There Oughtta Be A Law! (There Is One In California)

Some complain that hedge funds, ratings agencies, and reporters, are intentionally trying to ruin the reputations of certain companies (like Washington Mutual), and there oughtta be a law against that. There is, in fact. California has a law which punishes those who knowingly spread lies about a firm--though, like libel, you have to prove malice as well.

Here's the wording of California's Financial Code Section 5307: "Whoever willfully and knowingly makes, issues, circulates, transmits, or causes or knowingly permits to be made, issued, circulated, or transmitted, any statement or rumor which is written, printed, reproduced in any manner, or communicated by word of mouth, that is untrue in fact and is directly or by inference false, or malicious in that it is calculated to injure the reputation or business, financial condition, or standing of any association shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison, or by both that fine and imprisonment."

Funny Business readers are not happy with the proposed bailout package.

Steven G. writes a hilarious fake email worded like it's from a Nigerian scammer, minus the misspellings:
Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transaction is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully

Minister of Treasury Paulson

Ed P. calculates the cost of what he's calling the "People's Donation". I don't know what interest rate he used, but it's depressing:

"According to the census there are about 100 million households in America (adjusted from year 2000 with the factor posted on their website) The "People's Donation" (Fed Bank Bailout) of $700 billion will cost each household about $7,500 if my math is correct. This amount will be reflected in the inflation of goods and services caused by the printing of more money to pay for the debt caused by the Corporate Bigwigs loaning money on risky math. These loans were quickly bundled into pools of Mortgage Backed Securities and sold on the open market like a stock. Blocks of these stocks were then reshuffled as Collateralized Debt Obligations, and sold again, like a stock. Each time a portion of the future returns from the interest on these loans was siphoned off. This allowed the Corporate Bigwigs to hide the bad loans with the good ones suck the money out and sell them to Mutual Funds and other Countries like Russia and China assuring them it was good stuff. This was done in an effort to enhance the ginned up balance sheet and create the appearance of huge profits on paper. This allowed the Corporate Bigwigs to justify the huge salary, stock options, and bonuses which were ultimately based upon this House of Cards with rot in the foundation. Adding up all the Corporate Bigwigs compensation for all the years this went undetected, invested well, it just might be close to $700 billion.....Yes, folks you really are going to pay for it, over and over again. It is just $7,500.......amortized over 30 years, bundled and sold as an MBS then rebundled and sold as a CDO...

Principal borrowed: $7,500.00

Total Repaid: $19,814.32

Total Interest Paid: $12,314.32

Interest as percentage of Principal: 164.191%

From Greg:
"This $700 billion bailout is ABSURD. We are going to bail out banks so they can overcharge us for loans that we cannot repay ? Get with it. Let them fail. Put the money into a couple hundred airports, power plants, road projects, etc. Not only will the money be going to the people who do the work , it would help the unemployment/housing problems. PLEASE, Take a breath and apply some common sense."

  • Details of the Democratic Proposal
  • What the Treasury Plan Will Cost
  • Protect Your Portfolio: Money Guide
  • Video Roundup: Paulson's Tumultuous Year
  • Questions? Comments? Funny Stories? Email