Wall St. vs. Main St.

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I know people are divided on this topic, but I thought I would share this tidbit was running around the trading desk today. For those of you who are Jack Nicholson fans out there, or even those of you who remember the movie "A Few Good Men" this should be good, but honestly everyone should be able to get a chuckle out of this.

"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

Son, we live in a country with an investment gap. And that gap needs to be filled by men with money. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Middle Class Consumer?

Goldman Sachs has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Lehman and you curse derivatives. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that Lehman's death, while tragic, probably saved the financial system. And that Goldman's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pension funds.

You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us to fill that investment gap. You need us to fill that gap. We use words like credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and securitizations? We use these words as the backbone of a life spent investing in something. You use 'em as a punchline.

We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a commoner who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very credit we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it! We'd rather you just said thank you and paid your taxes on time. Otherwise, we suggest you get an account and start trading. Either way, we don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"

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In the same vein:

"I can tell you what's in those CDOs, but then I would have to kill you" Arnold Schwarzenegger

"A CDO is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you're gonna get" Tom Hanks

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I don't think people are all that divided on it, with the possible exception of people who actually work at investment banks. The GOP senators admitted as much today when they stopped blocking debate on the reform bill. The consensus is with those of us who are unsophisticated enough to suggest that Capitalism had survived all the way up to Phil Graham without credit default swaps.

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