11 October 2008

Saturday funnies

Kai Ryssdal is the the host of NPR's Marketplace and is one of my favorite voices in the media. Marketplace makes listening to financial news interesting and occasionally, fun. Last week, the "Marketplace Players" mounted a one-act play to explain the credit collapse of '08. Here it is:

SELLER:[sound of door opening] All right. So glad to hear the Union of Mothers and Nurses Pension Fund is keen to invest with us, Mr. Moron.

BUYER: Actually, That's Mah-RONE.

SELLER: Oh, do pardon me.

BUYER: Happens all the time. Now, we really took a hit when Lead Paint Toyco went under, so we'd like some big, quick returns here.

SELLER: Then have I got the product for you. It's called a reverse sub-micro-standard mortgage shadow security and -- do you hold a degree in rocket science?

BUYER: Nope.

SELLER: Hmm. Well then, simply put, what we do is take semi-insured debts that've been sold to us from inelastic bubble markets, vertically resell, then unbundle the revenues according to Moody's astro-logarithm.

BUYER: Astro ...

SELLER: Astro-logarithm, which gives a monetized valuation that has itself been subdivided into A-3 and G-minus pumpkin patch. You following?
BUYER: Not at all!

SELLER: Great; me neither, really! This thing was invented by some eggheads we keep in a cave.

BUYER: Please, continue.

SELLER: Right. So, I think the Q-grades are dumped and leveraged upwards across 25 underplummeries? Our unicorn gives it a kick, and presto: you've got 300 percent annual growth.

BUYER: Now, you just said "unicorn." There is such a thing?

SELLER: Uhhh. Kind of? Honestly, I don't know. Don't care!

BUYER: Well, you also said "300 percent." So, I'm sold!

SELLER: OK! How much you want?

BUYER: How about far more than we can afford?

SELLER:[HIGH VOICE] Sweet.

BUYER: Great doing business with you, Mr. Exploiter.

SELLER: Actually, that's Ex-PLAH-tee-ay.

BUYER: Whatevs!

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