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This economy has gone zero days without a financial accident

March 9, 2010

Since so much of what I do during the week revolves around financial reform, I thought it might be appropriate that I write about it here.

I can appreciate, however, that financial reform is not the most compelling subject in the world, so I’ve been trying to think of an metaphor to make the topic more interesting to the uninformed reader, i.e. my audience (sorry…two paragraphs in and I’m already insulting you).

The general background is that Wall Street got too smart for its own damn good, it played with complicated financial assets, convinced people they could get something for nothing by investing in them, and then, well, by god all those people DID get something.

They got broke.

This is what I call the “non-biased background,” of course, and it’s already pretty boring. But today, I finally came up with a metaphor that’s *hopefully* not offensive to the bankers, and it *hopefully* won’t sway your opinion one way or another (do we ever expect to change anyone’s opinion?).

Anyways:

Let’s say that the Wall Street hot-shots and the bankers are, collectively, a five-year old boy.

Let’s say the five-year old boy was treated like an adult, and his parents left the cookie jar on the counter because they trusted their son. And why not? They raised him well, he was good to others, made sure all his friends in kindergarten were making sound investments with regards to the building blocks. His parents knew he snuck a cookie now and then, but you know what? He studied hard in school, he really made some nice towers out of those blocks, he deserves an extra cookie once in a while.

But then one cookie becomes a few cookies, and one day, when he’s stretching on his tip-toes for the jar, it comes crashing down.

Cookies everywhere. Mommy (the Democrats) yells at him, sends him to time-out, and from then on it’s a cookie-free house.

Do you think she’s being too harsh? Remember – her son just broke a trillion-dollar cookie jar.

Well don’t worry, that part didn’t really happen.

What is happening is that the child is still sneaking cookies because his parents haven’t really decided what to do yet. His mom wants the new cookie jar put on the high shelf, and his father (the Republicans) says that boys will be boys – he’s learned his lesson already.

The mom, however, holds more of the power in the relationship – she can withhold certain benefits from her husband.

By that, I mean the mom can essentially stop Congress from accomplishing anything at all.

Why…what were you thinking?

Anyways, they start installing a high shelf to put the cookie jar on. The child pouts at mommy and whines and screams and pounds his fists on the floor and switches his funding dollars to Daddy.

I sense the metaphor breaking down right about now, meaning that we’re at the part where I’m expected to come out and say my opinion, right?

The child complains that financial regulation will hamper the markets. Well, news flash says mom – the child does a pretty good job of hampering his own damn markets. The dad argues that too much regulation will prevent legitimate risk-reduction techniques, and the mom asks the dad just how effective those ‘techniques’ are (…that’s what she said). Dad scoffs and says mom doesn’t know what she’s talking about, mom throws the roast across the kitchen and tears off her apron,

“You never say you love me anymore!” mom wails.

“That’s because I don’t!” dad says.

Oh boy, I’m losing focus here. Ultimately, it’s pretty simple – when cookie jars stop crashing down from countertops across the world, no one will be talking about financial regulation anymore. The end.

It just kills me that as the economy begins its recovery, I can already feel everyone’s eyes on the cookies, as if nothing had happened.

I shouldn’t have written this while hungry.

-ben

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One Comment leave one →
  1. wichid permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:14 pm

    This is a riot!!!

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