Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Criminal Makes a Plea from Jail

To whom it may concern in the justice system:

I am presently incarcerated in a maximum security prison. The crime I was imprisoned for was securities fraud. While doing my hard time in jail, I have been reading the financial news and this makes me very unhappy and upset. I now believe I was falsely convicted as today’s justice system appears to me to be more forgiving of marketplace indiscretions.

I have been reading that some respected financial firms were promoting dubious financial securities as a great investment while at the same time selling themselves out of these investments they were promoting. Could this be called “misrepresentation” in legal parlance as “misrepresentation” is the word used to describe securities fraud? I also read that these respected firms sold these questionable securities to pension funds, mutual funds, state governments and everybody and anybody they could suck in. They even charged large fees for moving, pushing and recommending this financial toilet paper. Some of these blue chip firms were even given taxpayers' monies in something called stimulus packages, as some of them claimed they needed this money to continue in business (and that if they did not get it the financial system would fail and everybody would be in the dumpster). This makes me wonder if this was a form of financial blackmail.

Quite frankly, I never thought I would see the day, when what used to be considered outright thieving and fraud would become legitimized. I certainly feel I am missing out in the opportunities now available in the free market system and the access to unlimited supplies of taxpayers’ dollars. I do not believe it is fair that I am presently imprisoned while others like me are running free and some are advising governments how to save the financial system after selling it short.

I feel that I should be out there in the financial world working within the free market system and using my talents to buy and sell and make an honest dollar, and perhaps even help the country get out of recession. I can move securities with the best of them and I believe my expertise is being wasted here in jail. I know how the system works out there and I sincerely believe I can be of help. I believe the country needs me and I would be willing to take only a small fee for helping sell these rotten securities that are still available to whatever suckers I can find. I am sure I would be welcomed back with open arms by my colleagues who have never yet been in jail and who are always looking for new ideas and new ways to profit from these types of products in the financial market.

In closing, I ask that you consider my offer of help and perhaps free me immediately. Times are changing and we must change with the times. What was a crime yesterday does not appear to be a crime today. Hoping you will consider my plea and let me loose once again into the financial system, home once more amongst friends in the financial world and working at what I do best.

Unfairly Convicted Criminal Number 999.

Satire by Stephen J. Gray
January 16, 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fictional Correspondence between a Bailed out Banker and an American Taxpayer

The American Taxpayer: “Dear sir, I would like to apply for a loan of $10,000 from your bank to tide me over. Can you help?”

The Bailed out Banker: “Dear taxpayer, what is your financial situation at this time? Do you have a job? Own a house, or a car, or any other securities?”

The American Taxpayer: “I lost my job when my firm went bankrupt after buying lousy securities from your bank. I lost my house after I lost my job. My house has since been repossessed by your bank. I also lost my car which was also repossessed by your bank. I am now on welfare.”

The Bailed out Banker: “I am very sorry to hear about your misfortune, but, in our business we only lend to good credit risks.”

The American Taxpayer: “Pardon me if I sound upset, but your bank was bailed out by billions of taxpayers dollars, some of them were mine and now you have the cheek to preach to me about ‘good credit risks.’ Do you know the meaning of hypocrisy?”

The Bailed out Banker: “Please do not get sarcastic with me. We are a reputable banking firm, who do not, I repeat, do not, lend money to welfare cases. We believe in free enterprise, getting government out of the marketplace, and honesty in the financial system. I suggest you start looking for a job and repay your welfare money.”

The American Taxpayer: “I have had it with you guys. You are the biggest welfare bums in society today. You were bailed out with taxpayer dollars which in my mind constitutes corporate welfare. You even gave yourselves bonuses courtesy of the taxpayer, after being bailed out. Now you have the gall to tell me to get a job. It is taxpayer money, some of it mine, that is keeping you in a job!”

The Bailed out Banker: “Please do not write me anymore. I am ending this correspondence after this reply to you. This bank did not get a bailout it got a stimulus package to enable it to keep the financial system stable. We will continue to operate on free market principles and let the marketplace decide. There will always be winners and losers in the free market financial system, and I remind you once again, we don’t lend to, or bail out losers.”

Stephen J. Gray
January 11, 2010.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Financial Tale

Once upon a time in the land of free markets, there was a street called Wall Street. This was the street where all the free marketers came out to play.
Playing, buying and selling in the market were many reputable and respectable financial firms and bankers. A number of these bankers and blue chip firms were engaged in selling debt packaged as assets. They had nice and impressive names for this debt. Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs), Collaterized Debt Obligations (CDOs), and Asset Backed Commercial Paper (ABCPs).

This debt described as assets was given Triple A ratings by some of the respected rating agencies. These debt ridden assets were sold to other financial institutions, banks, pension funds, mutual funds, state governments and everybody and anybody who was gullible enough to believe these debts were really assets. The financial system pigged out on this useless paper and charged big fees for buying and selling it.

Some big reputable and respected financial firms were advising people to buy this useless paper, while they themselves were selling themselves out of it. Could this be called criminal fraud? Of course not; after all, these were the crème de la crème of Wall St. and Wall St. is the pillar of our free market society. So the people are in good financial hands.

In fact, some of these “clean” financial hands even run a government, so they are in great positions to advise and help with the massive bailouts; pardon me, I mean stimulus packages of taxpayers’ dollars to save the free market system from collapse after the massive fraud—oops, I mean massive mistakes selling useless paper disguised as assets. There were some cynical critics who complained that this was wrong to be bailing out those who had corrupted the financial system. But, this type of criticism was uncalled for. After all, one banker did say that they were doing “God’s work,” and surely there is no higher recommendation than that.

Anyway, we are now told that the financial system has now stabilized. Trillions or billions of taxpayers’ dollars were the antidote needed to save the free market. The bailed out bankers are receiving huge bonuses. The government is being advised and helped by those who corrupted, pardon me, I mean used the financial system to peddle debt. Profits made by some were sent safely offshore to tax-free havens; after all, you don’t expect smart financiers to use their own country’s banks, these are just for the ordinary people who pay the bankers’ bills.

Picking up the bills for all this financial chicanery will be the taxpaying public in the land of the free. After all, the free markets must remain free and the perpetrators of what some are calling financial fraud are still running the system, because where would we be without them?

Stephen J. Gray
January 3, 2010.