EYKIW: TOO BIG TO FAIL
Tue, 12 Jul 2011 16:12:25
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An ode honoring the rascals, lowlifes, toadies and thieves who have brought us to the brink.
TOO BIG TO FAIL
Listen up people to the terrible tale
Of a financial system that's too big to fail.
It began in the 80's when Reagan was king,
And the Me Generation was doing their thing.
Along comes Mike Milken, and now the plot thickens,
On his radar are companies ripe for the pickins.
"Said Mike, "I've a plan that I'm ready to try out;
We'll take what we want with a leveraged buyout.
I'll get you the cash with these junk bonds I've minted,
They're not worth the paper it takes to get printed."
Assets are plundered, and factories shut.
People get pink slips and the redwoods get cut.
Milken and Bosky make millions with ease,
Til the Feds send in teams to uncover their sleaze.
They’re fined and convicted and sent off to jail;
And that's just Chapter One of this terrible tale.
Now enter Enron, and genial Ken Lay
They're out trading natural gas every day.
Then bandwidth and power, now water and steel
Their stock soars to ninety, it hardly seems real.
This darling of Wall Street's not as good as it looks;
Cause Fastow and Skilling are cooking the books.
Hiding their losses in bogus accounts,
Skimming off funds, while the jeopardy mounts.
Meanwhile, their West Coast contingent-just kids
Are gaming the prices by jamming the grids.
Browning out cities, shutting down schools.
But who said that Enron's must play by the rules.
And when they go down, tell me who really pays.
It's Enron's employees, and their 401k's.
Now, enter the nineties, In Dot Com We Trust,
Til the bits byte the bubble, and the whole thing goes bust.
But digital trading is what The Street wants,
So boot the computers and welcome the Quants.
Their formulas click, and they're stuffing their vaults,
Then the Ruskies get squeezed, and the Big Bear defaults.
Billions are lost, but investors agree,
The leveraged hedge funds are their cup of tea.
Each had their bevy of stock trading widgets,
That bring in returns in the high double digits.
They tell their investors, that no market crash,
Can endanger their system and drain all the cash.
Then, the big boys join in, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch
They’re certain that making big bucks is a cinch.
"We're tired selling T-Bills, safe munis and stocks.
We want something exotic that cleans out our clocks.
Give us Swaptions, derivatives, we'll take CDO's.
And the credit default swaps, we want some of those."
Those bundles of sub primes we'll sell every day
Cause Standard & Poors rank this crap triple A.
We'll hype up the junk in a glowing report.
Flog it, and then make it big going short.
Well, It worked til '08, when the home market fell.
The sub primes reset and it all went to Hell.
Bear Stearns and Lehman went down in the pinch,
Then the Bank Of America bought Merrill Lynch.
Goldman was down, AIG was a mess.
So the Gov threw a TARP on the whole stinking mess.
My story is over, the moral is plain.
If we don't fix it quick, it will happen again.
Wall Street is greedy, they're gamblers at heart.
And when they screw up, and the thing falls apart.
We all have to save them, they're too big to fail.
But they're just the right size for a federal jail.