Category Archives: Executive Compensation

Wall Street Bone? Us.

Wall Street Bonuses are the metaphor for what’s wrong with our current society. But sometimes they’re the literal thing that’s wrong.

Bonuses for wrongdoers! Bonuses for thieves!

Bonuses for con men!

The money’s going the wrong way.

I have often thought that the difference between liberal and conservative is one of humanity. Conservative politics in these latter years are aimed at avoiding giving money to the poor or middle class.

It’s a class war, now, that we’re living in. I do wish the Tea Partiers would wake up and see it. They’re acting against their own interests, because I think the vast majority of them are not wealthy but very upset, middle-class people. They aren’t my enemy; the politicians, ultra-wealthy, lobbyists and former politicians (like Dick Armey) actively pushing this class war are.

Among Republicans running for office we have some beasts like Sharron Angle, running for Senate hoping to displace Harry Reid: Michele Rollins, running for a House seat representing Delaware; and Tom Corbett, running for governor of Pennsylvania. From OpenLeft Blog and other blogs collecting quotes I know there are many more of like mind, so what follows seems to be a Republican platform position.

Here are quotes from each about the unemployed. They are not sound bites coming out of context. Each candidate has uttered these sentiments in other words repeatedly to the media.

They don’t feel merely that unemployment benefits should be limited; they see benefits as a problem, and the unemployed as lazy and opportunistic. Corbett obviously believes the unemployed are scamming the government.

Angle: … “the unemployed are spoiled.”

Rollins: Jobless benefits make people “continue to do nothing.”

Corbett: “One of the issues, and I hear it repeatedly – one of the individuals said, ‘I can’t get workers. People don’t want to come back to work while they still have unemployment.’’ He said.  “They’re literally telling him, ‘I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.’ That’s becoming a problem.”
Corbett added, “The jobs are there. But if we keep extending unemployment, people are going to sit there and – I’ve literally had construction companies tell me, I can’t get people to come back to work until…they say, I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.”

As Freud would ask, How does this make you feel?
Are you perfectly safe in your employment? Are you well-off, or have a huge savings to fall back on?

Or are you like most of the country, just working and hoping your work does not disappear, to leave you on nothing but unemployment? After about 3 years of this financial recession mess, we have learned who is really to blame for it, and it isn’t us. It’s Wall Street and the financial wizards whose black webs extend through Wall Street and most of our banks, our mortgage companies, our pensions, our savings instruments, our what-have-you. We know this, from several years’ worth of reporting by the media, and investigation by the media and the government, and from outright admissions by mortgage companies and banks.

Meanwhile, the Republican song is all about leaving alone all these huge corporations which raped the environment and destroyed the livelihoods of the people who lived off the shoreline or fishing the waters, etc. Leave them alone. And the Wall Street thugs who ruined the economy (but not their own personal economies) then reaped riches because they shorted the right markets in time — leave them alone too. Leave Lloyd Blankfein, Hank Greenberg, Richard Fuld, little Fabrice Tourre alone. Leave them to heaven.

Because apparently what the Republican Party admires is their bald theft, gutsy self-aggrandizement, greed, gumption, aggression, egotism, and blind thrusting aside of the populace to make room for themselves. There has been no cleverness, no genius in the things created by the financial sector that have led to this recession/depression; there were only fraud, greed, and aggression. They destroyed institutions and our financial system.

And now that so many are unemployed as a result, well, that’s the unemployed person’s own stupid fault. And the taxes they paid into the system should be denied them in the form of unemployment benefits, because it would be better to save the money for, oh, maybe another bank bailout.

This is the Republican Way. What a lot we have to look forward to if they win certain of these elections.

The Bonus of Wall Street’s Bad Example. Ilargi, Doomsayer to the Nation. Tools and Chickens.

So sick of Wall Street and its bonuses today, sick of Goldman Sachs (pig!)goldman-sachs-pig2, sick of AIG’s yacht-loving executive, and Ted Geithner and Larry Summers and Bernanke! Very sick of them. Instead, I’m thinking about social ism today. I avoided putting it in one word so you wouldn’t choke; I know how Americans don’t like saying or hearing the word. It’s as if you all lived during the 50s.

I’m thinking, not a full system of socialism but just some good practices which are generally or vaguely socialistic. So everyone can just relax.

To segue to a discussion of them, against my first instinct I will quote Ilargi of theAutomaticEarth. Ilargi, hidden man of the financial industry, is a doomsayer. He scares me, sometimes, with his proclamations: that living in the suburbs is a trap, that everyone should buy gold, that the world’s going to end, yadda and yadda. He is a smart guy but doesn’t seem to understand the American governing method of making things palatable for the public, of preserving appearances. Utter economic destruction is unpopular, so if only for that reason the government will do things to avoid a lot of it. It won’t do it well, but it’ll do it. Therefore his Armageddon world will not really arrive. Nevertheless I find important quotes in his writings that are worth remembering and are even of use buttressing oneself against despair. This, for example:

“…the stock market is not the real economy. And neither is it representative of that economy, in fact it’s probably less so now than at any point in the recent past. And it can turn in a second and on a dime.”

I’ve said before that stocks, which rise and fall influenced largely by reports (and rumors) from the issuing companies, are not a measure of the economy the ordinary person lives in. The megacorporations have  changed their very accounting equation, faking their numbers, and their manipulation of their supposed assets and losses is being tolerated by the federal government.

If “the stock market is not the real economy” right now, we may have some power over our own economic futures after all. Obviously the financial sector is not who would read this blog, so you, sitting across the screen from me, are probably one of the middle class. That same middle class Elizabeth Warren says is caught in a vise. We — we are closer to the underpinnings of the economy than Wall Street is. We consist of the workers, the small businessmen, the professionals, and so on. If the stock market isn’t an accurate picture of anything in our lives, I wonder if we can’t start creating our own economy, distinct and separate.

It would take a lot of humanity and patience, and a lot of people. A lot of people acting cooperatively. Here are some actions we’d need to take:

1. Searching for new green industry — and more important, small greener practices — to invest in, buy, or start up. Small green spots are what I have in mind, really; individuals beginning in ones or twos to start buying a thing which is renewing… or renewable. Like using red worms and compost for your lawn instead of a chemical-based lawn service. Chemicals mean big corporation, usually; red worms mean small farmer. Go on from there, and go bigger, finding more green practices and industries.

2. Formation of tiny groups to support one another in other ways, especially when it comes to financial ventures. We need Kiva lending here! In colonial America, some religious and ethnic groups formed their own trade groups; groups which trusted their members if only because they were of the same faith or background. I used to hear, on the radio, ads for a Christian group that provided a sort of health insurance for each other just by paying one another’s medical bills. I’ve no idea how it worked out, and suspect it was a big scam but if it wasn’t it may also have tanked due to being unreasonable. However, it suggested the vast power there could be in joining a like-minded group. But today we see betrayal of that sort of grouping in the Bernie Madoffs, Ted Haggards, etc., etc. If we are subject to the social phenomenon known as the Big Sort, we can also change the way in which we sort ourselves. And it is not really a “sorting” if outsiders are welcome to join the contract. Example: food co-ops. You can buy here if you do some work here. And credit unions, that’s another example. We’ll give you a loan because you’ve kept your money here for a certain period of time, and you pay your bills on time too.

3. Patch Adams-types of solutions for health care. Greater equality among participants in every aspect of the health care system. (It is, actually, proper to call it a “system,” since it is a natural part of our lives.) The Gesundheit Institute and its friends have done mountains of work on this and other subjects.

4. Purchasing a real item of value instead of buying stock. De-sophisticating the economy.  If the banks too big to fail are getting bigger; if the financial houses are again engaging in the same risky practices that brought down the economy; if the government is not regulating the banks and financial industry enough, then all stocks are a much, much bigger gamble than they appear. It’s enough to make you want to buy not just precious metals, but timberland acreage and other things that ordinary people actually need. Trucks, tools, building material, livestock, even large appliances for heating and cooling. Since most of these things can’t be squirreled away like savings, you’d have to use them, rent them out, or sell them. Each of which involves difficulty, but at least you have control over the process. Successfully sell or rent your assets, and you’ve become a business…

Small businesses may be the best things for the (real) economy. They tend to use extra money to buy new equipment and even new people: employees. They are the big consumers and the big job creators, not Wall Street and not the government. The smaller they are, the less likely they are to be speculating on Wall Street with their cash. Small is good.

While I’m climbing Dream Mountain, I imagine masses of people moving their money out of the stock market and putting it to work themselves. Not putting their faith in big corporations (which have acted without good faith). With the exodus of lots of  investors, the stock market would shrink. Making the whole “economy” much more real, easier to participate in. Making it sturdier. Making it stronger.

Okay, I don’t have the background to analyze what the result would be to a growth-dependent economy, but the stock market lived and breathed for decades well below the frantic trading levels we see today. It could do so again.

No, I can’t replace people’s 401Ks and IRAs with anything yet, not quickly. Slow-growth investments like bonds can’t cut it yet, maybe, not by themselves. But if you do your own stock-picking for your financials, you should keep in mind what just happened in our economy and everyone seems to want to forget. The financial industry destroyed a great deal of what you’d been saving for years. They did it for themselves. And they are working themselves back to that position again, saying we need that old bonus system and huge executive compensation so they can keep the same sort of “creativity” on Wall Street. You know — “creative,” like financial derivatives are “creative” products. Oh, they’re creative all right. And magic too. They made millions of houses vanish.

No, that’s incorrect — the houses are still there. (Missing some copper wiring and pipes, though.) Their magic trick was to turn millions of homeowners into street people. Abra-Cadabra. Poof!

Rather than putting all your eggs in that same rotten basket you could set some aside, let them take their chance in the world and become chickens. Not all of us are good at raising chickens but you could try, and join a group of chicken-raisers or something. It’s a risk. It’s always a risk.

………….. Boy, I almost let that mention of Goldman Sachs (pig!)goldman-sachs-pig21 in the first paragraph go without putting the word pig beside it.

Wall Street Bonus Pigs, and the Plague. Time Magazine’s pregnant women.

The recent Wall Street bonuses that Goldman Sachs, CIT, JPMorgan et al gave their top employees were from a syringe. They got vaccinations against the dreaded new H1N1 flu. Excuse me, but this means that now every time I write the name “Goldman Sachs” a pig will appear. Please excuse the delay while I conjure that pig up. *** goldman-sachs-pig2

Okay… And I solemnly swear that each time Goldman Sachs (oops, pig!)goldman-sachs-pig21 is mentioned by me that I will bring in the pig. This is the pig we own, the pig we are supporting.

Each of the major bailout corporations were given — by the CDC?!! — a supply of vaccine from around 200 to 1200 doses. Citigroup got the 1200.

I didn’t realize the too-big-to-fail banks’ staff consisted entirely of babies and pregnant women. Or are they all just over 80 or something?

Time Inc. and Sloan-Kettering in NYC also got the vaccine; I never knew that Time Magazine was a health care facility. Next time I get sick, maybe I should go there. And cough hard.

Are corporations a division of the community or something, that the CDC consults with to communicate with the general public, is this why they have distributed medicine to them? Are they part of the government? I have to think for a minute what I am a citizen of. Wait. Does the branching go: Nation… state….county…municipality/town…citizen — or is it: Nation…corporation…region….department…office cubicle…citizenworker?

Sorry for all the questions. I still have to learn to stop asking stuff. And I have to quit makin’ stuff up, while I’m at it.

Morgan Stanley said they were giving their whole supply (1000 doses) to area hospitals. Is there any confirmation, I wonder? You know how much we believe them these days. Believe, believe, believe.

So this is how it is now: Wall Street gets the lifesaving vaccines, gets the billions of dollars’ bailout. I read that Canada gave the vaccine to a hockey team, the Calgary Flames, AND their families, the day before local clinics had to stop giving it out to the at-risk groups because they ran out. I’m not sure how much more palatable this is. Hockey teams in Canada are the equivalent of Brad & Angelina, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus. All of whom probably already got the vaccination. Which is logical, on the government’s part because: Movie and TV celebrities are the people who keep us going to movies, watching TV, keep us buying consumer goods, all of which keeps us medicated materially and keeps us from doing other things, like changing our government dramatically.

I wonder if J.K. Rowling, the Englishwoman richer than Queen Elizabeth, has had the vaccine yet.

It’s a shame. These corporations have put us in the position of actually wishing their top staff would get sick. It’s not likely to happen; the Goldman Sachs (pig!) executives probably already received their shots, and vaccinations are pretty effective.

I never, ever thought we’d be here. Goldman (pig!)goldman-sachs-pig22, CITI, JPMorgan, AIG, and the Fannie siblings act openly giving these outrageous bonuses, unwarranted super-special health consideration the public does not get; they do everything so unabashedly! If we had the plague, all the bankers and brokers would simply leave the cities and go to their estates in green Florence, sing, and tell one hundred stories while we died! Do you realize that?

Does anyone wonder how brokers do on organ transplant lists?

We have been unable to persuade our swollen, dropsical Congress to do things like break up the banks, or add the regulation that should be there. Our president is asleep and dreaming, like Chthulhu in his house at R’lyeh. And pigs — I tell you — are flying.

The Bonuses and the Theft at Goldman Sachs. Ultradogs.

Bonuses on Wall Street are yet again in the headlines. And Two things just appeared in the news about Goldman Sachs:

1. They’re predicting an enormous profit this year, surpassing the last good year anyone else had, namely 2007; and the bonuses they plan to pay break records, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post. The entire recession, it appears, was a market adjustment which cleared out the bulk of their competition. The recession was great for them. They’ve also been permitted to repay their TARP loan. I’d like to know why Obama lets Treasury permit this.

I really want to know.

2. Goldman had a break-in, and called the Justice Department about it. An employee who had just departed for a better job with another company, Sergey Aleynikov stole some ultra-secret software from Goldman Sachs that “could be used to manipulate markets.” 

So somebody with talent hates Goldman. And did something about it. He uploaded the program to an encrypted, shared server.  This immediately calls to mind the newsgroups, and all the old beta testers of Microsoft software who leaked copies of everything out to the public. Why do they do it? Because they don’t like the company. It’s their version of rebellion, and it’s the most effective kind around.

I secretly — sweatily — swarthily tip my hat to this guy. We are already convinced that Goldman has been manipulating the markets for many years, and caused incalculable harm. A recently dispossessed person, someone who’s lost his or her job or home or both — looking at this issue from a stance in the financial gutter — may feel perhaps it’s only just if the rest of the world got to use this software. But of course, now it’s been removed.

Note: Sergey Aleynikov may have accomplished the theft using an ultradog, since Russians are known for owning them. Here is a picture of Putin’s ultradog, an amazing animal.

<I>Putin's ultradog.</I>

Putin's ultradog.

Bonus Time at Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs. Needing Diversion. Thinking About Elves.

Supersized Wall Street bonuses are planned by Goldman Sachs to be paid soon to their top executives and traders, bonuses exceeding last year’s and the year before. The moment I read about it, I

<I>Once again we may see stovepipe hats on Wall Street.</I>

Once again we may see stovepipe hats on Wall Street.

thought this decision was going to be undone by the provisions restricting TARP companies — since GS has not paid back the $10 billion it owes the U.S. But Goldman is NOT grouped among those handful of companies that received “extreme assistance”  on whom these restrictions lie. How handy!


No, they only received $10 billion, that’s all, and were laxly permitted to receive the complete value ($12.9 billion) of their credit default swaps from AIG — thus sending AIG into broke status — and special treatment at every step it has taken in recent years. GS is NOT being investigated for misrepresenting its financial status to its shareholders, although documents have emerged suggesting this very thing. Some would say those documents demonstrate it, not suggest it. 

So Goldman can go ahead and pay those bonuses, nothing much stopping them.

And now (according to one of the biggest Wall Street trade groups, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), is going on the road with a niceness campaign to try to convince the public in some of the big cities that Wall Street doesn’t really suck.

They hired former assistants of Henry Paulson in this campaign. Are they really hoping, let alone expecting, to change the minds of the general public?

But …we know that the security industries suck. How can we blind ourselves to the fact that they suck? Because they actually suck.

A nice parade might work, for five minutes anyway. This level of distrust is difficult to sustain and it would be a nice break. After all, I already have to divert myself from grim reality with cartoons of honest sheriffs and other righteous inventions. For instance, I went to read to look at Sheriff Pony.


(Cut to: Diversion from Bleak Financial Reality.)

Sheriff Pony looks like the offspring of Quickdraw McGraw and Smurfette, when maybe Quickdraw had to go to France during the war. The Smurfs are French, in case you didn’t know.

<I>Quickdraw McGraw's Baby Mama?</I>

Quickdraw McGraw's Baby Mama?



I bet all the major elves are related.

The tribe of Smurfs, I’d guess, are foreign cousins of the Keebler elves, who everyone knows are ardent capitalists — almost as bad as the Ferengi. Both the Smurfs and the Keeblers practice magic. You know the song: “And they’re baked in magic ovens and there’s no fac-tory. Hey!”

I know what you’re about to ask…. What’s their connection with the Rice Krispie elves? Well, they’re the first cousins of the head Keebler elf, who entertains a rather low opinion of them. The Rice Krispie brothers, Snap, Crackle, and Pop, were sort of drifter artists who at last found work in the cereal industry to keep themselves from starving in the gutter. The Keeblers, by contrast, are very bourgeousie and successful. They love their magic ovens. They’re so smug.

Yeah, they’ve got work and they do not need to rub it in. 

All of a sudden I’m feeling sympathetic towards the Rice Krispie guys. And all these people lately, who are out of jobs.

I Hear the Cries of the Trust Fund Babies. AIG and Hank G.


So!  On Wall Street, we hear that $4.3 billion in stock was set aside for the retirement of some of the most highly-compensated managers at AIG.  And for continuation of their bonus lifestyle. Now, Hank Greenberg is being officially accused of stealing that fund.  From what I’ve read I wouldn’t put it past him.

Wait a minute.hank-g

How dare AIG set up a trust fund for management only? Even if it’s been government-owned only since last year, before that it was government-related and before that, it was still a public corporation. Can they do that?

A goddamn trust fund for the already rich. How… predictable.

That Wall Street Maurice Greenberg is one little sonofagun. His little pursed mouth looks like he’s trying hard to smile and keep his false teeth from falling out at the same time.

And the attorneys on either side: Boies, Greenberg’s lawyer, represented the Gore side in Bush vs. Gore in 2000. Well, he’s now obviously on the wrong side.  And then the other guy, Theodore Wells, defended Scooter Libby in his criminal trial. Why is he now representing AIG in a civil trial? 

Oh, right. Big business is all criminal. So he isn’t actually going out of his specialty. In fact, I’m not kidding. It looks like U.S. business today is composed of 95% theft, 4% poor judgement, and 1% advertising. 


In The Offices Of The Wall Street Rats

CEO Fat Rat, who had been reading his copy of The Daily Rat quietly in his comfy ultra-chair, threw his newspaper on the floor in disgust. (Fat Rat, who was old-fashioned, still liked to read the newspaper, although all day long he received the latest news by hologram projection in the middle of the board room.) He flung out his little paws. “No one knows how to riot properly anymore,” he snarled.

Tommyrat looked up from some papers he was signing with his beautiful handwriting. “But a riot is… trouble, Boss. We don’t want any trouble from the lower classes. Sir,” he added.


Mister Fat Rat.

Mister Fat Rat.




Everyone in the elegant library of the mansion looked at Fat Rat now, who sat baring his teeth at nothing and digging his nails into the arms of his chair (ultrachair). Fat Rat, grand CEO of Always Investing Gonads Corp., seldom discussed business openly with his underlings except when he was issuing orders. A watchful silence fell, and all the rats regarded one another in sidelong glances.

Fat Rat leaned forward. “In the old days, there was a starch to them. The poor people, I mean. They were starchy, all of them. And when we put the pressure on, they’d yell and bite and put up a ruckus. It was interesting.”

Tommy blinked. “I don’t think they have the teeth anymore, sir. In fact” — he shuffled some pages — “their dental plans are practically nonexistent.” He smiled.

“Where are the pitchforks and torches?” Fat Rat yelled. “Where is the outrage, the ugly crowds? We just leaked to the press that we’re giving bonuses to our top staff totaling $165 million, and all the reaction we get is a busload or two of some very polite people asking politely if our guys would consider giving the bonuses back. Then some of them blessed us. Blessed us! Christ, if they get out of hand we’ll just call Nanny911.”

Tommy took off his small eyeglasses and pushed his chair back. “Sir,” he said. “In the present political climate, there is a negative outcome to activity on the part of the workers. Congress sees the populace as volatile, electionarily speaking. So when the workers hold up signs saying ‘Bonuses Unfair,’ Congress says they think so too.”

“I bought 20,000 shares of Pitchforks International last week. I was sure mob rule was about to happen, and they’d charge up the street holding the usual torches and pitchforks, and try to pull us from our beds. The very air smelled like — mob. ”

“Sir,” Tommyrat said, “it’s bad enough. They’re investigating us. They’re inventing new taxes for us.” He peered over his spectacles at his superior. “And of course there have been the threats.”

“No, our propaganda department spread that death-threat rumor. Don’t worry about that,” Fat Rat replied. He was gazing out the floor-to-ceiling window. He sighed. “We had to. The workers didn’t think of it.”

“You… actually bought pitchfork stock, sir?”

Fat Rat nodded. “I was hedging,” he snapped.

“Sir, in order to hedge in this instance, you would –”

“I know, I know. It was something else, I suppose. It was satisfying.”

Tommy punched numbers. “Ah. You are not in difficulties, however, sir. The price of pitchfork shares has not moved. No one in fact remembers what they are.” He squinted at the touchscreen of his ultraphone. “Evidently they are farm implements, sir? Each one costs approximately $34.95.”

From the chair nearby, an ancient, quavering rat spoke. ” I remember when a good old hay-pitchin’ fork would go for $2.75 and a couple of sticks of gum. Or you could swap for one if you had a nice pair of shoe-stretchers. Or if you talked polite to the storekeep, he’d let you have a pitchfork for a bottle of cold rooty-beer and a new nickel. That was back in the days when nickels had bumblebees on ’em.”

Tommy rolled his eyes. Fat Rat was still staring out the big window, looking quite lost and for the first time, old. “Bumble…bees,” he murmured. Tommy frowned.

An elegant chime rang somewhere in the hall, and a uniformed rat opened the door and announced a guest. “Mister Whiterat,” he said.

Fat Rat brightened as the newcomer, a snow-white rodent wearing a black homberg strode in. Tommyrat jumped to his feet and dragged a second ultrachair forward. “So, how’s it dangling, Whitey?” Fat Rat said.

Whitey twisted around to look. “Great. Just smashing.” He deposited himself into the soft ultrachair, then pushed back his sleeve to check the internet readout which danced in pictures and text across the inside of his forearm.

Fat Rat consulted his own forearm hurriedly. He hated appearing to be behind the latest news. Then he synched it with his thumbnail screen. He also gazed for a moment at the tony black hat WhiteRat tossed onto a table. His own headwear was almost always a silk top hat, and his friend’s hombergs puzzled him. He’d have to remember to take Whitey shopping. “A drink, Whitey?” He signaled to the butler, who brought forth a golden tray with whiskey, siphon, and chunky glasses. The two rats sipped companionably.

A beautiful top hat, sign of the successful man.

A beautiful top hat, sign of the successful man.



“So, Whitey, tell me your view on this populist anger — this populist nonsense we’re all worried about.”

“Poof,” said Whitey, waving a paw in the air.

“Poof?” said Fat Rat.

“Yes. It’s nothing. It’s about to blow away like vapor in the wind.”

“But can you operate with all this going on?” nagged Fat Rat. “As Tommy here insists on reminding me, they’re passing bills in Congress to do what the bailout didn’t. They’re adding conditions. This hasn’t happened in at least 2 decades, Whitey. Isn’t your stock going through the floor?”

“Not at all, not at all. My investments are fine. For instance I just bought a nice lot of shares of Octomom, and look how those are paying out! That woman can’t stay out of the news if she tries. Which I don’t think she has tried.”

“You bought Octomom? Well –”

“I’m a big shareholder. The entire public has a piece of her, you know. And in return we get to see the damn little whelplings any time we want. Make them roll, jump, do tricks for us. That’s the kind of ownership I like.”

Fat Rat turned pale. “Whitey, you’re strictly a stockbroker, not a banker like me. No one can own you.”

Whitey chewed his whisker and looked thoughtful. “Fatty, I’m sorry. You’re in a bind, aren’t you? The public might just realize it owns you, at 80% too. It could — well, what couldn’t it make you do?”

“My bonuses,” Fat Rat croaked. “My beautiful, beautiful bonuses.”

“And your stock options,” added Whitey.

“And my lovely lovely salary. Capped?” screamed Fat Rat.

Whitey bowed his head as his fat friend began to weep. Just then, his fluffy ultra-dog Spanky ran in and put his head on Fat Rat’s knee. Fat Rat patted the dog’s head. “Good old Spanky,” he said. “Good boy.” Spanky licked his hand and began to oscillate, his ears rising and falling in proper ultradog fashion. Spanky, who had cost more than $200,000 to whelp, and came back from every magnetic adjustment even more faithful and true, knew how to cheer up his master. He did so, now.


“Divestiture,” Spanky barked. “New position.”

Fat Rat stared at his dog. “What was that, boy?”


Spanky the Ultradog.

Spanky the Ultradog.



Spanky whined, and pawed at him. Whitey leaned forward. “Now, that’s one wise dog you’ve bought. Listen to him.”

“Ye-es,” Fat Rat said. “He makes a good point. I don’t own Always Investing Gonads (AIG) myself, do I? I’m merely an employee.”

“Go on,” encouraged his companion.

“I currently have an outstanding compensation package, although our stock price has fallen by 60% since this time last year.”

“Go on; you’re at a simmer,” urged Whitey.

“Those personal shares in the company can be sold immediately. I have lots of severance salary, a nice retirement package, and perks like a limo and driver and use of the corporate jets. My salary this year may be only $1, but what do I care?”

“You’ve got it exactly,” yelled Whitey.

“I’m going to make a call to the board of Bank of Assets (BOASS) and see if they’d like to take me on. It’s time for a new job, this one smells!”

Spanky barked and jumped; Whitey shouted a hurrah. Tommy, jumping to refill their glasses, coughed significantly. Fat Rat said, “And of course you’re coming with me, Tommy.” Tommy did a dance and filled a glass for himself. The three rats clinked their glasses.

The old rat in the nearby (ordinary) chair said weakly, “I remember when dogs didn’t talk; they only barked when someone fell down a well or something. And they never, ever gave financial advice.”

“Shut up, you old coot,” said Tommy. “We have ultradogs and the Internet from Neptune on our wrists and golden top hats and flying yachts and ultrachairs and fine whiskey. And we’re going to keep them.”

“Here’s to capitalism,” shouted Fat Rat.

“To capitalism,” dittoed Whitey.

“Capitalism!” barked Spanky.