02 December 2008

"Guest Post" from "Dutch" on the State of the Economy

"Dutch" is an American ex-patriate living in the Netherlands for the past seven and a half years. He is well-read on many topics, boasts an IQ of 151 (and just as proud that MENSA rejected him, since they require a 161 IQ), and is a keen observer of his surroundings. "Dutch" was blogging before it became "cool" (he paid out of pocket for the name rights to a URL back in 2002) but is quite selective of which writings end up in cyberspace. The American obsession with consumerism (despite impending depression) fascinates him as well. 

Background Info: In the Netherlands, the "big gift day" is
Sinterklaas. It's regarded as a "secular" day and it is my understanding that some very assimilated Jews will observe it since it's "not actually Christmas". December 25, on the other hand, is reserved for religious observances. 

Sinter Klaas Goes to Wall Street

Sinter Klaas visited New York City this year.
This rhyme is about his visit.

As his birthday approached in 2008,

Sinter Klaas visited the Empire State,

in order to witness America's fate,

and how it affects the low and the great.


He sailed up the East River in his sloop,

and was welcomed by an enormous troupe

of Santa Clauses working the strip.

They approached him as he alit from his ship.


"Who is that guy, some kind of Santa?"

shouted one Saint Nick, just in from Atlanta.

"No," cried another. "He's like our brother.

I heard about him once from my Dutch Grandmother."


Old Sint looked for a place to make his speech,

from where the most people could be reached.

He chose the steps of the City Hall

Where a crowd gathered to hear his call,

his warning of a Great Moral Fall.


"I am Sinter Klaas. I come from old Spain.

I am not Santa. Please let me explain.

Santa Claus showers kids with candy canes,

lives up north, and summers with the Danes.

But I know what the hearts of people contain!


"I'm no Ricardo or John Maynard Keynes,

I've never had short-term capital gains.

But I have come here today to explain

what has happened on Wall Street, and on Main.

And hopefully soothe your emotional pain. "


"At the root of the problem lies a monstrous greed.

Unscrupulous lenders have taken the lead,

promising people their home values would double,

blowing up a giant housing bubble."


"And after so many workers have gotten the axe

Here comes this guy from Soldman Gax,

saying all is well and just to relax,

But is he one of those financial quacks?

Who doesn't really know all the facts?

Such as that inflation is a hidden tax? "


"All around me I see real need.

More people should subscribe to a higher creed.

The ancients taught us lessons we should heed

about the spiritual dangers of so much greed."


"Although Sinter Klaas knows just who to blame

We cannot abuse our powers and name names

And subject even loathsome persons to ill-fame.

I come in peace; to instruct is my aim. "


"For some CEOs I've brought lumps of coal,

and warned them to keep off the dole.

Greedy bankers get cash smeared with fake poop

And vats of loose change and gunky green goop."


"And others get old T-Bills shredded to bits,

and old army scrip mixed together with grits.

And junk-bonds wrapped with small meaty bits.

If you love money, that is all you will get!

But this love of money you will learn to regret!"


"Because we've suffered some unfair shocks.

I shall leave such gifts in shoes and in socks,

I'd always thought of Wall Street as a rock.

But mortgage-based assets became a crock,

just a Great Pyramid of worthless stock,

so I knew that Chance had come to knock. "


"Not to make cash, but to turn back the clock.

to give people a chance to take stock.

Americans want change; they voted for Barack.

More investors to the dollar have flocked,

despite the billions spent fighting in Iraq,

and the houses for sale on every block. "


"(But Our house is in order, truth be told.

Old Sinter Klaas has saved his gold!

So We've never had capital losses to compute

and an ounce has always bought a new suit,

despite the ravages of hyper-inflation,

taxes, world wars, or debt monetization.)"


"The wheel of life turns on, endlessly.

And while we are tossed about like ships at sea,

by the ups and downs of the S&P,


Some years there’s just no growth in GDP. "


"Perhaps this crisis is heaven-sent,

showing our moral values have been bent,

by the desire to see every last cent,

yield returns of more than eight percent."


"Laying waste to nature is no guarantee

of endless growth of  the economy.

But if you have life and limb and are free,

If you treat all persons with dignity,

you can become who you were meant to be. "


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