This is quite a milestone for me, one of few in my 28-year career as a carbon dioxide manufacturer. It ranks right up there with, I don't know, wiping my own ass for the first time, or making out with hottest girl at a rival high school when I was 16. Until I was dumped for someone with a personality. GOOD FOR HER. ::sob::
Anyway, gay avenger and chairman of the House financial services committee Barney Frank gave an interview with the FT the other week, making characteristically smart-ass remarks about efforts to recapitalize ailing banks:
Mr Frank said there were other ways for [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner to boost bank capital if next week’s stress tests revealed a big shortfall – for example by imposing a “haircut” on bondholders by forcing debt-for-equity swaps, a step the administration has been unwilling so far to take.
“Risk is inherent in the nature of being a bondholder,” said Mr Frank. “[As for] subordinated debt: Why the hell is it called subordinated?” However, he added: “To the extent that imposing haircuts would cause a daisy chain effect you have to be worried about it.”
But then along came nice professor Paul Antal, who read Frank's question literally, wrote about it, and for some reason the FT published it.
In your interview with Barney Frank (April 25) you record his spontaneous remark: “[As for] subordinated debt: ‘Why the hell is it called subordinated?’” Is anyone else troubled by the fact that the chairman of the House financial services committee does not know why some debt collection is subordinated to others? Even a retired humanities professor in Boulder, Colorado, knows that.
Ok, now professor Antal is almost certainly a wonderful human being. I imagine him in his study, writing checks to various anti-poverty campaigns while his cat, Mr. Whiskers, licks himself in front of the wood stove. In another capacity, I'm sure I would exchange pleasantries with professor Antal, as I pet Mr. Whiskers.
But no. You, sir, insulted Barney Frank, and that there's my bitch.
So, in a caffeine-induced rage, I wrote the following, with the express purpose of swearing and being a dick:
Sir, Paul Antal (Letters, May 7) wonders why Barney Frank, chairman of the House financial services committee, doesn't seem to understand the capital structure with his question: “Why the hell is it called subordinated debt?” The question of course is clearly rhetorical, and the context implies that Mr Frank thinks subordinated debt holders should line up for their “haircuts” before senior holders, otherwise why the hell bother with the classification “subordinated”? Even a 27-year-old security guard knows that.