Regular readers know that I’m both a fan and a practitioner of the ‘Satirical Arts’. Michael Lewis has a devastating op-ed up at the New York Times entitled Shorting Reform that just manages to skirt the line between outright fantasy and the actual current psyche of Wall Street’s lobbyist corps…
To: Wall Street chief executives
From: Your man in Washington
Re: Embracing the status quo
Our earnings are robust, our compensation has returned to its naturally high levels and, as a result, we have very nearly regained our grip on the imaginations of the most ambitious students at the finest universities — and from that single fact many desirable outcomes follow.
Thus, we have almost fully recovered from what we have agreed to call The Great Misfortune. In the next few weeks, however, ill-informed senators will meet with ill-paid representatives to reconcile their ill-conceived financial reform bills. This process cannot and should not be stopped. The American people require at least the illusion of change. But it can be rendered harmless to our interests.
To this point, we have succeeded in keeping the public focused on the single issue that will have very little effect on how we do business: the quest to prevent taxpayer money from ever again being used to (as they put it) “bail out Wall Street.”
As we know, we never needed their money in the first place, and by the time we need it again, we’ll be long gone. If we can keep the public, and its putative representatives, fixated on the question of whether their bill does, or does not, ensure there will be no more bailouts, we may entirely avoid a discussion of our relationship to the broader society.
Like him or hate him, Lewis nails this one. Get over to NYT for the rest.