(01/22/2018)
By Jack Cawthon 2009
BBQRun@Verizon.net

Jimmy Stewart is responsible for out present financial mess in 2009! Yes, that "aw, shucks" mush raker of many movies began this whole financial meltdown.

Each year, just as sure as Santa Claus, Jimmy comes back during the Christmas season in that miserably misnamed melodrama "It's a Wonderful Life." And I'm sure you know as what. A banker, that's what, a miserable example of a banker at that.

Although, I've only seen the movie in its entirety once, I have seen assorted segments until I, being bigger and stronger, have been able to wrestle the remote control from the Little Woman (5 ft., 3 ins.) who would watch it over and over as sure as there is tinsel on the tree.

Our first viewing caused enough domestic discord when Jimmy stood on the bridge looking down at the cold, dark water and considered ending it all. That's when I yelled "Jump! Jump!" and she, with tears in her eyes, called me some sort of inhuman monster, or I think that was the term as it was sort of mumbled.

I replied that he is a banker, a terrible one at that, and one less banker checked out would help balance the books and provide savings for us all. Looking back now, I can see that this was the beginning of our present trouble.

As I recall, correct me if you've seen this several times, Jimmy's bank was going belly-up and never once does he go whining to the government for a bailout. What does this say about his competence?

And remember how he made loans? Never once did he ask for a Social Security number, check a credit score, or ask for I. D. (This reminds me of a story. A good ole country boy was driving his beat up vehicle down the road when he passed a cop who decided to pull him over as he looked guilty of something. The cop walks up to the window and asks "Do you have an I. D.?" The ole boy blinks, thinks a moment, and replies, "'Bout what?")

Jimmy made loans based on character and the person's honesty—can you imagine—of the people he had known all his life. Sure, he may have thought he knew them, but he didn't ask them to prove their identity. How did he know they weren't terrorists?

If you have opened an account, applied for a loan, or maybe just said hello to your local banker, not to mention the one who has known you all your life, you must now prove who you are. Granted, the banker didn't make up the rules. Our government did. It's called the Patriot Act, but it's a good thing Washington, Jefferson, or Hamilton didn't have to contend with it or we all might still be singing "God Save the King." And they were the original actors!

Maybe Benedict Arnold might have been snagged, but I doubt it, unless he has asked for a loan in pounds sterling instead of Continental currency. Then again, if he had known his mother's maiden name all might have been well for him.

Not long ago, we were in a Morgantown bank where we have been known, at least unofficially, for several years. I wasn't even asking for money, but instead was willing to deposit some, which at one time bankers would have taken with sweaty hands, as I've always found it easier to put money into a bank than to get it back out, when the customer service person looked at me suspiciously, which itself is not unusual as I seem to bring that out even in non-bankers, and asked for my mother's maiden name.

No, that wasn't needed for the form. But I assumed she was testing my mental acuteness, which if it had been sharp to begin with, I wouldn't have been in that bank. I considered telling her that I hadn't had a mother, but instead had been found floating on a log in the crick. That's the story I always received when I asked where I came from. If I had given such a foolish reply the F.B.I. would probably have surrounded the bank in no time. Then, again, how would Moses have answered that question?

But back to Jimmy. No, he isn't saved by the government, Warren Buffett or the Chinese. He is saved by an angel. Why haven't more financial experts chosen that route and applied for that service? All they need do, no forms to fill out, is in a moment of panic, go out on a bridge or other high place and get ready, set and… maybe, just maybe, an angel will come down and take care of their problems. And, if not…hey, just a shorter line at the $700 billion bailout window.

(That reminds me of another story. An officer in one of the companies going down the drain was approached by a co-worker and asked if he had considered jumping out the window from his skyscraper office. The man replied that, no, he thought he would wait until he was promoted to another rank higher up in the building and then jump.)

The Christmas season is coming and you can bet that Jimmy will once more be on the bridge. Maybe this year the angel will have his hands full with all those other bankers and not get there quite in time. That may end the reruns of the movie, but probably not on the banks.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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