Letter From a Banker


Bankers are misunderstood and often slandered. Yes, we are greedy, but so are you. Cupidity is a natural urge, wouldn’t you say? It’s a kind of (con) genital juice that courses through everyone’s lower and higher plumbing. Whether it’s money, fame or nookies, most of us don’t just want our share, but always a bit more, often a lot more, than the next guy. Not to oversimplify, but here’s a bumper sticker for you, GREED IS LUST, but before you slap that onto your car, PayPal me five bucks, OK? It’s copyrighted. I just copyrighted it. Use it without my permission and I’ll sue your motherfucking ass.

So that’s established. So there’s nothing wrong with the fact that greed hardens me, but what makes me different from you is my method. I’m more clever than you, a whole lot more clever. (I didn’t want to say “smart” outright, since that would offend your sissy sensibility.) Part of it is education, yes. I did learn a few tricks in college, but it has to be the right one. While you sculpted sandwiches for Subway and/or went into suicidal debt, thanks to me, to attend Butt Fuck U, I chain smoked Havanas at the Skull & Bones before segueing into Haaaaaavard. Bet you don’t even know where that is, you dumbfuck. In any case, you went to school to get indoctrinated. I went to network.

At Harvard I joined a gang, so to speak, an Anglo-American gang, and our method is so clever yet so simple, and since you’re so stupid, I’ll only use the teeny tiniest words and speak as slowly as possible. If I had a set of crayons handy, I’d draw stick figures to help you to understand this. OK, so our entire method, trumpet blast then drum roll please, comes down to this: We make money out of nothing, then we lend it to you, you and you, for profit.

Is that it, you ask, and I’m sorry to be so anticlimactic, but if it works, why complicate it? This laughably simple method has enriched us and impoverished you, you and you for nearly a century, since 1913, to be exact.

I can see that you’re not quite satisfied. You want more. OK, OK, I’ll give you a cartoon slide show: Let’s say you are a developer, and you want to build a bunch of houses. Since you can’t just pull cash out of your ass, like me, you must come to my business for financing. The customers, likewise, can’t just fart Federal Reserve notes either, so they too must trudge to mi casa to secure loans. Thanks to the wizardry of fractional reserve banking and other neat tricks, I’m lending to y’all money I don’t even have, but though these interests are making me so damn fat—figuratively speaking, of course, not like you—I will go a step further. I will bundle a gazillion of these crappy mortgages together, chop them up real fine, then sell stinking shares to investors all over the world. Like Taco Bell, I’ll stuff my products with all sorts of impurities, but unlike them, I won’t even list the disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate or potassium chloride, etc., in my investment scrapple. Selling dog shit, I’ll even charge a commission.

But how can I get away with this? Where are the regulators? What are you, a Huffington Post intern? A college professor with an Obama button surgically attached to your forehead? Here, look into my laundry basket. The regulators are dozing among the lint and skid marks. Don’t disturb them.

So everything is going great, with houses being sold left and right, on mountain tops and in the middle of the desert even, until it seems that every Wal-Mart greeter and busboy is a proud owner of a McMansion, but of course they won’t be able to keep up payments, especially when interest rates jack up.

Though their mortgages have been turned into confetti and scattered all over the universe, I’ll still repossess their houses. Some I’ll sell, but since there are so few buyers these days, especially as I’ve tightened lending standards—who say I’m not upright?—many of these homes are left to rot. Some I’ll even tear down.

Looking out the window, I now see a mob down below. Night after night they sleep in the cold or rain without even a tent over them. They have a long list of grievances but no demands, not that they’ll get any concessions anyway. Though they’ve pointed accusatory fingers in my direction, I have nothing to worry about since they’ve refused to call me by name. Perhaps they don’t even know. Do you?

Should this carnival get rowdy, these hippies, punks, eco loonies, union goons and other assorted misfits will only get themselves hurt and, at most, a few of my foot soldiers annoyed. I’ve been talking to you real friendly, fuckheads, but in spite of my bonhomie and $10,000 Fioravanti suit, I can be nastier than Quentin Tarrantino’s worst nightmare. I’ve brought entire countries to their knees, so I won’t hesitate to squash a few more tattooed and nose ringed cockroaches.  Cornell West or Michael Moore groupies ain’t ish. (I picked up that lingo from my “rebellious” son.) Now, would you like a drink? I’ll buy the first round.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate