Amusing take on Ambrose Bierce’s classic in the Journal today.
AAA, n., obsolete. A rhetorical device used to dupe buyers into purchasing securities backed by shacks dressed as houses, and to secure the highest possible spot in telephone directories. Common usage: AAA Septic Drainage and Mortgage Backed Security Services.
BAILOUT, n. First known use: Noah. Novel regressive taxation scheme whereby vast sums of capital are transferred from those citizens who didn’t participate in the illusory Bacchanalia of the housing bubble to those who did and weren’t clever enough to get out in time.
BANK, GOOD, n., archaic. Sober, conservative, risk-averse institutions designed to midwife customers’ capital and enable prudent lending to deserving businesses and consumers. See Capra, F., the Bailey Building & Loan Association.
BANK, BAD, n. 1. Everyone else. 2. Especially Goldman Sachs.
CREDIT-DEFAULT SWAP, n. loose translation from the original Latin “ubi mel ibi apes,” or “where there’s honey there are bees.” 1. A complex financial instrument vital to the functioning of a modern economy in the way it spreads risk among consenting parties. (Greenspan, A., pre-Sept. 2008.) 2. A complex financial instrument that nearly destroyed modern capitalism (Greenspan, A., post-Sept. 2008).
CREDIT LINE, n. A set amount of borrowed money available only to those who don’t need it.
CREDIT-RATING FIRMS, n. Firms that do scant rating of people with scant credit.
DEFICIT, n. For the party in power, at worst a minor irritant and at best a precondition for economic growth. For the minority, the gravest threat to the stability of the Republic.
TOO BIG TO FAIL, idiom. Banks, insurance companies, car companies, presidential approval ratings, Fed chairmen seeking second terms, other people who think they should be Fed chairman, the reputations of people who’d be responsible for letting things fail. Antonym: TOO BORING TO SAVE.
Fun stuff . . .
The Devil’s Dictionary — Financial Edition
WSJ, SEPTEMBER 15, 2009