Hank Paulson's bailout 419 letter

Hal sends us this "brilliant satiric email phrasing Hank Paulson's giant Wall Street bailout as Nigerian spam."
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 transactin 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 wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov 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

Bailout Satire (Thanks, Hal!)


  1. Ha ha! I love mocking things… it’s so much easier than putting forth the effort to legitimately understand them!

  2. Some things are beyond satire. What Paulson has plannned for the U.S. is unconscionable. His proposal has carved legislative and judicial exemptions for himself and will derail any hope of a decent future for the poor plebs (me-self included) who will pay for the privelige of making the creditors whole. Now, look up for yourself who the hell the “creditors” are.

    They are right bastards of the first order.

  3. Close, but not quite …

    1. It needs to be IN ALL CAPS.

    2. There aren’t nearly enough misspellings and grammatical errors.

  4. @#2

    If you need help understanding Paulson’s power grab, I’m sure plenty of folks would be happy to explain it to you. Would hate for you to miss out on the comedy.

  5. There’s an interesting article pointing out that this equates to socialist-style nationalisation…

    Not that I’m commenting on the relative merits or not of the nationalisation of institutions, but it is deeply amusing that a far-right leaning Republican administration should be the one responsible for “largest lurch toward socialism that [the] country has ever seen”.

  6. The greatest swindle in History. Thanks Republicans, for bankrupting the US so badly there will never be any money for anything. Heckova job.

  7. …Oh, this makes me wish I still had my copy of that Wes Crusher MAKE CREDITS FAST parody I did back in ’88. The sad part about this one, tho, is that it’s too true to be really that funny.

  8. It’s not a great analogy. Any loan could construed to sound like an advance-fee fraud, since one party is asking for money from the other in exchange for more money in the future. Whether or not the loan is really advance-fee fraud depends on (1) whether the loaning party has the means to foreclose on the borrower for non-payment, and (2) whether the loaning party has the means to assess the borrower’s ability and likelihood to repay. The bailout certainly meets both of these criteria (not to be a scam), since the federal government surely has the power to gather sufficient credit-related information about any finanical institution receiving bailout loans, and the means to foreclose on any defaulting company.

    The unfortunate thing about the bailout is that, by nature of the bailout strategy, the federal government won’t take advantage of either of these means to assess and temper the riskiness of their loans. The point of the bailout is to keep big financial institutions from going bankrupt, so foreclosure is not a real option; and since the loans are to keep failing companies from going bankrupt, the federal government also doesn’t want to give the loans based on companies ability to repay — they want the loans to go to companies that are the least likely to repay (the ones hurt hardest by the financial crisis). So the bailout is based not only on the premise that the liquidity offered to banks via these loans will be enough to take them from failing to profitable, but also that they will actually use the loans for this purpose despite the fact that their recent history shows them inept at turning liquitidy into profit, and the government’s “don’t let them fail” strategy gives them little incentive to make enough money to repay these loans.

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