543 More Bank For Your Buck
Would you lend money to Bank of America? What a silly question. But apparently BOA and some of its bloated siblings will be passing the hat at the command of the Cash Commissars. So someone will come up with the bucks, because said commissars won't let the top 19 banks fail.
In school, we called this a "social promotion." That means you flunk 11th grade but get promoted to senior because it might hurt your self esteem if the hold you back and make you do the junior year again. Education? No worries. All you need's the diploma. And you're too esteemed to fail.
Same story with the banks. Too big to fail? Nah. You get a social promotion even if you can't come up with the cash. The money will come from the rest of us so we'll be carrying the tottering financial giants just as we carry the socially promoted through life.
Cousin Jimmy runs a place called Cousin Jimmy's Kitchen Korner, where he sells breakfast and lunch. Business has been pretty good lately and Jimmy's a little flush. Right now, he's on his way to North Carolina now. He's going to the Bank of America's headquarters. He is carrying a loan agreement with him. He plans to have them fill it out and then he'll decide whether to lend them ten or twenty thou or so.
Jim's pals don't think it's a good idea. But Jimmy says if they default on the loan, he'll just take payment in stock. "They can print that anytime they want, and in any amount. I'm no fool," he says. "More bank for my buck," he says. "Or maybe I'll just package the loan and sell it to another bank."
Wait. Isn't that kind of how we got where we are today?
Jimmy figures he's such small potatoes that he can work this under the radar and off the books.
Jimmy's solid with that Kitchen Korner thing. But he's not been too good at securing short term loans for stuff like payrolls and hard rolls, coffee and flatware. So maybe he should put some of that flushness in the mattress for awhile. After all, he may be ready to lend the bank money, but the bank's not ready to lend it to him.
--There's a nearby pothole that just won't go away. It's been filled three or four times since the middle of winter, but just keeps stubbornly reappearing. They'll fix it for good only after the mayor either trips over it or breaks an axle on his bulletproof SUV riding over it.
--There's a relatively recent trend in books, describing familiar events through eyes we're unused to. Example: the westward expansion as seen by the Navajo. How about the Swine Flu as seen by a pig?
--Here's to former Bloomberg colleague Betsy Perry, who got into trouble for writing something inappropriate about Mexico and then "resigned" from a New York City Mayoral panel. Betz, here's what you do when you put your foot in your mouth. You leave it there so a repeat performance is impossible.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®