Lap Dances: A Leading Indicator — But of What?

According to an article published today in the British tabloid The Sun, English bankers have gone on a bender of booze and strippers.

Exotic Dancer
Exotic Dancer

Staff at Spearmint Rhino, an upscale "gentleman's club" in London's West End, have seen attendance rise a staggering 35%. (I have never been to Spearmint Rhino, so I can't vouch for the validity of their data gathering methodology — but hey, if their numbers are wrong, there will almost certainly be less damage than from the alleged misrepresentations in Bank of America's pooling and servicing agreements.)

Spearmint Rhino's American manager, John Specht, says "He has never seen anything like it." He then adds: "I've been in LA, Vegas, Florida, but these guys are something else."

So there you have it. America truly no longer leads the world in anything. Not in auto manufacture, not in math and science — and not in rowdy bar room romps with high end strippers. (As a patriot, I'd hoped we could maintain our global competitiveness in this last category for decades to come — at least until the consumation of China's inevitable rise, around 2025.)

And, as we lament one further blow to our national prestige, it's worth once again remarking on Goldman Sachs' astonishing market prescience. Lloyd Blankfein had raised precisely this issue of regulatory arbitrage over a month ago at the Eurofi conference — long before reports were confirmed by management at Spearmint Rhino that top global stripping talent had in fact decamped to The City, in search of "cheaper and less intrusive regions." And now it's too late: I hope you're happy, Office of Thrift Supervision.

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