Cut Down to Size

I don’t know who wrote this originally, but the spirit and the attitude are quite likable. And it makes sense to impose such terms in any Wall Street bailout deal. Thanks to HE reader Brendan for passing this along:
“Dear Wall Street,
“I’m speaking on behalf of a group called The Taxpayers of the United States. Now that we’ve rejected the first bailout plan, I’m sure that in the spirit of tough, free market capitalism and spirited negotiations, you’ll consider our second offer. Here are some terms that we trust you’ll find reasonable:
“(1) We are willing to loan you money at a very low, introductory rate of 8.9%. If you are even one nanosecond late on your payment, your rate will go from 8.9% to 32.9% — instantly. You will have no right to appeal this. The interest rate increase will be retroactive. And none of this ‘but I mailed it out Friday’ stuff. We must get it, and the check must clear, for your payment to count. Reminder: transactions that occur after 2pm are not credited until the next business day, so be sure to make your payments before then.
“(2) If you are late on any of your other payments to your other creditors, your rate will also be spiked to 32.9%. I know it has nothing to do with us, but if you are late paying someone else, then obviously you are a bigger credit risk to us.
“(3) We will send you onerous terms and conditions in 6 point font. Of course, those terms can change on a whim, at any time, so we’ll be sending you hourly updates to the contract, which we expect you to read and keep up with. Sorry — we will be the only ones that can amend the contract; you cannot.
“(4) You will have a predetermined credit line, and if you go over it by even $1, your interest rate will spike to 54.9%. Sorry, it’s in the contract on page 109,209,392.
“(5) The bankruptcy laws have now changed. If you get into a bind, I’m afraid you won’t find much sympathy. No more silly excuses will be accepted. We are going to have the titles to all of your buildings and physical assets put in our name, so when the inevitable time comes and you trip up, we’ll simply take everything from you. There will be no court hearing.
“(6) We’ll be conducting a background check, driving records check, drug test, and disease risk check of all of the top executives of your firm. After all, you’re a riskier loan if you have any of those afflictions, aren’t you? Well, if we find anything wrong, your interest rate will skyrocket, and without notice.
“(7) If your business is located in a bad neighborhood, a poor city, a hurricane zone or terrorist targeted city, as defined by us, we can raise your interest rates at any time, to any rate we choose.
“For the last quarter century or so, you’ve imposed these terms, or some variation of them, upon us when loaning us money or insuring us, arguing every single time that it’s ‘necessary’ and that these sorts of changes ‘will result in more profitable companies that will pass the savings along to consumers.’ Well, now that we’re in the role of lender, and you’re in the role of borrower, we’re sure that you’ll find these same terms fair.
“Wall Street, prove the cynics wrong and accept our new plan. Prove to everyone that you’re not the hypocrites that everyone thinks you are.
“Regards,
“Wallace Mangold, Attorney-at-Law, representing the Taxpayers of the U.S.A.”

9 thoughts on “Cut Down to Size

  1. Jean on said:

    Love it. No other words necessary… I just love it.

  2. that’s funny.
    but regardless of whether a bailout (or rescue plan or insert your euphemism here) would work, the problem is that no taxpayer will be able to punish wall street for what has happened.
    it’s a great populist soundbite to rail against “bailouts for wall street.” but you know what? wall street made its money long ago. those guys are in the hamptons. they have their nut.
    the problem now is that a frozen credit market — which is what we have — ruins the entire economy. and there is no easy way to unfreeze it. without liquidity moving through the markets, banks tighten lending, businesses can’t meet payrolls, people lose jobs, the housing market continues to deteriorate, banks fail, and the center cannot hold.
    i think of that scene in “the limey” when terence stamp stands on the impossibly cantilevered deck of a mansion in the hollywood hills and asks luiz guzman what they are standing on.
    “trust,” he replies.
    now maybe we come out of this maelstrom stronger than before. and maybe there’s a better way to structure the bailout than what was presented to congress this week.
    but let’s not kid ourselves. this crisis may have originated on wall street, but we’re long past that.

  3. Put in a binding arbitration agreement presided over by a panel of other pissed off taxpayers and you would have just about the perfect contract.

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