Wall Street Gives Back—To Itself
How are the fallen titans of finance repenting for their misdeeds?
• “I guess I was shamed into it,” admits a widely villified Wall Street financier in announcing that he is donating most of his $4 billion personal fortune to a charity he has founded to assist the less fortunate. “I’m a lot less fortunate these days,” he noted, “so my charity’s funds will be directed at me.”
• Supplying food for the needy is how one soon-to-be-indicted banker plans to show his less-venal side. He’s having crates of fresh truffles from his Tuscan estate delivered to hungry New Yorkers waiting in his personal dining room high above his firm’s New York headquarters. “Of course, the crates are all stamped ‘Office Supplies,’” he notes. “I know how jealous those federal bailout snoops would be.”
They know that for at least for another week or so, they’ll have the Cabernet Sauvignons and Cohibas and Hammacher Schlemmer ultrasonic dog-foot warmers that give their lives meaning.
• One guilt-stricken executive, late of the bond market, has donated his personal Gulfstream V to a program that drops relief supplies on a weekly run to isolated settlements in the far west.
“It’s the same in Palm Springs, Aspen, Jasper, and Acapulco,” he marvels. “My vacationing pals’ eyes light up when they see that plane circling overhead. They know that for at least for another week or so, they’ll have the Cabernet Sauvignons and Cohibas and Hammacher Schlemmer ultrasonic dog-foot warmers that give their lives meaning. And you know what? It feels good to give back.”
• Teaching is one other disgraced Wall Street titan’s way of showing he cares. He’s setting up a tuition-free school in Harlem, so disadvantaged youngsters can learn the basics of arbitrage. The most gifted among them will gain interviews with top financial institutions, the titan explains—“And then we can hire them to work their asses off for next to nothing!”
• Meanwhile, another disgraced mogul is giving back a portion of his wheeler-dealer profits to fund private medical research in the exciting new field of retroactive surgery, he bubbles, “and the challenging quest to find out if my vasectomy and my new wife’s last facelift can be reversed.”
• Something about American financiers’ vast ill-gotten gains enrages the less fortunate these days; that’s why one has converted his $1 billion cash hoard into Bhutanese ngultrums. “Nobody knows what the hell a Bhutanese ngultrum is worth,” he gloats, “so the pressure’s off. It might as well be Monopoly money to the average American dolt—but it’ll keep me in $1,000 wastebaskets forever!”
• And let’s hear it for the Wall Street wunderkind who’s giving up his $250,000 company Bentley Continental, used mostly for short Midtown trips, in favor of personal transportation that consumes no petroleum and burns no hydrocarbons. “But can you believe it?” he asks, more in sorrow than in anger, “the jealous nitpickers still give me grief—even though a sedan chair is a totally green machine!”
Bruce McCall is a writer and artist whose satirical works are a staple of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. His latest book, Marveltown, is climbing the children's best-\seller list, albeit, at a stately pace.