Last night Agnes and I sat down with our financial advisor for our latest survey of the huge, smoking crater where our retirement savings used to be. This is always difficult for me, partly because it re-kindles my rage at the entire financial management industry, and partly because I have always been confused by economics. The intricacies of German and Russian grammar - no problem. Translating government pronouncements from Old Church Slavonic into English - a snap. Understanding the arcane voodoo-speak of those who deal in economics - forget it.
So I sat there at the kitchen table while Agnes and our advisor earnestly debated whether our depleted retirement savings will allow us to dine on kibble, or if we'll be able to afford Alpo, and whether we'll be able to keep paying the bank for the privilege of living in our house. While they debated the intricacies of various investment strategies, I recalled my observation that the financial management industry is the only one I know of which can charge you large fees while promising absolutely nothing. Yes, that's right - take a look at the latest letter or e-mail from your bank or broker or financial management specialist...chances are, there are at least five paragraphs of small print at the bottom that all say some variant of "we guarantee you absolutely nothing except that we will collect management fees from you."
I sure wish my job worked that way.
Anyhow, my grouchy review of the twisted wreckage of my retirement funds led me to see the "humor" in this riff on the economy. Yes, my friends, the economy is so bad that ...
I opened the mail and found a pre-declined credit card.
I ordered a Whopper at Burger King and they asked me, "Can you afford fries with that?"
CEOs now play miniature golf.
Exxon-Mobil has laid off 25 Congressmen.
The bank returned my check marked "Insufficient Funds" and I had to call them to ask if they meant me or them.
Stock in Hot Wheels is trading higher than GM.
McDonalds is selling a quarter-ouncer.
The Mafia is laying off judges.
Beverly Hills parents are firing their nannies and having to learn their children's names.
A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.
Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.
Motel Six has stopped leaving the light on.
How bad do you think it is? Inquiring minds want to know.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.