Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's a perfect time for grad school

I couldn't not address what is becoming the biggest financial crisis in a generation, despite the fact that I’m no longer in New York. Obviously, this situation is affecting all of us. Seriously, that title is dead serious. It' about the worst time to be looking for a job these days, and the way things have been it's going to stay that way for awhile.

Whether it’s Lehman Brothers going to hell, Merrill Lynch selling its soul to Bank of America, AIG getting $800 plus in government handouts, or the various other mergers that are going to be necessary for certain companies to get out of a hole, one thing is certain: Shit has hit the fan.

I’m pretty terrified about my industry. The Sun is about to cave in. Other major newspaper conglomerates are going through huge cutbacks. And this is all before they feel the wrath of these latest Wall Street debacles. I’m counting my lucky stars that I get paid very little, so if anything I might benefit from this whole thing because companies are going to replace higher paid, older folks with relatively inexperienced cheap up and comers like myself. Still, though, it doesn’t make it cool.

But I think the best way to approach what can only be called a disaster is with a little bit of humor. That’s why I was watching the Daily Show the other day when Jon Stewart decided to make fun of the situation (which is definitely healthy). Stewart showed clips of all these financial heads describing how huge of a financial crisis we are in, and followed it up with our great President, George W. Bush, downplaying the ordeal as casual “adjustments” of the financial system.

Now, like I said above this situation is pretty serious. But I tend to side more towards the Bush point of view (although it’s clear this is more than just adjustments). I hear accounts of what went down last weekend when the powers that be within the Treasury Department, the Fed, and the SEC met with the 20 most powerful financial CEOs in the country and couldn’t help but laugh and think about one of my favorite movies, The Godfather.

At about 6 p.m., in a large conference room just off the lobby on the ground floor of the New York Federal Reserve, Paulson sat at a long oval table with Securities and Exchange Commissioner Christopher Cox by his side. New York Fed Chairman Timothy F. Geithner sat directly opposite.

The meeting was open to chief executives only, and about 20 of these finance titans sat quietly around the table. The New York City subway, located below the room, periodically sent screeches and rumbles into the meeting.

That’s got to be a joke. You gotta love the subway reference because the author clearly wants to make this seem as if it’s the equivalent of signing the Declaration of Independence of something, but c’mon that just comes off as silly. It would be like me saying, “As I was write this post, I heard the birds chirping and the sun emerging from the clouds, signaling a new day on Wall Street. Basically, it’s flowery bullshit.

It does make this thing seem like a movie, though. In Godfather terms, this was like the meeting of the five families. One of those dudes is going to turn into the Michael Corleone of the bunch. So far we’ve got Lehman Brothers as the Fredo of the bunch, with the way they refused help even though they were so far in over their heads, they no longer knew what was best for them. I see Bank of America as the Sonny Corleone. Just like Bank of America came out of nowhere (or Charlotte, whatever you wanna call it) to become this sizable conglomerate, Sonny eclipsed anyone’s expectations and took over the family after the death of Don Vito (Marlon Brando). But ultimately, Sonny — like Bank of America — will also fail. That leaves you with Michael Corleone — or in this case, well, I don’t know, I’m no expert. My best guess is Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan (or maybe even a competent President) pulling America’s finances back together.

But remember in the Godfather, when Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, promises to work together with all the five families, and then ends up killing all of the bastards and moving to Las Vegas for Godfather Part II. Well, they’ve all promised to work together as evidenced by the Bank of America merger and the AIG handout.

But with the way things have gone lately, I’m waiting for the mass murder.

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