Wall Street and The Love of Gambling

Wall Street firms historically were the worst of the gamblers. We can now include the Big Banks in that group too. For example, Bank of America’s stock sank by about 40% over the last few months, but it has decided it loves its own sh– I mean, debt. BoA loves its own debt, and is thinking about watering down its stock to make more money so it can buy back its own debt. The said debt had gone through a lessening in value so it might be a bargain if they bought it back now. But why on earth would they want to? Because they’re Too Big To Fail?

The gambling banks really like to gamble. It’s a chance to stare death in the face, and a lot of them don’t seem to care if they win. They just want that encounter with death. There’s a poker player who comes to mind now: Eskimo Clark, a bracelet winner in the World Series of Poker some years back. He has been said to have had more than one stroke at the table, but refused to leave and give up his poker hand. A couple of years ago, the last WSOP I believe he competed in, he’d obviously had a medical emergency; he was falling out of his chair and had pissed himself. But he insisted he would continue playing. It seems he owed so much the only way he could pay it back was to end in the money somewhere in the event. Finally the tournament directors, or someone, called an ambulance and he was removed to a hospital.

A sickening story. When he first jumped into my thoughts, it was because of Bank of America’s doings. BoA was like the desperate poker player. But now maybe I think — we are Eskimo Clark. We have not yet removed ourselves from the table to get needed help. (No action from Congress, no Glass-Steagall reinstatement, no tax on financial transactions to cure the deficit, no jobs bill, no nothing.) What the hell are we doing here? Are we waiting to see what it would be like to die?

Now that Detroit has turned into Tom-All-Alone’s, and other Michigan cities are taking part in that Dickensian nightmare too, why don’t we just all sit back and read about Justin Bieber’s paternity suit and Kim Kardashian’s divorce?

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