Bear Naked Gentlemen

He had been reading too many op-eds and letters to the editor and e-mails to Jim Cramer; he knew all too well that the masses had no pity for his kind. Why should our tax dollars go to save these rich bastards?

“And I see their point,” Frank said. “But then again the government could have stepped in earlier with the mortgages.”

He wondered if the people who were sending CNN their bitter e-mails considered the fate of the many grown men, good men, who were trying to support a family, who might have a disabled child or something like that, who just lost their retirement.

“What are they going to do now,” he said. “Start over? They’re left twisting in uncertainty.”

“With something like this, you’ve got to look at the front lines: Who are the people taking the commissions, because they get paid no matter what,” he said referring to mortgage lending firms. “Who are the people giving these $500,000, million-dollar loans to people who can’t afford it?” He allowed that of course Bear shared in the blame for trading on such loans.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around,” said Bob. “Frankly, I’m not happy with upper management. For the last two weeks they’ve just been sending out e-mails saying, Don’t believe the rumors. They hung their hat on an 85-year-old reputation and now that’s all gone. And lots of people are going to lose jobs.”

What about the JPMorgan boys? Shouldn’t they be wary that a more skilled Bear man might edge them out of a job?

Neither Bob nor Frank thought this was likely. “Say some magazine bought your paper, and they had a great first quarter—but then subscriptions started to go down. Who do you think they would cut first? Where would their loyalty lie? If you were F. Scott Fitzgerald, you’d be O.K., but what if you were someone more like Danielle Steel?”

“It was a good company to work for,” said Frank “There is a pride that is lost. It was just last year that Bear had record earnings. If you’re not safe at a place like that, where are you safe?”

He said it was a fallacy that everyone was making $20,000 or $50,000 bonuses. He said he would be O.K. in the short term, but was anxious about the long term. Word is that 50 to 80 percent of the company will lose their jobs. Competition will be fierce.

“The conventional wisdom was that if you put your head down and work for 5 or 10 years, you’d be set,” said Tommy, who has interviews with banks lined up every day this week. “And now it’s all worth nothing.”

Three more Bear men walked in and sat down.

“Where am I supposed to go on vacation now? Times Square?” said one.

Bear Naked Gentlemen