We’ve all seen the image of the Charging Bull on Wall Street: a symbol of virile Capitalism, nostrils flaring and body poised at a perilous angle as it attempts to ram up stock prices.
We also know that it was the avarice of Wall Street, which, by virtue of creating exotic “securities” which bundled (often toxic) mortgages to investors, led directly to the economic meltdown and general reign of misery known as The Great Recession. (2008-??).
As I’ve discussed elsewhere on this blog, nary a Wall Street or Big Bank CEO has seen the inside of a clinker – not even the cushy Club Fed, where they could swap Rolex stories with Bernie. No, they are all doing just fine, dancing in their French chateaus, passing the Beluga on their yachts with the white-clad crew as the Pernod-Ricard flows.
It must be nice to perpetrate the white-collar crime of the century and get off Scot free. Others of course do not have the power of money (and lobbyists, and politicians, and judges) behind them, and are hence foreclosed upon and thrown into the streets with the grimness of a scene from Dickens. There are no jobs to go to, so they collect Unemployment as long as they can (99 weeks for the fresh kill of 2008), pawn everything they own, and suffer painful rope burns as they slide down from the middle class into the trenches alongside the poor.
But what if, in a sudden blast of dark fantasy, actual justice was meted out? What would be the appropriate punishment for those who made hundreds of millions from legalized fraud and displaced millions more?
My suggestion is simple, and apt. Take the bronze bull of Wall Street and build into its side a small door. Throw in five CEOs at a time. Light a fire beneath the faux animal, until it turns the metallic belly a cheery shade of yellow. The screams of the guilty will emanate from out the bull’s mouth, hooked up with a series of tubes to create an amazing facsimile of bellowing. Once Group A is dispensed with, Group B is moved into place. In ancient times, this torture device was known as the Brazen bull, and the word’s double meaning has a delightful connotation here: put the brazen frauds inside the brazen bull and, in five years’ time, they won’t be free to invent a new shady scheme which brings down the world’s markets.
Harsh, you say? So is years-long unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, repo, pawn shops, and poverty. Trust me, I know. I seek justice, and The Bronze Bull of Perillos is one way to send a message. The Greeks, its inventor, might want to resurrect it.