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Politics

WHAT THE HELL IS A TOXIC ASSET AND WHY WOULD ANYBODY BUY SUCH A THING?

Who’s going to buy the toxic assets? Any volunteers? The government has just unveiled a $2.5 trillion rescue plan for America’s banking system, and as if that figure isn’t incomprehensible enough, we now have to digest the existence of “toxic assets.” Who would want such a thing? Where would you store them safely where the kids wouldn’t get their hands on them? Fortunately, there is a lot of talk about “vulture investors.” Anyone familiar with vultures knows that there is no piece of meat too rotten and lice infested for them to eat. They are natures garbage disposals. Looks like they have some relatives in the financial sector. Wonder what these people are like? Could they be any creepier than regular Wall Street people? That would be hard. And what made them interested in investing in poisonous assets?

The Wall Street capos, consiglieres and soldiers are all scrambling to get a piece of the government trillions, and understandably so. They blew all their investors’ dough on schemes, jets, bonuses, drugs, drinking, gambling, hookers and room service bills at 5-star hotels and they need more cash, and plenty of it, to maintain their lifestyles. Without other people’s money, gangsters are basically you and me, that is, regular dopes who work for their money and live on what they earn. Wheres the fun in that? Why become a corporate mobster if you have to answer to somebody? Gangsters take. That’s what they do.

And if they corrupt everything they touch, well, that’s the price the rest of us pay to be entertained by larger than life criminals. For years we’ve been fascinated by the mob and a lot of our popular entertainment has reflected that. One of he best movies ever made was “The Godfather,” about a bunch of killers and thieves. Real-life mobsters like Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Dutch Schulz, Lucky Luciano and countless others have become part of American folk lore. Independent bank robbers like Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Ma Barker and Willie Sutton were transformed into American heroes. Only now does it dawn on us what small-timers these people were. 

It turns out the real gangsters are in the boardrooms of major corporations, and have been for a long time. Until recently, they played it pretty low-key, siphoning off millions from the economy to build huge personal fortunes and living lavish lifestyles. For the most part they were of the Carlo Gambino school of gangsterdom, not drawing too much attention to themselves and staying off the public radar and out of jail as they systematically bilked the system. Then, in a grand reverse, they went all John Gotti on us, making headlines and ratcheting up their greed tenfold as all the capos decided that hundreds of millions was not enough anymore, they all had to be billionaires all of a sudden.

It turned out that even the most powerful economy in human history could not withstand their insatiable greed and the whole thing went kablooey last year, plunging America into what’s starting to look more and more like The Second Great Depression. And so it came to be that a lot of the assets of America are now called Toxic Assets. That’s pretty fucked. And now the government is hoping that some vultures in suits will eat this carrion. And what if your pension fund is one of those toxic assets? Or junior’s college fund? John Gotti wouldn’t have given a rat’s ass, so don’t expect these corporate gangsters to care either. You’re fucked, we’re fucked and the vultures are going to give you pennies on the dollar as the price of the president forcing them to scrape by on only half a million bucks a year. 

So it looks like you’ve got to keep working until you drop and junior’s got to join the Army or learn a trade, like flipping burgers or waxing the gleaming floors at corporate headquarters. It’s not you and I in line for any of those trillions. We’ll be the ones paying that bill, though, one way or another. Maybe we’re the vultures, consuming the scraps too unpalatable for hyenas. Corporate greed and corruption made seven trillion dollars vanish last year, and yet no arrests were made outside of Bernie Madoff, who at least admitted what a piece of shit he is. The rest of them of them go their merry way as if they did nothing wrong, and show up in our nation’s capitol with their $500 haircuts and $2,000 suits with large suitcases to haul away more of America’s dough. Is it too late to hunt them down with bloodhounds and shotguns and put them on a chain gang?

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