Once again, humorists are unable to compete with reality. This has confused my wife. Judith: That stuff you wrote for Paulson wasn't funny. Steve: What stuff? J: That limiting executive pay would cause banks to refuse the bailout. S: I didn't write it, and it's not a joke. Paulson knows that if a Wall Street partner were drowning, one would hear the following: Partner: Help, I'm drowning.
Lifeguard: I'll throw you a life preserver.
Partner: What's the charge?
Lifeguard: Five dollars.
Partner: Two and three-eighths. And that's my final offer. J: You wrote Paulson's lame joke that banks could not retain their most valued employees if they limited executive pay. I recognize your leaden irony. Where would they go? Merrill, Bear Stearns, AIG, WaMu, Wachovia? S: Again Paulson wasn't joking. He fears a talent flight from bailed-out banks to the firms that will advise the Treasury on the bailout. There will be big fees here. J: You mean the scam artists who caused the financial meltdown will now be hired to fix it. S: Who do you think is going to advise the Treasury? The Sierra Club? J: The line you wrote for McCain about how he would end greed on Wall Street wasn't funny either. Hyperbole can be funny, but not deranged fantasy. Wall Street without greed is as likely as Seattle without rain. S: McCain is serious. He knows that on Wall Street the only antidote to greed is fear. With Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency, fear may be sufficient to dampen greed. J: Regarding Palin, that bit you wrote for her and Katie Couric wasn't funny because it wasn't believable. S: I didn't write it. J: Don't lie to me. I recognize your over-the-top absurdist voice. You also wrote those sick jokes for Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton "might have been a better (veep) pick," and asking wheel chair-bound Chuck Graham to "stand up" at a rally. S: I'm not writing for Biden. I'm not writing for Palin. J: Yes you are. And you made the sarcastic suggestion that if we allow banks to avoid marking to market, we can fib our way out of this financial crisis. S: That wasn't my idea. That came from the House Republicans. Lying to America has worked for them for decades. J: You have to stop writing for politicians. It was your idea of a joke to have House Minority Leader Boehner claim that thirteen Republicans voted against the bailout because Nancy Pelosi made a partisan remark. They were shocked, shocked by a partisan remark on the floor of the House of Representatives. S: I didn't write this. Boehner did it on his own. Republicans are very sensitive. You would be too if you had to defend creationism, unfettered markets, and the Bush administration.