Stanley Bing

Fourth-quarter yearnings

Could we have less talk about gloom and about doom in 2010? And more about, say, Carla Bruni?

By Stanley Bing

(Fortune Magazine) -- It was a passable year, 2009, but I'm not sorry to see it go. I had ambitions for it, but it disappointed me. A year can only be what it turns out to be, and this one won't be going into anybody's baby books, except, maybe, for people who had a baby.

As an optimist, however, I have aspirations for the newborn annum:

First, I would like to see the word "Leverage" retired. It has attained the status formerly occupied by Quality and Excellence, and thoroughly annoys me by its ubiquity and flatulence. It started out a few decades ago among the losers who invented the concept of buying big things with a little bit of cash and a lot of debt. I didn't like them either. Now people are leveraging their hats and their pet monkeys and their lunch schedules, and it's got to stop.

I'd also like 2010 to be the year when people stop talking about everything dying. It's tiresome. So far the things that are supposedly dying include newspapers, magazines, books, the American automobile industry, railroads -- hello, Mr. Buffett! -- landline telephones, the desktop PC, network television, theatrical motion pictures, polar bears, Europe, and Cheez Whiz. I've probably left a few out. If you read too much on the Internet from bitter people who work there for very little money, you would think that everything is doomed except for the Internet.

I'd also like to suggest that 2010 be the year that banks no longer have the right to foreclose on people's homes. There's got to be a better solution. Like, we have all these houses now with nobody in them and banks holding all this real estate they neither want nor need. How about the banks put as much thought into solving that issue as they did on the question of how to pay back their TARP loans so they can get their 2009 bonuses?

Speaking of which, in 2010 I would like to see legislation requiring all companies with market caps over $10 billion to contribute 1% of their bonus pool to a fund dedicated to doing something worthwhile. Helping states that are sucking wind, for instance, like California, a very nice state that has been ruined by bonehead legislators. Or West Virginia, which generally needs help for something. Wall Street is reportedly set to offer itself more than $150 billion in bonuses this year. One percent of that could come in handy in a lot of ways, and I don't think a guy getting $100,000,000 would kick about giving a million of it back to a good cause. Actually, he probably would, but tough on him. Who would administrate this massive fund? I volunteer. I get a little bored some days anyhow.

This year I would also like to see legislation implementing sensible regulation on the financial industry. Hahahahaha!! Sorry. I crack myself up sometimes.

I would like to see China grow a little bit slower and us a little bit faster.

I would also hope that this coming year we will not see any books from miscreants who have a lot of time to write them now that they are in prison. For instance, I will not be interested in the thoughts of Bernard Madoff, even if they are contained in a cookbook. Contrariwise, I would be interested in anything having to do with Carla Bruni, the First Lady of France, as long as she's not singing.

Additionally, in 2010 I would appreciate more entertaining stuff from Silvio Berlusconi. There is no person in the world who offers more valuable lessons for those who wish to succeed in business. The guy gets away with everything because he thinks he's going to. That quality is difficult to teach and even harder to cure.

Finally, I guess I would like to make about the same amount of money in 2010 as I did in 2009. I won't ask for more. But it would be hard to make it on less.

That's about it, I suppose. Why not hope for the best?

Oh, yeah ... did I mention world peace? To top of page

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