I don’t know how or why Bear Stearns fucked up. My sense is that this is another example of a company lying through its teeth, or not checking to see whether other people are lying through their teeth, before throwing unimaginable amounts of other peoples’ money down a bottomless rat hole, like Enron or WorldCom. Does anyone remember them? So my question is, when a company is “too big” or “too interconnected with too many other key players in the American economy” to be allowed to fail, does that make them more or less likely to behave responsibly? Human nature being what it is, my guess is “less likely.” This is similar to the situation I witnessed growing up in D.C., when diplomats could act like assholes behind the wheel—driving drunk, destroying property, killing, maiming and injuring innocent bystanders and racking up thousands of dollars in unpaid parking or speeding tickets—without worrying about prosecution, because of fears that pursuing charges might spark an international incident. More than once, I heard arrogant, sharply dressed men in expensive sports car with those prized red, white and blue tags shout at a cop, “I have diplomatic immunity! Fuck you!”

So is that what we have here, the business world’s equivalent of diplomatic immunity—”economic immunity”? Listening to the calm, measured tones of the talking headless on NPR’s Talk of the Nation just now, I couldn’t help but think that they were sent out by the People Who Run Things to just sort of placate, pacify, confuse and otherwise condescend to the rabble to avoid anyone fomenting some sort of insurrection. But even if the great mass of Americans weren’t so complacent, who would be the target of our wrath? Lawrence Kudlow? He hasn’t worked at BS for 14 years. And what would be our rallying cry? “No more . . . um, bad . . . um . . . investments . . . yeah . . . . By the time we peons figure out what Bear Stearns got away with, they will have changed their M.O. and found new ways to fuck us all up the ass without fear of any consequences whatsoever.

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