>WASHINGTON, D.C. – Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today reassured nervous rich people that they will not be forced to endure under-$1000-a-bottle wine, smaller yachts or fewer mansions, saying, “As I told Congress, with my new financial dictatorial powers, I will do all I can to make sure we use this money wisely, and eliminate any undue suffering by billionaires, the most vulnerable segment in America. After all, hard-working CEOs, investment bankers and the just plain filthy rich are the backbone of our economy, and if we can save them, we can save America.”
At the press conference, held just after the bailout package was approved, Paulson explained that “billionaires are the most vulnerable precisely because they have the most to lose” and that poor people will basically just stay poor no matter what. “Imagine this country without our billionaires – how could we call ourselves great?” he added.
Asked what he plans to do to help the middle class, Paulson answered, “What are they expecting? We’re not a socialist country, after all. Now if Joe Sixpack owned, say, a boatload of mortgage-backed securities – well, we would work to help him keep that boat afloat. But if he just squandered a few thousand bucks in some bad investments, well, welcome to the school of hard knocks. We’re not running a charity here.”
Paulson did assure reporters that the administration has compassion for the middle class, however, saying, “We have confidence in the American people, that they are resourceful and hard-working, and they will be fine. The best way to help them is to let them help themselves. We don’t need to coddle them – the press shouldn’t underestimate them, either.”
Paulson then introduced the man tapped to oversee spending for the $700 billion financial rescue plan, Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old assistant Treasury secretary for international affairs. He worked under Paulson before, at Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking and securities firm.
Kashkari said that, “As a relative outsider to the financial industry, I hope to bring a fresh perspective.” Asked whether the Treasury would ignore the middle class, Kashkari said, “It’s not true that hard-working Americans will not benefit from this bailout. By giving all the money to the billionaire bankers who caused the problem, we are sternly telling them in no uncertain terms: ‘You made this mess and now you have to clean it up!’ This is part of our tough love policy – and the results will trickle down to the middle class.”
Billionaires have already been reporting some relief, and promised to in fact relieve themselves further by “trickling down” on the public. But they warn that they may need much more money than previously requested. “If you give me $100 billion more today, I will gladly pay it back Tuesday,” said one, while munching on a gourmet buffalo burger with real gold flakes instead of sesame seeds on the bun.
Meanwhile, since the bailout was passed, public mood seems to be improving, with polls showing 57% are happy to go further in debt to boost billionaires’ bank accounts, 32% saying multi-millionaires should get some too, and 11% saying why not just burn the cash in lieu of heating oil this winter.
In related news, the Fed has reported that they are printing so much money that the Department of Energy is indeed working with them in a pilot project to use it for heating fuel in low rent areas of major cities this winter.