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Business/Economy

Bernanke Testifies That Ben Bernanke is Pretty Sick of Testifying

Washington – Appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testified that “Ben Bernanke is frankly pretty sick of testifying to committees like these.” Mr. Bernanke has testified several times before House and Senate committees regarding the current financial crisis gripping the country. He did not specify whether he was referring to himself when speaking of ‘Ben Bernanke,’ and if he was, why he referred to himself in the third person.

What he did say was that ‘Ben Bernanke’ had testified before Congress many times, and that he had reached his limit. “How many committees can there possibly be?” Bernanke asked. “Ben Bernanke feels like he’s been sitting at a table like this, in front of one committee or another, like, a million times. Like he lives in front of committees. He gets confused, he’s testified so much. In fact, which committee are you? The Finance Committee? Budget Committee? Senate? House? Ben Bernanke has no idea. He just knows he’s sitting in this chair with a glass of water and a microphone in front of him, as he seems to be doing every waking moment of his life.”

Barney Frank, the committee’s chairman, told Mr. Bernanke that, while he empathizes “with Ben Bernanke’s frustration” with having to testify so many times, his testimony was required and necessary in the current financial crisis. “Ben Bernanke is, after all, the chairman of the Federal Reserve,” Mr. Frank said. “And we are in a financial crisis at this moment. So you can see, I would assume, why Ben Bernanke’s testimony would be necessary and vital to our understanding of how to move forward.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Mr. Bernanke answered curtly. “Blah, blah. ‘Chairman of the bluh-buh-dee-bluh.’ ‘Financial crisis.’ Ben Bernanke’s heard all this, Mr. Chairman. You know why he’s heard it? Because every chairman of every committee tells him he’s the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Like he doesn’t know! ‘Oh, am I really? The chairman? Of the Federal Reserve? I thought I was a fry cook in the kitchen!’ Please! Give Ben Bernanke a break.”

Mr. Frank and rest of the committee seemed unsure how to proceed after several attempts to discuss issues such as interest rates, a potential overhaul of the nation’s banking system, and the outlook for the U.S. dollar. “Mr. Bernanke, I have to be honest with you, I really don’t know where to go here,” Mr. Frank admitted. “I’m not sure how to proceed, given your current state of mind.”

“Good,” Mr. Bernanke said. “Does that mean Ben Bernanke can go home now?”

Categories
Business/Economy

CEOs Say They May Have to Cut Back on Hookers and Blow

Washington – The CEOs of several investment banking, insurance and financial services giants appeared before the House Financial Services Committee Thursday to testify about the state of their companies’ financial health. What the committee members heard were tales of desperation and hardship. Specifically, the CEOs testified that if things continued on their current course, they would have to “all but give up” the solicitation of prostitutes and the use of expensive drugs like cocaine. The executives requested government aid to enable the continuation of the practices.

The CEOs, among them Vikram S. Pandit of Citigroup, John J. Mack of Morgan Stanley and Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, laid out their case for why the government’s help is needed. “This company will not be able to continue to function in any conceivable way without these funds,” said Mr. Blankfein, as part of a prepared opening statement. “And by that I mean that it is inconceivable for this company to have a CEO who cannot order hookers and coke whenever he deems it necessary. I’m all for cutting back on expenses in difficult times, but the line has to be drawn somewhere.”

The House Committee appeared to be moved by the testimony, and Chairman Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, said he hoped the committee would know whether it would go forward with a so-called Hooker and Blow Rescue Package by Tuesday of next week.

But some committee members were skeptical. Melvin Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, said, “How can I be sure that if we do vote to allocate this money, that you will in fact spend it on hookers and blow, and not on some unneeded expense that the taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for?”

Following the hearings, Watt said he empathized with Americans who are angered by the amount of money being used to aid the companies at the center of the financial disaster. But, he said, the point is about the economy in general. “I don’t like giving these companies this money any more than the American people like us doing it,” Watt said. “But the point is that the way the economy works, in terms of being interconnected, means that if these guys can’t buy these things, it has a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. You have hookers going unpaid. You have drug dealers going unpaid. So it’s not just about Wall Street. It affects Main Street too. And the alley behind Main Street.”