A leaked e-mail from inside investment bank Morgan Stanley that was sent to several news organizations Thursday night shed light on some of the strategies that Wall Street's A-list have for reclaiming their place as the engineers of capitalism when the U.S. and global economy eventually rebounds from what some are calling the Great Recession. Wall Street has been seriously wounded in the downturn, blamed by an angry public for much of the economy's woes and buffeted by increased governmental scrutiny and regulation.
"Ladies and gentlemen, our analysts are telling us that by mid-2010, global demand for durable goods will begin to heat up, the capital markets should be healthy enough to promote growth, and consumers will be ready to spend again. We are well-positioned to take advantage of these conditions, and I propose that we leverage this position by getting our bankers in front of every company with something to sell and just start throwing money all over the place."
The memo, written by Senior Vice President of Corporate Finance Rob Harding, went on to say "Seriously folks, let's get crazy. I don't care if a prospect is out there trying to sell the clunkiest piece of useless shit since Crocs, we're dumping cash on it."
The contents of the Morgan Stanley e-mail quickly drew fire from politicians and economists. "Just shocking irresponsibility," said Albert Rollins, a professor at Penn's Wharton School of Business. "Especially that part about the Brazilian economy looking 'bubblelicious.' Does this guy have a soul, or just a gaping black void?"
The e-mail passage that read "The economy is like a furnace, and we need to be burning money like coal to make it burn hotter and hotter. Those sticks-in-the-mud in Risk Management have been so smug lately with their constant I-told-you-so's, but take it from me: there's no way this disaster can ever happen again," left FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair incensed.
"Is the irony of using a 'burning money' simile to describe his company's banking practices completely lost on this guy?" asked Bair. "Forget regulating derivatives, I think that we need to start wiretapping these idiots."
Morgan Stanley had no comment at press time.