Thursday, February 26, 2009

CEOrnery

I wonder what's on TV...

"Good evening, I'm Edward R. Trudeau, and today my guest is J.B. Snopes, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Smorgascorp, a Fortune 500 company. Good evening, Mr. Snopes."

"Hello, Edward"

"I want to ask you what you thought of the President's speech the other night."

"I didn't think much of it."

"Oh, really? What didn't you like about it?"

"I expect the President to lead!"

"Well, Mr. Snopes, didn't it seem like he was leading Tuesday night? I mean, he wants to solve the health care crises, the education crises, the--"

"I'm not talking about pork spending! I'm talking about the banking crises!"

"That reminds me, Mr. Snopes, you have a bank subsidiary, don't you?"

"That's right. Upper Trust, and we're waiting on that bailout money!"

"And what do you plan to do with it once you get it?"

"I'm going to shore up the bank! Don't you read the news?"

"Well, how exactly do you shore up a bank?"

"The same way you shore up this TV studio."

"Well, um, I'm not entirely sure we shore up this studio."

"You're on the air, right? So, you're shored up. If not, people would be looking at nothing. It's the same principle with banks. Do you want to drive down Wall Street and see nothing? I don't think that would be a very scenic ride!"

"What do you think of nationalizing the banks?"

"Drive down Wall Street and see downtown Havana? I'd rather see nothing."

"But, Mr. Snopes, due to the credit crunch, nothing seems to be what we're getting!"

"That's because you haven't taken the scenic drive down Wall Street. Want to? My chauffeur's waiting down stairs."

"Mr. Snopes, I'm beginning to think you're taking the American people for a ride!"

"So, you're resorting to the old liberal media bias, huh?"

"I--I, uh, don't know what came over me. But, Mr. Snopes, please understand, you've been accused of operating a zombie bank!"

"More name calling, huh? I accuse you of operating a werewolf TV show!"

"Mr. Snopes, this country, perhaps the world, is on the brink of economic collapse!"

"Well, tell the entrepreneurs and small business owners to get their BLEEP together. They're supposed to be the engines of this economy!"

"And what about a big corporation like Smorgascorp, and a big bank like Upper Trust? What roles do they play?"

"We buy up, or buy off, all the entrepreneurs and small business owners, and that way wealth is created. They get wealthy, and we stay wealthy. Haven't you ever read Adam Smith? Unless--heh, heh, it's only us that gets wealthy. Kind of depends on the small print."

"Mr. Snopes, I would suggest we're in this mess because not enough people bothered to read the small print before taking out mortgages from banks such as yours."

"Now, there's where I would disagree with you. My bank is stuck with all these toxic assets because all of a sudden people insist on reading the small print. Who do they think they are reading print in the first place? Don't they know print is obsolete? These people are Luddites!"

"Mr. Snopes, I don't think we're getting any--"

"Look, it's not just me who's disappointed with the President. Look at the stock market. It went down after Obama's speech."

"Well, the stock market goes down every time the President opens his mouth. It may be impossible for Obama to make those folks happy."

"Not true, not true. I have a list of things Obama could say that would rally the markets. Would you like me to read it?"

"I think we have time. Go right ahead."

"OK. Number one: Toxic assets are only called that when banks are stuck with--I mean, own them. When owned by elderly widows willing to pawn their jewelry, they're called nutritional assets.

"Number two: Complaining about how CEOs decorate their office, how they fly from coast to coast, or the size of their, er, retentions , is both class warfare and in bad taste--whichever comes first.

"Number three harks back to what we were saying earlier: The Surgeon General has determined small print causes eyeball cancer. Read at your own risk!"

"Are you telling me, Mr. Snopes, that had the president said all that, the market would have rallied?"

"They would have partied like it's 1929!"

"Mr. Snopes, I think you may be setting your sights a little too high."

"I just want things to go back to the way they were before the meltdown last September."

"Well, Mr. Snopes, you might want to go back farther then that. After all, prior to the melt down, we had a shrinking middle-class; take-home pay--when adjusted to inflation--was lower than it was in 1974; we had a declining manufacturing base; the labor movement was dead, and companies were scaling back on health and retirement benefits"

"I know. The good old days."

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