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Ben Bernanke’s Blog

Overheard: "At least we saved Goldman Sachs"

By Ben Bernanke

Bio & Blog

Next to the huge economic crisis, the most unfortunate thing about the past two weeks has been having to spend so much time with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. I never could stand investment bankers. They're always trying to sell you something. Since the people are calling for more transparency in our decision making, here's a transcript of our conference call:

Hank Paulson: Ben, this free market shit isn't working for us anymore. The bankers aren't making any money and are being held accountable for their losses.

Me: That's how free markets work. Remember when Lloyd [Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sacks] got that bonus check of almost $70 million just last year? Should he take the losses too?

Hank: Lloyd, that little shit. Good thing I had to sell my $500 million of Goldman stock before I took office. Betty [that's Hank's secretary, she just won Secretary of the Month], get Lloyd on the phone.

Lloyd: Hey Hank. Oh, Ben's on too? Hi Ben. I got a little worried when you let Lehman go bankrupt, but they could barely pretty up a PowerPoint anyhow. So I guess if you'll bail AIG we have nothing to worry about. Imagine how the world would feel if they heard Goldman was out of business.

Hank: Lloyd, if I have to bail Goldman out, my former fucking company, I will look like an asshole in front of the whole country.

Me: Don't you already?

Hank: Shut up Ben. We're trying to do a deal here.

Lloyd: So you won't bail us out?

Hank: Of course I will, but I'll have to bail out the whole fucking system with you so it looks good. But I'm not doing this for nothing. In the time of this conference call, I just wrote a three page piece of legislation on my BlackBerry. I'm going to buy all your assets that are worth 50% of what you paid for them for 80% of what you paid for them.

Me: I thought you had an iPhone.

Lloyd: Thank you!

Hank:  No so fast. Before I buy your shit assets, you're going to become a bank holding company. Why? That will let me regulate your ass. Lloyd, you and the rest of Wall Street is working for me again.

9/22/2008 11:07 AM, Washington DC

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Samuel L. Jackson:

You motherfuckers couldn't find your assholes with both hands and a flashlight. Fix this shit already, before I have to commit to Snakes on a Plane 2. I can't stand me no more motherfucking snakes on anymore motherfucking planes.

9/22/2008 5:35 PM

John McCain:

My friends, my story begins in 19-dickety-two. We had to say "dickety" 'cause that Kaiser had stolen our word "twenty". I chased that rascal to get it back, but gave up after dickety-six miles... Did I mention I was a POW?

Where's my nurse?

9/22/2008 6:48 PM


Is that an onion on your belt, old man?

9/22/2008 7:06 PM

Ashley Alexandra Dupre:

Did someone say dickety?

9/23/2008 7:57 AM

John McCain:

No, my friend, it's just that something down there smells like an onion. And please stop calling me "old," the politically correct term is decrepit.

9/23/2008 9:17 AM

Warren Buffett:

The United States Government is capitalizing on a comprehensional failure of the human mind – the inability to fully grasp the magnitude of large numbers. Upon hearing numbers beyond a few thousand our brains interpret it as, “Wow, that’s a big number!” with no tangible image to relay exactly how big. So, let’s start with a One Dollar Bill. We can understand $1.00, right?

According to the United States treasury, a One Dollar Bill has a thickness of 0.0043 inches. So $1,000 in One Dollar Bills would be one thousand times thicker -- 4.3 inches.

One million is one thousand thousands, so the thickness of $1,000,000 is 4300 inches. Converting to feet and this becomes 358.3 feet, an American football field.

One billion -- $1,000,000,000 is one thousand times thicker still or 358,333.3 feet. This is 67.866 miles, the driving distance from New York City to Milford CT.

One Trillion is one thousand billions – one trillion One Dollar Bills stacked one on top of another is 67,866 miles. This would circumnavigate the globe 2.73 times.

The proposed 700 Billion Dollar bailout alone would be a stack of One Dollar Bills stretching 47,506.2 miles, or 1.90 times around the globe.

A stack of One Dollar Bills totaling the current national debt cap of 10.6 trillion dollars would go around the equator 28.93 times. The proposed cap of 11.3 trillion dollars would go around 30.85 times.

Is creating a debt that is the equivalent of a stack of One Dollar Bills rounding planet 31 times a responsible act?

9/23/2008 9:24 PM

George W. Bush:

You speak with words me can even understand. Thank you Jimmy Buffett. Me got sleep now. Wake me up when someone else fixes my poopy mess. Hee-haw !?! Sleepy time. Bye, bye.

9/24/2008 9:00 AM

George W. Bush:

Fixed yet? No? Market still no good? Did you say plunge? Me responsible? How can everything that me do turn out so poopy? Jimmy Buffett let me down. Me needed better help. Me go back to bed now. Wake me when you guys elect someone else to fix 'em messes. Everyone hate me anyway. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

10/6/2008 3:37 PM

George W. Bush:

What you say now? North Korea moving forward with the Bomb? Geez, I thought we'd bought dem little guys off!?! How's the market? Did you say plunge again? Yikes! Me can't seem to do nothing right. Everything me do turns into one big poopy mess! Why even wake me and tell me about it? You say you like it when my ulcers bleed? Everyone mean to me now! How many days before I can begin my speaking tour? You say no one wants to hear from me when my term ends? That's it, leave me alone, so I can cry myself to sleep in peace.

10/9/2008 4:21 PM

George W. Bush:

What now? Why can't you leave me wither in peace? Heck you say - did you say plunge AGAIN? It's so bad Cheney's heart's all out of whack? Cheney has a heart? What else? There's a movie out about my life? You say it makes me look like a drunken Jesus-freak? Sounds about right. Did you also say imbecile? Your words destroy my self-esteem. You say my actions and inactions have destroyed my legacy? That's it, I'm going to an undisclosed location; that weak-hearted Dick can take it from here.

10/15/2008 5:33 PM

George W. Bush:

Yes? How did you get this number? The black guy destroyed McCainey at the polls? How come you guys didn't rig 'em like we did the last couple of times? You say you did and he still lost? How could that be? You say I destroyed the Republican brand? McCain was a Republican? Anyway, I'm sure our international allies are disappointed with the outcome. Did you say they were dancing in the streets? Where, Iran? Did you say England, Spain, France, Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico? Did you also say America? I see . . . well, how'd that movie about my life do at the box office? Did you say tanked? Did you also say that no one wants to see the progression of one man's sheer ignorance accompanied by incompetence? Is that a crack about me being both dumb and evil at the same time? What does dumber than dumb even mean?Why'd you call me anyway? Yes, I heard you, and I hate you right back, now leave me alone, I'm reacquainting myself with cocaine and booze, as I kind of liked that drunken imbecile I used to be. I don't care if you haven't noticed a difference the last 8 years. Stop calling!!!

11/5/2008 2:24 PM