The death of economic satire

If Tom Lehrer was right when he declared political satire obsolete because Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize, then economic satire — such as it ever was — is obsolete this morning.

I mean, I was joking two months ago with my quip about Bush saying he had to destroy capitalism in order to save it. I was being ironic. But there he goes, actually saying, “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” without a trace of irony.

But these days, it’s all just part of the passing scene. The Fed declares it will use “all available tools” to foster easy money and credit? Water off my back. Hank Paulson declares he doesn’t expect any more financial institutions to fail? Big whoop — hey, depends on what the meaning of “fail” is. The SEC admits it ignored signs since 1999 that Bernard Madoff was doing something funky with his investors’ funds?

Well OK, that one I can’t take with quite as much equanimity. Here we have the genuine, unmistakable crime of theft. The SEC looks askance for nine years while it relentlessly pursues celebrity justice for the non-crime of insider trading — culminating in the idiotic spectacle of the Mark Cuban case, a case so patently lame the SEC’s lawyers don’t even have the gumption to pursue it as a criminal matter.

So is this TEOTWAKI (Internet lingo for “the end of the world as we know it”)? You’ve got Marines manning DUI roadblocks in California, and you’ve got the Swiss fleeing their banking system for gold. Might be worth considering your own gold position. Or maybe your Personal Bailout plan — still available exclusively to Agora Financial readers through this weekend.