. Piper Flounce, having just bankrupted his previous employers is now applying for a new position at another bank. Imagine the interview with Chester Walnut Executive Vice President for Procurement
Walnut: Mr. Flounce, I see from your curriculum vitae, that your were previously with Blender & Mix where you were responsible for that unfortunate situation of the $20 billion loss. Could you please tell me something about the events.
Flounce: Let me say at once the fault was not mine. The blame lies entirely with Gus, the floor sweeper. I remember the day quite clearly because it was my grandmother’s 80th birthday. I was about to order two dozen roses for my grandmother, using my cell phone, when Gus joggled my elbow and as a result instead of pushing the button to buy two dozen roses, I pushed the adjacent button, to buy $20 billion of toxic waste bonds. Boy was I embarrassed. However, I can assure I took immediate steps to ensure this could never happen again. I fired Gus on the spot!
Walnut: It must have been very upsetting for this to have occurred on the very day of your grandmother’s 80th birthday.
Flounce: I can tell you my grandmother was very upset, when she thought I had forgotten her birthday. Of course my grandmother was even more upset when two weeks later we repossessed her home.
Walnut: Yes. I can understand she would be upset. Can you explain the circumstances leading up to the repossession?
Flounce: As you can understand, since Gus would do little to minimize the $20 billion loss for which he was clearly responsible, I considered it my duty to immediately pitch-in to aid my stricken employers. I therefore took all the funds for my most important clients who had given me discretionary powers, and used every penny to buy the toxic waste bonds. In the efforts to minimize the loss, I not only sacrificed my grandmother’s life savings, but also an additional $250,000 which I borrowed in her name using her home as collateral.
Walnut: Most impressive Mr. Flounce. It is very unusual for young people to act calmly in the face of serious and unforeseen disaster. I particularly appreciate your loyalty, putting your employer’s interests above those of your family.
Flounce: Thank you sir. Let me say that my former grandmother’s house has proven to be a real asset. We closed the sale yesterday for a tidy profit. My motto has always been, Family is your most important asset, because when times are truly hard and there is no one else to steal from.
Walnut: Excellent. Most excellent. On behalf of Too-Big-To-Fail Corp, we would like offer you a position.
Flounce: Not so fast. I think we first have to discuss my signing bonus. After all you do not find a person of my proven capabilities walking around unemployed.
Walnut: Flounce you are our type of person. Welcome aboard.
NB: Do not confuse the bail-out season with the upcoming stay-out-of-our-business-season, that time of year when our bankers demand that our government given them total freedom from all regulations.