A Letter From Hank

by Mr Juggles

Dear US Taxpayer,

I would like to congratulate you on your recent purchase. I am glad I was able to convince you that now is the ideal time to offer an uncapped backstop on a $5.2 trillion book of mortgages. We here at the Treasury Dept (along with our sisters over at the Fed), appreciate your repeat business. I am confident that this acquisition will be a profitable one; perhaps even more profitable than your recent purchase of JPMorgan’s Bear Stearns’ liabilities!

Please know that we are actively seeking more deals on which we can work together. I am confident we will find more interesting opportunities before the end of the year.

Yours Truly,
Hank Paulson

Ad Sense Ad Sense


  1. Strattie
    September 9th, 2008 | 8:29 am

    They can spend that much on mortgages to safe incompetent and greedy yet they can’t get their education or medicine in order. I love smart people!

  2. Braden
    September 9th, 2008 | 9:38 am

    Does the FED and treasury work on education and medicine? News to me

  3. JCauto
    September 9th, 2008 | 9:56 am

    @ Strattie:

    Yes, great call. The United States is known for having a terrible educational system and awful healthcare. That’s why we have the best universities in the world and the majority of health care advances are made here. Jackass.

  4. The Paleofish
    September 9th, 2008 | 10:27 am

    My friends who rent think this housing market crash is the greatest thing ever. They’re not the biggest Paulson fans this morning.

  5. September 9th, 2008 | 1:16 pm

    We have the best universities in the world? Based on what? Football scores? The ability to rake in massive salaries from Wall Street without doing any actual work?

    That is every bit as crazy as measuring health care based on “health care advances”.

    There is a hospital down the street from me with a CAT scan machine that costs more than a small country. Every few months someone dies in the lobby because they can’t afford medical care.

    We don’t need “advances” as much as we need a health care system that can fix a burst appendix without driving you into bankruptcy.

    McCain promised today to make the FNMA “smaller”. I don’t think the size is as much of a problem as the fact that it is run by crooks and dimwits.

  6. Size
    September 9th, 2008 | 1:39 pm

    “majority of health care advances are made here.”

    Are any health care advances made in Europe anymore? I’m not talking about the brilliant plan of some of Britain’s NHS hospitals to simply turn over the sheets instead of washing them between patients to save money. Obviously, spreading communicable disease is far more cost effective than washing sheets and constitutes superior health care. No credible argument can be made against this iron-clad logic.

  7. Size
    September 9th, 2008 | 1:47 pm

    FutureDave, you should try European health care. Your problems will be completely solved.

    If you lived in Europe the hospital down the street would not have a CAT machine because it’s so costly. You won’t have to go bankrupt to pay for the surgery to remove your diseased appendix either. You’ll simply die while on a waiting list for surgery (but, you know, probably you’ll die at home – not in the lobby of the hospital, so that’s better). It’s Utopia over there, I tell ya. I used to live there. You should move. You’d love it.

  8. Strattie
    September 9th, 2008 | 1:58 pm

    Don’t Jackass me Jackass…

    Learn how to argue, we should have decent debate teams around, too bad they are not in schools, but in courtrooms and in politics.

    First off, advances are not health care providing. They do not even fund those. They are not the anti-smoking campaigns being funded by big tobacco.

    Secondly, the people that make those great advances are imported from OTHER countries to work on them. I live in the mecca of medical advances, I see it, I rent to the student. 1/3 of the medical student in this country are Asians that get GRANTS to come here because our talent is lacking. AND we have a revolving door of scientists from Europe and Asia that are brought here to work for the Pharmas, Hospitals, Research, Technology firms and to Teach in our higher education institutions. So that makes us a big rental facility or a big buyer of talent, not at all internally generated educator or knowledge bastion.

  9. The Paleofish
    September 9th, 2008 | 2:12 pm

    I think “Strattie” is actually a banker visiting from the Leveraged Sellout posing as a retarded management consultant to make the rest of us look bad.

  10. Pleb
    September 9th, 2008 | 4:23 pm

    But Strattie, our students have great self esteem, and we’ve achieved gender parity by eliminating men’s wrestling, swimming, track, baseball, cross country and wrestling teams. (They hated wrestling so much it was eliminated twice, you can’t even mention pro wrestling any more in polite society much its gayer but more athletic amateur cousin). Nowadays, the general student body runs 60:40 female to male nationwide! Admittedly, for most guys, 66:33 represents Pareto Efficiency (the women would say that it really takes a 25:75 ratio to git ‘er done), but I submit 60:40 is close enough for government work.

    That strikes me as near-perfection. So I just don’t see how you can say our educational system is inferior. In the interest of social justice, we’ve de-emphasized math, the hard sciences and engineering because they are sexist, based on the lack of women teaching those subjects at MIT and the inability of male engineering students anywhere to get a date. I bet all those Asian students you rent to are men, and they have trouble getting dates, right? Q.E.D. In fact, I suspect you yourself are a secret Mathist, lording your mathematical hegemony over others by “banking,” “investing,” and “counting.” (Not to mention other activities like long division).

    Now will somebody hand me my LitCritalator? I have to figure out how much of a mortgage bailout I have coming after I default on my payments next month. Oh goodie. It looks like the government is going to pay me at least $Burroughs when I default, maybe even as much as $Ginsburg. Man, Paulson makes me so happy I could just howl.

  11. Hans Moleman
    September 9th, 2008 | 10:52 pm


    What about the letter TO Hank:

    Dear Hank,


    Bill Gross.

    The Chinese.

  12. Hans Moleman
    September 10th, 2008 | 12:49 am

    From the FT:

    Both Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service said the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not affect the US’s triple-A sovereign credit ratings. “It does represent some deterioration in the US balance sheet, but it’s well within what we would call the triple-A space,” said Steven Hess, senior credit officer at Moody’s.

    Just how big is the triple-A space?

  13. SC Cluebird
    September 10th, 2008 | 9:35 am

    How can the U.S. credit rating stay at AAA, Moody’s? (It’s really got to be a “AA” at best, “going south” to “A” shortly, given all the GSE debt taken on.) Yes, you’ve got a ridiculous wide “Triple A” space!

  14. September 10th, 2008 | 10:03 am

    It doesn’t matter where the talent comes from. The US has something that trumps that — the instituions and structures that allow for research and advances to continue, and create the conditions that make it a desirable place to be.

    People get too worked up about the rest of it. It’s not like we are Argentina or something, where education is free and the result is that students graduate in 6-7 years on average and with like 70% sociology degrees.


  15. as
    September 10th, 2008 | 11:11 am

    @12: how could you go below a AAA rating when your debt is repayable in your home currency? a real credit rating is only possible if the US borrowed in Euros. Yes, countries do default in local currency from time to time, but if anyone thought there was a risk of that happening to the states or if credit agencies were supposed to rate that as an actual probability, then the entire system could not exist… It is taken for granted as a truth that the US will not default.

  16. Size
    September 10th, 2008 | 1:44 pm

    Just how big is the triple-A space?

    Large enough to accommodate z-tranche CDOs.

    Haven’t we learned not to trust those ratings agencies already?

  17. What
    September 10th, 2008 | 4:28 pm

    Size: “If you lived in Europe the hospital down the street would not have a CAT machine because it’s so costly. You won’t have to go bankrupt to pay for the surgery to remove your diseased appendix either. You’ll simply die while on a waiting list for surgery (but, you know, probably you’ll die at home – not in the lobby of the hospital, so that’s better). It’s Utopia over there, I tell ya. I used to live there. You should move. You’d love it.”

    I also hear the Bolsheviks and Reds will soon be invading. Lenin’s not dead, he’s just faking it.

    Please, speak in more cliches and stereotypes about something you know nothing about.

  18. HF
    September 11th, 2008 | 6:17 am

    The funny thing is that you spent 15.3% of your GDP on Heath, Denmark spends only 9.5% and their the happiest country on the world….

    Also they only need 15.8 CT per 1000h vs. 33.9 for the US…

    The problem with US health is that you need to provide free basic healthcare, if people whant access to faster consultations (in case your life is not at risk) or a different doctor they should pay an extra….

    Say what you whant, but the truth is if you have a medical emergency and need to got to an hospital in the great majority of european countries you will get to see a doctor and probably pay little… In case you need to go the hospital and your condition isn’t life threathning you will have to whait.

    Disclaimer: I don’t leave in Denmark, although I leave in an European Country…

  19. September 11th, 2008 | 9:25 am

    I too am concerned about how much the US is willing to spend on Heath. Clearly, Heath is a great guy, we all know him, we all love him, but 15% of GDP is excessive, even for Heath (again you’re a great guy Heath).

    There is nothing more misleading than Healthcare statistics coming out of Europe.

    -I think it’s significant that no healthcare innovations come from them — if the whole word had that model, the loss would be tremendous.
    -My experience living there (not while in college, actually living there) indicates that its quality is a mirage. It’s like the Soviet Union noting that everyone in their entire country was privileged enough to have toilet paper. It may only be a single sheet, but hey EVERYONE has a toilet paper as opposed to the US, where not everyone even has toilet paper.
    -Saying population X is happier than population Y, is another insane thing unless you are talking about the Burmese and the US or something like that. Quantifying happiness is not a science, it’s sociology or in layman’s terms, total bullshit rife with cross cultural miscalculations, crazy assumptions and spurious reasoning.

    Other than that, I agree with you and would love to leave in the same country as you.

  20. HF
    September 11th, 2008 | 10:44 am

    Heat is a great guy indeed, the only bad thing is that he lives in the US and has no insurance, so he can read lots of great scientific breaktroughs but can’t aford to be sick… great for him…

    Regarding the stats they’re from OECD, so as reliable as you can get nowdays… I actually do leave in an european country, that far from having a perfect health systems, it has one that at least works… Of course that when I need to go to the doctor (unless it is an emergency) I go to my usual doctor and my insurance pays it, but even if youdon’t have insurance you can go to a private doctor, and guess what?! If you don’t have money to pay for insurance you can pay around 2€ (that’s about 2.8 USD)and the government pays the rest!! Regarding inovation I do agree that the US contribute a lot for the pregression of modern medicine, but they are not the only ones…

    To be honest I couldn’t care less, how you run your country, has long has you keep the economy going!!!

  21. fizter
    September 11th, 2008 | 11:22 am

    Listen bitches – the US has twice as high an infant mortality rate than Sweden (check CIAFactbook).

    So if you want hard numbers about how fecking great a healthcare provision system is – there is some numbas. And in the US it will cost you about 20K to have a baby – in Sweden – nada (thats a light chicken gravy)

    Great benefits from all of that innovation.

    And the US system for healthcare innovation cant be denied – but why is it so and what is the point in making more 400 pound people live longer? So they can continue to get fatter, consume more, and not pay a mortgage on their house?

  22. msb
    September 11th, 2008 | 12:33 pm

    @ fizter

    I’d rather have lower taxes than free healthcare. Maybe I’m alone on this one…

  23. Size
    September 11th, 2008 | 12:50 pm

    Listen bitches – the US has twice as high an infant mortality rate than Sweden (check CIAFactbook).

    That’s because 400 gram preemies (for whom the mortality rate is well in excess of 50%) who are born and then die are recorded as a live birth and then an infant death in the United States, increasing the number of infant deaths. In Europe they are recorded as a fetal death, understating infant deaths. Once you remove that discrepancy, the infant mortality rate in the United States is slightly lower.

  24. Size
    September 11th, 2008 | 12:57 pm

    Please, speak in more cliches and stereotypes about something you know nothing about.

    Dude, are you seriously disagreeing with me that that FutureDave would love to leave in the European Utopia? Are you on crack? Has Bush gotten to you or something?

    I know exactly what I’m talking about. I leaved in Europe. As a kid, I spent several years in and out of European hospitals. They almost helped me over to the “other side” where there is no pain and 72 virgins – until my evil parents dragged me to the U.S. where I was finally cured. Bastards.

  25. fizter
    September 11th, 2008 | 1:34 pm

    @ msb – fine – if that is the choice you want to make.

    @ size – plausible explanation – do you happen to have a source? My understanding is the all countries now use the same definition.

    Per WHO Figures: (are you ok with those?)

    2006 Infant Mort Rate/1000 live births: SE 3 – US 7

    Maternal Mort Rate/100,000 live births: SE 3 – US 11

    Neonatal Mort Rate/1000 live births: SE 2 – US 4

    Under 5 Mort Rate/1000 births: SE 4 – US 8

    Births by C Sect % : SE 17 – US 23

    Prevalence of adults >15 years who are obese % :
    SE Female 9.5, Male 10.4 US Female 33.2, Male 31.1

    Per Cap total expenditure on health $: SE 3727, US 6350

    Total Expenditure on Health as % of GDP: SE 9.2, US 15.2

    You see- the thing that costs so much is the fact that the government in the US and the people in the US dont give a shit about taking care of people (or themselves). So you get all of these great advancements in medicine – such as great diabetes treatments – to treat the ills of the very lifestyle that people subject themselves too. They get to pay for it with their bodies and their wallets cuz they cant stop eating!

    How is that working out for you?

    and no one got my Three Amigos reference… man… trying to liven the thread up a bit…

  26. Size
    September 11th, 2008 | 2:38 pm

    Per WHO Figures: (are you ok with those?)

    No, I’m not. My father-in-law is a WHO epidemiologist. The WHO just accepts the data from each country and publishes it. You end up with a lot of apples to oranges comparisons.

    All countries are not using the same standard for infant mortality statistics. For researchers, this is always a thorn in their side. But isn’t that always the case with stats? Incidentally, preemies are more likely to die and more preemies are born in the U.S. than in Europe because of fertility treatments. Fertility treatment is more likely to result in multiple fetuses and multiple fetuses are highly correlated with premature births. So, the U.S. could theoretically reduce its infant mortality rate without using European recording methods just by making fertility treatments illegal. Seems like a poor trade-off, though.

    You see- the thing that costs so much is the fact that the government in the US and the people in the US dont give a shit about taking care of people (or themselves).

    Well, obviously it’s true that Americans are just vicious troglodytes. That explains why immigrants like myself and my in-laws are beating down the door to immigrate here. The eating is was not working well for me at all. I stopped doing that long ago.

  27. msb
    September 11th, 2008 | 3:03 pm

    When did infant mortality become the measure of the quality of a healthcare system?

    sounds to me like you picked the statistic that worked best for your argument

  28. fizter
    September 11th, 2008 | 3:08 pm

    And americans could reduce their reliance on diabetes type 2 treatments by eating less….

    I agree that you cant purely make an arguement with statistics – but I think the sample I provided certainly shows a trend – and illustrates that you get what you pay for.

    I also believe (after living and being treated in several healthcase systems) that a society really can be judged by how well they take care of their sick and poor. Empathy and compassion goes a long way – and just because the US makes so many advances in medicine – I do not think that those that have should be the ones that benefit the most from it. I also know that many of the new drugs and those in the pipeline are targetted at lifestyle diseases – which is funny – in a sad kind of way. As these American discoveries are being used to treat the result of “American” lifestyle.

  29. Size
    September 11th, 2008 | 11:43 pm

    I agree that you cant purely make an arguement with statistics – but I think the sample I provided certainly shows a trend – and illustrates that you get what you pay for.

    Only if you ignore the differences in what the statistics measure. But then, what trend would that be?

    Empathy and compassion goes a long way

    Nobody is stopping you from being empathetic or compassionate. If you want to feel all warm and fuzzy about yourself by performing wild acts of altruism, that’s your business. I just don’t want you to force other people to conform to your definition of “empathy” and “compassion”. If you want to spend over a decade becoming a doctor and then give your services away for free to people unwilling or unable to pay you, I promise I won’t get in your way. If you spend your life savings and decades of your life toiling to find a life saving medicine and then give it away for free, I won’t stop you. I will only get in your way if you try to force other people to do those things against their will.

    That’s fair, no? After all, the use of force is neither empathetic nor compassionate.

  30. HF
    September 12th, 2008 | 4:05 am

    The point is, doctors in european countries don’t work for free… there is place for an equilibrium situation… It is the role of the state to provide its citizens with basic services: health, education, police, army, fire departments and justice… of course there are some areas where private companies can also be on the market (education, health…) but that dosen’t mean that the state can look the other way, its is resposability to assure fair and equal access to these institutions… however is not the role of the state to pay for if you don’t whan’t to go to the doctor which has an agreement with the state or to the public hospital, for that you have to pay extra, the same if you wan’t to go and study on a private school…

  31. September 12th, 2008 | 10:01 am

    “They get to pay for it with their bodies and their wallets cuz they cant stop eating!”

    Ahh the pangs of empathy and compassion, rap, rap, rapping at America’s door.

  32. September 12th, 2008 | 10:54 am

    To expound further on Europe, I always here condescending claims to have vastly compassionate and empathethic the land is compared to the cruel US. It is mind bottling, it bottles the mind.

    I mean, there is plenty of empathy and compassion for white nationals of each nation, but the level of racism and classism is off the charts compared to the US. And I guess that compassion and empathy is nowhere to be found when genocide is happening on their borders as it was in the 1990’s. And when condescending to stupid fat Americans about how superior Europeans are, how more caring, how more better and more greater and more bestest — the compassion and empathy is overwhelming!!!!!

    It’s ludicrous. All of Europe is better!?

    Sweden — maybe but they currently still have crazy cultural homogenity going in their favor, but Europe proper? Please.

    “It is the role of the state to provide its citizens with basic services: health, education, police, army, fire departments and justice”

    According to you, but this is not written in stone, this is not the will of God, of Allah, or of Man. The state’s role is whatever its constituents want it to be or whatever its power let’s it be.

  33. HF
    September 12th, 2008 | 11:18 am

    And thats way, quoting myself: “To be honest I couldn’t care less, how you run your country, has long has you keep the economy going!!!”

  34. MacroGod
    September 12th, 2008 | 12:35 pm

    Little do many of you fellows know, or perhaps faintly understand that you can perform your own surgeries on your kitchen or dining table using a spork, some string, and a paper clip. Why yesterday I performed a congenital heart surgery by using a basic vaccuum cleaner and sucking the fat out of my veins. Use your local Fed releases as anesthesia and a slight dose of “Sean Hannity’s America”. And presto, thousands saved and you can STILL USE THE SPORK!!

  35. shortcfaexam
    September 13th, 2008 | 3:41 am

    Chuck Norris can do it with a spork and some string – no paper clip required.

    Beat that for American health care advances.

  36. September 13th, 2008 | 10:02 am

    PS. To offset the rising number of nationalizations, as of January, 2009 Treasury will be privatized and merged with Goldman, Sachs. I will return to private life to run the merged entity.

  37. The Paleofish
    September 14th, 2008 | 12:25 pm

    I’d love to see statistics on Europe vs American quality of life with a model that removes the effect of surgical techniques, drugs, and medical devices developed in America from European QOL and vice versa. My prediction: America wouldn’t lose too much.

  38. fizter
    September 14th, 2008 | 12:25 pm


  39. fizter
    September 14th, 2008 | 4:34 pm

    @ Paleofish – yeah that would be super. Perhaps you and Size could get to work on those stats.

    The american system for development is far more effective as there is a higher incentive in the US to make surgical techniques that not only improve procedures, but also minimise risk, or increase efficiency to providers.

    I see the upsides and downsides with that, and think that the ideal system should lie somewhere in the middle.

    For example, I think the instances of CSections in the US demonstrates how a pure market economy dictates medical practices that might not be in the best interest of the end user – the patient. There are many legitamate reasons for C-Sections – but the current rate in the US is far above an ideal level as far as many experts are concerned. Some of the determining factors for an increase in C-Sections in the US have been identified as fear of malpractice claims/lawsuits and incentives for the doctors for operate in a manner that is efficient for healthcare providers (for example, they are scheduled and have a much higher cost to the payer). Based on the fact that a C-Section is a major surgery with more complications after birth. So if the US health care system is so efficient and effective – why is this the case? If the care is superior – why do you see this trend?

    I know size doesnt like statistics – but read anywhere – not just WHO stats. Anyone care to justify this?

    @Johnny D – Sweden is not longer a homogenius as it once was. and there certainly are strains on this system, which I think is more than good enough to subject my young children two.

    I also realise there are issue in this system – but definitely believe in a single payer system for a society. It has more to do with how a society treats its people than purely how much you pay for your pills.

  40. Size
    September 15th, 2008 | 10:45 am


    You’re so full of fizter. I love stats. My whole life revolves around statistics. I just don’t insist on comparisons using incomparable statistics because that produces poo, not reasonable comparisons. In other words, unlike you, I’m not willing to mine my way to my preferred outcome. Those who don’t understand that were obviously hired as risk managers for some now defunct hedge funds.

    The American system is broken because regulators prevent competition among insurance companies (at the behest of said companies) and the creep of medicare and medicaid. In other words, the problem of the American health care system is that it’s starting to look more like Europe’s.

    And, BTW, “society” doesn’t have the ability to treat “its” people in any way. “Society” is merely a false aggregate. As I pointed out before, nobody is standing in the way of your compassion and empathy but you. Stop blaming society and start taking responsibility for your own actions.

  41. fizter
    September 15th, 2008 | 2:23 pm

    Its pronounced “fizzt-her”….

    Grouping “Europes” health care systems assumes quite a bit.

    Americas system is broken because of said insurance companies. I dont want an insurance company to be the one determining whether I get coverage or treatment. I would rather have it be an entity that gains or loses based on my health and wellbeing. They have the incentive of ensuring my continued contribution to the economy.

    Society may not have the ability to treat “its” people – but “the man” sure does. The man is keeping you down.