I suppose, like many other Americans, you'd like to find out why the
disaster at Bear Stearns merited a multi-billion dollar bail-out. Well, in
Sunday's Times, the crack journalist Gretchen Morgenson gives you the
answer. But she's not sure that the investment house actually
deserved the rescue effort it has received. First of all, she aptly points
out that BS was a pioneer in the reckless peddling of sub-prime mortgages,
then a pioneer in fobbing them off onto others. Moreover, as she also
indicates, this throwing of the life rafts may not actually save Bear from
drowning and so there are likely to be further calls on the tax-payers'
money...for what?...to rescue the near century-old counting house.
And none of this will rescue the unfortunate and, alas, misled or ignorant
folk who were advertised into believing that they could have a house
more-or-less for free. I know that the CEO of Bear Stearns has lost almost
half of the value of his holdings simply by the decline of the stock. But
that still leaves him with something like half a billion dollars, poor fella.
I hope there are federal laws and prosecutors that put him under
indictment, and that he will need to spend much of what remains of his
ill-gotten fortune on lawyers.
Which reminds me of an old Yiddish curse: "May you have a house with a
hundred rooms and may the fever carry you from one room to the other so
that you'd have to spend your entire fortune on doctors."
Just change the curse from spending the fortune on doctors to spending the
fortune on lawyers.