Archive - Feb 24, 2009

Rule One: Don't Give Money To Assholes

« February 2009 »

Memo to Big Finance: YOU ARE DUMB.

Before we begin, let's recap the official You Are Dumb Dot Net analysis of the financial sector crisis that is currently wrecking everything we hold dear. A bunch of ratfuckers convinced a bunch of their ratfucking Republican friends to loosen the rules on what "money" was and how they could make it. These people then spent the better part of the last fifteen years inventing wealth.

They did this by selling the same pieces of paper back and forth to each other, making a profit each time, until trillions and trillions of dollars of fake money got mixed in with all the real money. Then the people who actually had real money stopped sending it in to pay for their houses. Since then, the entire financial crisis has consisted of the people with fake money trying to turn it into real money so that they don't end up with no money. Most of the real money is coming from the government.

The real question for the common people, the people whose real tax money is going to reimburse all this fake money, is which of these ratfuckers actually need the money to keep civilization from completely collapsing, and which of them are parasitic, money-sucking barnacles who should be cut loose and forced to work for a living, preferably in some poop-to-fuel processing plant. Which is why it behooves members of the banking community, especially those for whom all this fake money is the only thing standing between themselves and insolvency, to not be assholes right now.

But asshole don't shake off easy. Which is why you end up with Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, two recently-merged companies whose continued day-to-day existence depends entirely on government funds and the lingering hope that nobody will look too closely at their books, handed out generous cash "retention awards" to their financial analysts, and based it on their 2008 performance. You remember 2008. That was when financial analysts were telling us things were fine and that all the fake money was still there. Wary of appearances, the companies made sure to instruct their employees not to refer to the large piles of cash they'd just been handed in excess of their regular salaries as a "bonus". ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"There will be a retention award. Please do not call it a bonus. It is not a bonus. It is an award. And it recognizes the importance of keeping our team in place as we go through this integration.. You should be clapping because frankly that is a very generous and thoughtful decision that we have made. We spent a lot of time kicking this around. We could easily have done it from the point of closing, which is obviously going to be somewhere in the latter half of this year or around the middle of the year. But we just decided... that it was right thing to do, to give you that certainty that it would be based off '08. '09 is a very difficult year... So that degree of anxiety, which many, many of you have emailed me about... is now off the table." - James Gorman, co-president of Morgan Stanley.

See, this is what I mean about not acting like assholes. It's a lot like Blackwater renaming itself "Xe" - taking a name tainted by cost overruns, massive fraud, and mercenary atrocities and hoping nobody will notice because they're too busy figuring out what the fuck "Xe" is. But Gorman didn't go far enough. People know what "retention awards" are, and his whole "not a bonus" schtick is fooling nobody. He should have called them something else, like "performance-backed securities", so that nobody would understand them.

Also, what is this "degree of anxiety" bullshit? I don't know how much a financial analyst for Morgan Stanley makes, but I'm guessing it's well above what we liberals like to call a living wage. If you're making financial analyst money for doing what has proven to be, on an epic scale, a mind-bogglingly shitty job of financial analysis, and your "degree of anxiety" is over whether or not your bosses are going to hand you a wad of cash at the end of the year? YOU'RE AN ASSHOLE. Your bullshit has spent the last five months rolling downhill at avalanche speeds, so maybe you shouldn't be killing and eating the St. Bernards and getting pissed off their neck-barrels.

I'm not against government bailouts of the financial system. As a white-collar* middle-class dude, my continued livelihood is pretty fucking dependent on a functioning society, so if the government is able to keep society going, I'm happy to let it. But there's a difference between "keeping society going" and "keeping society going in the manner to which assholes have become accustomed", so maybe you should skip the wads of cash, live off your salaries, and thank whatever god or gods you worship that you're still drawing a paycheck. You know, like the rest of us. Well, some of the rest of us.

*Only in the metaphorical sense, thanks to lax dress codes.