Saturday, October 04, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day, Menzie

Menzie Chinn argues for the bailout package invoking the famous movie line "Do I feel lucky?", which in case you don't know comes from Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood), with the full line being (with Dirty Harry pointing the .44 Magnum revolver at a robber who is reaching for his shotgun):

"I know what you're thinking. Did he fire 6 shots or only 5? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?"

But as you can see if you watch the rest, it turns out that Dirty Harry was bluffing, because after the robber lets him take the shotgun and Harry walks away, the robber says "I got to know", whereupon he points the revolver at the robber and pulls the trigger, which reveals that the chamber was empty. As he could have hardly taken the risk of executing the robber at a point when the robber wasn't a threat and as he laughs, it is obvious that he knew the chamber was empty and was lying when he said he didn't know and only said so to trick him into giving up the shotgun.

And in a way, this is a perfect analogy for the bailout plan: a government employee(s) that tries to deceive and scare people into giving up their assets. And just like in that scene we would be better off not believing them. There is however a crucial difference in that in the case of Dirty Harry, he was the good guy who lied in order to disarm a robber, whereas in the case of Bush/Paulson/Bernanke/McCain/Pelosi/Obama, the government employees are the robbers who uses deceit and scaremongering in order to take other people's money and spend it on failed financial institutions.


Anonymous menzie chinn said...

The phrase is used twice in the movie. Think about the second occurrence...

11:01 AM  

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