TARP for Dummies
Mr. Financial Industry: Say there Mrs. Congress, you sure are lookin’ nine kinds of fine on this bright October day! Can I have some money?
Mrs. Congress: Why thank you! Autumn is my season! I suppose I could come off a few bucks for old time’s sake – but I have to check with Mr. Government to make sure it’s ok.
Mr. Financial Industry: Oh certainly! He’s a wonderful leader who has always put our needs first.
Mrs. Congress: Hi George! Mr. Financial Industry was wondering if he could have some money and, since I know you and the banks are total bffs to the end I figured it was ok .. ok?
Mr. Government: Money? For the banks? SAY NO MORE!! Is $700 billion enough?!?
Mrs. Congress: I think — for now — it should be enough. Do you want me to have Mr. Financial Industry sign for it or anything?
Mr. Government: Oh no! He and I go way back! NO STRINGS ATTACHED!
Mrs. Congress: Oh George, that’s wonderful! Mr. Financial Industry will be so happy! But, umm, where is the money coming from?
Mr. Government: From Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer, but don’t worry about your pretty little head over that insiginificant little detail.
Mrs. Congress: No worries then! I’ll give Mr. Financial Industry his big, fat, no-strings-attached check when we meet for dinner and drinks tonight.
Mr. Government: Sounds great! Make sure to tell him I might be a little late for our golf game on Saturday, ok?
Mrs. Congress: You got it, George!
… a distinctive chill slices through the air as the holidays close in. No one can afford to buy gifts or food or heat, since roughly 850,000 jobs have been eliminated in the two months since Mrs. Congress and Mr. Government gave Mr. Financial Industry his early Christmas bonus …
Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer sit at their kitchen table, poring over bills and scratching their heads in wonderment at just how the 6% rate on their bank-financed credit card could have possibly ballooned to 28% seemingly overnight.
Mr. Taxpayer: I don’t understand! We’ve never paid that card late once in 12 years! Something must be wrong. Don’t worry honey, I’ll call the bank and find out what happened.
Mr. Taxpayer: Hello? Mr. Bank? Hi, this is Mr. Taxpayer. I noticed that the rate on my credit card went from low-interest to mega-ultra-shockingly-high interest sometime between 10:30 and 10:31 this morning. We’ve never been late on a payment – can you tell me what happened?
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: I’m sorry, Mr. Taxpayer, but Mr. Bank is on vacation this week. Can I help you?
Mr. Taxpayer: Yes, thank you. I was saying that I wanted to find out why my interest rate basically tripled in the last nanosecond … ooooh – there it goes again!
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: Oh that. Yes sir. That’s a new corporate ‘rate recovery’ policy that we’ve just instituted at random but across the board to select and preferred and targeted, umm, clientelle? Yes. Umm hmm.
Mr. Taxpayer: Wait. Fee what?
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: Fee Ree-cuh-ver-eee Proh-graaam. It’s designed to help offset Mr. Bank’s tremendous losses in this time of economic recession. I’m sure you understand.
Mr. Taxpayer: Not exactly. I mean, I just read in the newspaper that Mr. Bank just got a big check from Mr. Government — using my money. What did Mr. Bank do with my money?
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: I’m really not at liberty to say, Mr. Taxpayer. You have the ‘basic’ account with us. That information is available only to our ‘premium’ clients.
Mr. Taxpayer: Ok. How do I become a ‘premium’ client?
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: Are you a lobbyist?
Mr. Taxpayer: No, ma’am. I’m a sheet metal fabricator
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: *laughs softly* Ok, I see. Well, then I’m afraid – no. You do not qualify for ‘premium’ status.
Mr. Taxpayer: Then how can I find out what Mr. Bank did with my money?
Mr. Bank’s Assistant: You could try calling his boss, Mr. Financial Industry, but I believe his office just instituted a comprehensive ‘rate recovery information abstinence’ program. Would you still like his number?
Mr. Taxpayer: Umm, yes, I guess …
Mr. Taxpayer hangs up the phone and turns to Mrs. Taxpayer with a look of determination, fear, dread and anger … he dials …
Mr. Taxpayer: Hello! Mr. Financial Industry?
Mr. Financial Industry: This is he.
Mr. Taxpayer: Hi, this is Mr. Taxpayer. I was calling to find out if you could please tell me what Mr. Bank did with the money you gave him?
Mr. Financial Industry: I really wouldn’t know. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a golf ga …
Mr. Taxpayer: NO! WAIT!!! Can you at least tell me then what you did with the money Mrs. Congress and Mr. Government gave you? That was my money too!
Mr. Financial Industry: Oh really … your money …
Mr. Taxpayer: Yes! That was MY money! What did you do with it?!?
Mr. Financial Industry: FUCK YOU, that’s what I did with it!
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