Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dear Ken

by Pa Rock

Mr. Kenneth Lewis
Bank of America Corporation
100 North Tryon St., 18th Floor
Charlotte, NC 28255

Dear Ken,

As one of the taxpayers who funded the corporate bailout that allowed your bank to purchase Merrill Lynch, I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts with you regarding the operation of Bank of America.

I noticed that just three days after receiving $25 billion in government largess, you allowed Bank of America to host a conference call with a group of sordid conservatives (people such as Bernie Marcus of Home Depot) to plot against pro-labor legislation - the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - that will soon be taken up by the Congress. I can only assume from that misadventure that while Bank of America feeds off of the poor (excessive credit card finance rates, exorbitant overdraft fees, etc), your corporation feels a strong investment in ensuring that the poor remain poor. Shame on you and the corporate jet that you flew in on!

How many people did Bank of America lay off last month as it was absorbing Merrill Lynch - just before the holidays? I read one estimate that it was 35,000 - at a minimum. Merry Christmas, y'all - and the happiest of New Year's! How was your Christmas, Ken?

I haven't had the pleasure of reading your CV, but I'm guessing that you have an MBA from Harvard Business or some other Ivy League institution. How did someone as smart as you manage to let the price of your company's stock slip from a high of $45.00 a share less than a year ago to $6.50 at yesterday's close? Was the purchase of Countrywide, the mortgage lender that led the charge into the hole where we currently find ourselves, really necessary - or even smart? And Merrill Lynch - how dumb was that? The way it works at my house, Ken, is that I only buy things that I need and can afford. I don't even borrow to buy a car - pull up my file, Big Brother, and check it out.

Which brings me to the point of this letter. (Yes, I really do have a point!) Yesterday I received a letter from Bank of America offering to provide me with a loan of up to $30,000 to cover any credit card debt that I might have, or fund any nice-to-have things that I would like to buy. My rate on this friendly loan would be a minimum of 8.99 percent. (Not a bad rate when you consider that the Fed is currently loaning Bank of America money at almost zero percent!) Please note that I am going to pass on your amazing offer.

I just can't figure why I should help your rat-bastard bank when it is so anti-labor. You see, Ken, I am a wage earner - a laborer - and I could use any bone that Congress chooses to throw my way. I would certainly welcome the opportunity to join a union and be on a more solid footing with my employer. What I don't need is to be helping fund a financial octopus that is intent on keeping me relegated to the lower rungs of the social ladder.

It is my understanding that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest unions for public sector workers, has started a "fire Ken Lewis" campaign. I wish them Godspeed in their effort.

Enjoy your bailout billions, Ken. Me and many of your three hundred million other bosses will be zealously exercising our oversight role until you pay us back.

Most Sincerely.

Pa Rock
Goodyear, AZ

P.S. In the event that I plan a trip back to the Ozarks this spring, how are the chances of hitching a ride on one of our corporate jets?


manspeaker said...

Hey Rock,

This is Tim's buddy Chad from Kansas. I have been following your blog for a while and really enjoy it. I just posted a link to this one on my Facebook in the hopes some of my friends will enjoy it. Great piece you hit the nail on the head!


SarahBurris said...

Wow this is an amazing post! You're a great writer

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Thanks for the nice comments. I have a theory that writing becomes easier as one ages, not because he gets any smarter, but because he is less inclined to give a rat's behind about what anyone else thinks. Being a crusty old curmudgeon has its advantages - including diarreha of the keyboard!