Oh Bernie. Bernie, Bernie. I'm sorry but he's a likable guy. I've been reading lots of profiles including one today in New York Magazine, and he's our very own version of P. T. Barnum. Smoke and mirrors. Dancing Girls. Grand gestures. He sold and we bought. He's the emblematic patron saint of all the base and greedy instincts in all of us. I have a designer bag on a credit card that now has a 25% APR. He's the macrocosm and I'm the microcosm. As above, so below.
Honestly, it's funny.
I support the President. I helped elect him into office. And the moment I heard the words bail out --- I knew it was fait accompli. Even though instinct told me that we were letting white collar criminals run the show and get away with murder. Part of me, would like to see the whole thing crash. From a strictly theoretical point of view, it would be interesting, no, fascinating, to watch how the "free market" would recreate itself. I bet even Allen Greenspan would learn a few things.
I fear that we have merely put an old financial model on life support. The other analogy that comes to mind is a kind of economic cannibalism--- taxpayers support failing businesses and banks so that taxpayers can reap the benefits (employment, annuities, real estate 401K's, etc.) of said institutions. Am I the only person in the room who thinks this is crazy? CEO's, CFO's and their ilk fucked up and fucked us. Bernie is just the show dog in a performance of major hitters. Bernie will probably go to jail, but there are many who won't.
Instead we are giving them money.
This is why I like Bernie. This is why, when I am feeling cynical and tough, I laugh with him and at him.
Illustration by Darrow for New York Magazine