"Monopoly Olympics for the grand masters of the universe"

The estimable William Greider, writing in The Nation, has translated Krugman and Stiglitz’s prose condemnation of Geithner’s plan into a poetic metaphor:

President Obama has invented a new board game for Wall Street money guys to play that promises to be a lot of fun. It’s very much like the regular Monopoly game that kids play—only better—because this one uses real money, provided courtesy of the taxpayers. The best thing about Obama’s game is nobody loses. Usually, the winner in Monopoly is the one who winds up with the most money. In the Obama version, the losers get any losses back from the government at the end of the game…

The president hands out tall stacks of cash to all the players—hedge funds, insurance companies, big-time investors, any well-heeled capitalist with a serious taste for acquiring greater wealth…

Only adults are allowed to play this game. It is much too complicated for ordinary citizens so sophisticated financiers are needed to do such tricky deals. But Americans at large can have fun watching the action and rooting for various participants… It’s like Monopoly Olympics for the grand masters of the universe. Will Warren Buffett take a seat at the table? Bill Gross, the PIMCO bond king, is salivating at the prospect of double-digit returns and says Obama’s game is “win-win-win.” Can billionaire George Soros resist such an opportunity? Will legendary traders at Goldman Sachs square off against James A. Baker III’s Carlyle Group with its oil-rich Arab backers? What a kick that these famous people will be playing with our money.

Posted by James on Wednesday, March 25, 2009