Internet and real life converge.
The debate about the demise of capitalism banking crisis now plays out partly online, as one would expect, given the scale of the problems. The $700bn US bailout plan may unravel, and the Wall St Journal claims 'Wall Street' no longer exists (fancy a namechange then?). As Joe Stiglitz put it to the Today programme earlier this week, "they've now found a sucker, the American taxpayer, to take [these debts] off their balance sheet". The Lloyds TSB acquisition of HBOS may now face opposition too, although the scandal is less obvious and the opposition more muted.
People get bored by the technicalities of banking and finance - I know I do. But these deals have one thing in common: the bankers get let off the hook, and the public loses out. In the first case, the US Government's "bad bank" would use taxpayers' money to pay off Wall Street's gambling debts (as MacWhirter noted), and in the second case Lloyds gets to waive competition law to snap up HBOS.
In the face of all this turmoil, the Americans have at least got their internet-related satire working much more effectively than us. First, in the spirit of the FAILblog, I give you Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke giving evidence on their massive gift to the rich prudent measures to restore confidence in the banking system:
From: Minister of the Treasury Paulson
Subject: REQUEST FOR URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to email@example.com so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson