The U.S. Economy From the Lighter Side

Summer Friday afternoons on Wall Street trading desks were always entertaining propositions. Traders were figuring out who would cut out early. The jokes would fly. The older folks on the desk would welcome hearing the Thursday evening escapades of the younger crowd. Invariably, somebody would say, “have you heard the one about….”

In that spirit, hat tip to RO for providing this quick overview of the current state of the U.S. economy. Funny how this snapshot is very much akin to the ’shell game’ analogy often used at Sense on Cents.


It is a slow day in the East Texas town of Madisonville.

It is raining, and the little town looks totally deserted.

Times are tough, everybody is in debt and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich tourist from the East is driving through town.

He enters the only hotel in the sleepy town and lays a hundred dollar bill on the desk stating he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

As soon as the man walks up the stairs, the hotel proprietor takes the hundred dollar bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to pay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer then takes the $100 and heads off to pay his debt to the supplier of feed and fuel.

The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has lately had to offer her “services” on credit.

The hooker runs to the hotel and pays off her debt with the $100 to the hotel proprietor, paying for the rooms that she had rented when she brought clients to that establishment.

The hotel proprietor then lays the $100 bill back on the counter so the rich traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler from the East walks back down the stairs, after inspecting the rooms.

He picks up the $100 bill and states that the rooms are not satisfactory . . . pockets the money and walks out the door and leaves town.

No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot of optimism.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how the United States Government is conducting business today.

If that doesn’t scare you, then I don’t know what will.

About Larry Doyle 522 Articles

Larry Doyle embarked on his Wall Street career in 1983 as a mortgage-backed securities trader for The First Boston Corporation. He was involved in the growth and development of the secondary mortgage market from its near infancy.

After close to 7 years at First Boston, Larry joined Bear Stearns in early 1990 as a mortgage trader. In 1993, Larry was named a Senior Managing Director at the firm. He left Bear to join Union Bank of Switzerland in late 1996 as Head of Mortgage Trading.

In 1998, after 15 years of trading and precipitated by Swiss Bank’s takeover of UBS, Larry moved from trading to sales as a senior salesperson at Bank of America. His move into sales led him to the role as National Sales Manager for Securitized Products at JP Morgan Chase in 2000. He was integrally involved in developing the department, hiring 40 salespeople, and generating $300 million in sales revenue. He left JP Morgan in 2006.

Throughout his career, Larry eagerly engaged clients and colleagues. He has mentored dozens of junior colleagues, recruited at a number of colleges and universities, and interviewed hundreds. He has also had extensive public speaking experience. Additionally, Larry served as Chair of the Mortgage Trading Committee for the Public Securities Association (PSA) in the mid-90s.

Larry graduated Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1983 from the College of the Holy Cross.

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