Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Greed is Good: A Play

Scene: The Martini Lounge, a well-heeled club for Wall Street traders.
Cast: Three senior executives at Salamander Brothers, a small but highly esteemed Wall Street investment firm. The executives, George, Richard, and Wandi, have just arrived at the club after attending a meeting of highly placed operatives from the SEC.
Wandi:" I cannot believe the news. I mean, it’s been doom and gloom ever since those Baer clowns and the Neanderthals from Lehman brought down the circus. I was beginning to think I’d have to go get a job, for God’s sake”.
Richard: “Now, Wandi, you always were the dark one. You really need to lighten up during these little market perturbations”.
George: “Yeah, those other idiots never did understand when to hold’m and when to fold’m. It’s “Buy low, sell high” I kept telling them.”
Wandi: “OK, but who would have guessed that our white knight would arrive so quickly, really before the game was declared officially over. “
Richard: “Uh, waiter, a round of very dry martini’s for these two, and a very dry Stolli’s on ice for me. Well guys, we need to do some serious strategic planning to work this new playground. “
George: “I agree. We can’t just plunge in with the old ideas. New ideas, change . . . yeah, that’s it, a Changed Investment Strategy; that’s what we’ll call it”.
Wandi: “Or, how about Strategic Investments for a Changed Economy? I love this change stuff, don’t you? We can devise and peddle anything we want, as long as it represents CHANGE.”
Richard: “Well, we can’t be too obvious, or too scary initially. We need to be seen as the guys of serious change, the white knights riding in to secure everyone’s financial future.”
George: “True, true. Once we get established in our new playground, we can begin moving in more innovative approaches. We keep projecting the future benefits, say 25 years downstream. You won’t see quick returns, but you will understand how fruitful this new approach is once your portfolio begins paying out at your retirement. That kind of thing”
Wandi: “Agreed. The Boomers are a lost cause. They’re already flat out of luck from the old financial system. We need to focus on post-Boomers, the ones whose money is still in play.”
George: “What do we do about the God Squad folks? Mostly, as we know, they’ll believe anything, as long as it’s packaged properly. But we can’t just say we prayed and the answer came to us at that moment. I mean, they’re gullible, but even they must have limits.”
Wandi: “Well, I do believe that we don’t need to do anything. Mainly, they’re preoccupied most of the time worrying about the effects of Gays on marriage, and all those Godless folks who practice baby murder. They seem to neither understand nor worry overly much about things like their financial future. They simply accept that someone will show up to take care of them when their turn comes.”
Richard: Well, what about all the crybaby Democrats like Clinton and Gore and Obama? They spend their time whining about us awful people and what we intend to do with their money. I see them as a real problem. Somehow, they need to be neutralized.”
George: “Yeah, with extreme prejudice . . . heh, heh, heh.”
Wandi: Now, George, we can’t talk like that. This is after all a public establishment.”
George: “Yeah, public . . . like let’s see the Dems try to crash into this club. Good thing they lost that election. Would have been hell to pay if they had won. Who knows, they might have shut down the game altogether.”
Wandi: “Now you’re sounding like me George. We need to keep focused. The Bad Guys lost and the Barracuda Team won. It’s up to us to develop a new game with our brand new playground.”
George: “OK. OK, Wandi, you’re right. Let the Games Begin.”
Richard: “OK, first of all, what will we call the new playground? We can’t keep calling it “Social Security. Brings back too many memories, and would keep reminding the folks out there that the Dems invented that game.”
Wandi: “How about the Workmen’s Protection Act, or WPA”
Richard: “I got it, “Greed is Good: the system for you and your grandkids.”
They all laugh, down their drinks and order a second round. The lights dim.
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