Margie's Story Time: The Big Economy That Couldn't
By Me, Margie, who totally cannot believe this is happening.... again
Hello boys and girls. Today we are going to tell a story about something very important. It's called The Economy and it is worth a story because it can make people feel all kinds of big time emotions. Like happiness, or sadness, or anger, or the desire to crawl into a big glass of brown medicine and stay there for a week.
I am telling this story so that my nieces and nephews can understand, because the first story I wrote had so many bad words in it that my bosses made me cross them all out and all that was left were a couple of articles and intransitive verbs. So here is the new version from Aunt Margie's Big Book of Stories.
Long ago, in a country that seems far, far away, there was a little economy. The economy ran on things like crops and steel and coal and rail roads and other things you can grow or mine or manufacture. It became strong, because when you build with actual things you can touch, the foundation is real, not pretend. It chugged along, happy and healthy, like all little things do at the beginning of the story.
The little economy grew and grew and then some greedy bas - I mean, some selfish people decided to start selling things that weren't real. Some of the things were based on fraud - which is lying - and some based on real things, like loans that had collateral. Collateral means a something like a favorite toy that you exchange to borrow money. When you pay the money back, you get your toy back.
That is fine, but then some rat bas - I mean some clever people who wanted to make more money than just the regular interest rate put all those kinds of loans together in a big box and then mashed into a sold block of stuff you can't recognize and then the block is sliced up into a million pieces that are sold and traded until no one remembers that you actually had a collector's edition Darth Maul, new in box, and good luck getting it back. Oops, that was a negative thought, wasn't it? We need positive thoughts to help our little economy grow, don't we? And for those of you who fail to see the value in Darth Maul, three words: Double. Sided. Lightsaber. Oh yeah.
Well, the little economy was young and eager, and it didn't know about scams or - as some people called them - speculative investments. And the economy grew and grew, like a a big balloon, and then one day - oops. The balloon popped. It's always sad when a pretty balloon pops, isn't it? So imagine this balloon has everything you like in it - like your house and your food and your clothes and your will to live. When the balloon pops, all those things go bye-bye. That is not good. That is very, very bad.
So the government (We all remember the government, right? Those are the people we elect to represent all of us. Sometimes government people will say one thing when they want you to vote for them and another thing after the election. It can be very frustrating and that is why some people go totally Postal, but that is another story) decided that the economy needed help, and some people needed a time out. Aunt Margie thinks some people needed to be smacked upside their lying, greedy heads, but we don't hit, do we? No. What? Yes, well some people DO like hitting but only for fun and let's remind ourselves never to tell our moms and dads about those magazines you found under Uncle Billy's bed? Right. That is a big, big secret.
So the government passed laws that said 'this will not happen again and we are going to make you people in the economy tell us what is going on, and plus there is a difference between brokers and bankers and don't you forget it, buster.' It took the government a lot more words to say that, but the whole idea was to learn from the mistakes and make sure no big balloons popped again.
It came to pass that the economy started to grow again. How did it grow? Well, kids like you grow big and strong because you eat the right things, and stay healthy, and don't do drugs and drink your milk. Some of you will grow tall and some of you will stop growing in 10th grade, which is bad except you can keep all your shoes forever and they will still fit.
Well, the economy grew - but not by doing those good things. Instead of eating vegetables and home-made steel and other good things, the economy was chowing down on stuff no one had ever heard of before. And if you have a big dinner of hedge fund with a side of short puts and a big carafe of no-doc variable rate mortgage-backed funds, you will have something worse than a really bad stomach ache.
And the government? Well, the government was getting bigger too, because people were taking it out to dinner at fancy restaurants, buying it drinks, and trying to convince it to do things that weren't really a good idea. Yes, just like your cousin Rita's dates. I am glad to see you are listening.
And the next thing you know, some of those laws they passed went away and the other ones had so many loopholes that they looked like someone took the scissors to a pair of fish nets. Which we don't do. We never use the big scissors without a grown up and we never, ever go back into Aunt Margie's dresser, okay?
Well, with no one watching it, the economy kept eating and getting bigger. It was gorging on all that bad stuff, plus a lot of Chinese food that had lead in it or something. Lead is worse than MSG, just saying. Pretty soon, instead of looking like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia, the economy looked like Jabba the Hut.
I know, right? Totally gross. Now, you would think that the people working right there with the big economy would say something like, "Yo, Dude, you need to cut back on the toxic waste and all that high priced oil, and eat some damn broccoli or something. And how about taking the stairs every once in a while?" But no. Instead, they kept feeding the economy more and more bad crap.
Well, we all know what happened next, don't we? Ka- Boom! The balloon burst again, except this time, the balloon was filled with all that rotten stuff the economy had been eating. Kind of like when you puke, except really, really big. Ewwww, is totally right.
The pukey stuff went everywhere, and everything started to stink. Bad. People acted shocked, as if no one knew the bad stuff was in there. Duh. People can be very dumb.
So now, the government people are having a big argument about how to fix the economy. Most of them don't even want to figure out what happened because they are in a BIG FREAKING HURRY to act like they know what's up and tell all the people no worries, we'll fix it, but it has to be now, because, like, we have vaca plans. Like we're stupid. Oh, sorry. We don't say stupid. How about stone ass- oops. Well, you get the idea.
Some people want pretend we have a lot of money to just throw around like a big blanket so we can pretend there is not a big stinky mess under it. Some people - and this is Aunt Margie's favorite, because it is like, so amazingly ballsy that even though it's an insult to anyone with a brain, it takes real guts to even say it. They want us - all the people - to give them a blank check for zillions of dollars to buy the big pukey mess that isn't worth anything. You know, the stuff that reeked so bad that no one would buy it? Uh-huh. That stuff. And they want to use some of our money to pay themselves big bonuses for trashing the whole system. Right, because if you set your McDonalds on fire because you forgot to change the fry oil, they'd give you a nice gold watch and a trip to the Bahamas. Which would be really hilarious if it weren't so IDIOTIC.
Hand Aunt Margie her pretty glass with the lime in it, okay? That's better. We all remember not to drink out of Aunt Margie's special glasses, right? Good. Have some more koolaid. I made sure your cousin Petey didn't put any Robitussin in there this time. Fridays are not a good night for sleepovers at Aunt Margie's house. She has other special friends coming.
Any way, it's a big, big mess, and a very sad story. And Moms and Dads and Aunts and Uncles are very nervous and upset and very, very angry. So if I were you, I'd stay in my room and not ask whether you can go to ToysRUs.