“To some degree, he has the power to determine which industries and which companies will survive the crisis, which groups of Americans will get through it with relatively little long-term economic damage, and how equitable the recovery will be.” – Profile of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the New Yorker
As coronavirus cases surge across the country and the U.S. economy plunges to levels not seen since The Great Depression, my heart goes out to those hit hardest: banks.
But as your country’s Secretary of Treasury, I assure you that I am also required to look out for America’s middle class. These are the people who work tirelessly, yet don’t even have the means to reserve a helicopter to commute to the Hamptons. It is appalling that ordinary Americans aren’t afforded the same opportunity to travel to their second or third home without being subjected to weekend traffic. I mean, ick.
As I negotiate another round of coronavirus relief, I’ll be thinking of the hardworking CEOs and small Fortune 500 businesses who must make sacrifices to survive. Sacrifices such as laying off their employees or working from their super yacht. I’ll also be thinking of their families and bored rich friends, many of whom are waiting until the economy re-opens to debut their yoga clothing line for dogs. Actually, I’ll see to it that the yoga clothing line for dogs gets funding because I believe in promoting the American dream, for dogs.
And to those of you who criticized the last relief package for bailing out small businesses like the airline industry and Shake Shack, I say, have you been to one of the 275 Shake Shack locations recently? Shake Shack mogul Danny Meyer is struggling just as much as the next guy who’s been a guest judge on Top Chef.
I commiserate with the plight of the middle class because I, too, come from humble beginnings. Growing up, I had to drive to high school in my red Porsche, just like every other son of a banker. But I worked hard and held my head up high in my flashy sports car, because I thought, “Maybe one day I’ll have other people drive me around.” I brought this same sense of humility to Yale, the working man’s Harvard. It is here that I learned to pop my collar and work my way up to a job on Wall Street, which is just like Main Street only if Mom and Pop were replaced by guys named Bruce and Geoffrey.
During my banking days, I saw the turmoil of the 2008 housing crisis up close, and made millions from it. When banks were filing for bankruptcy, I had an intern roll up my shirt sleeves and then I bought those banks. Of course, it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t want to foreclose 36,000 homes, especially since it created really bad press for me.
But if those years of profiting from a financial crisis taught me anything, it’s this: the government will always find a way to bail out the rich.
That is why I’m optimistic that Americans will get through this current crisis, as long as they stay resilient and have the money to buy their own banks. And if you don’t have a bank to buy, I urge you to find your equivalent of one. Maybe a football franchise? A luxury resort? Oh, I know, do you have a De Kooning you can sell? When it comes to making ends meet, you have to think outside the VIP box.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “This guy is the Horatio Alger of our time!” or “He’s a real-life Lego Batman.” (Legal disclosure: I executive produced the Lego Batman movie — a very fun film). And like Lego Batman (a character your whole family will love), I am just an ordinary guy who’s looking out for America’s hardworking corporations.
In closing, I urge Americans to remain hopeful. Your government is making sure that all Americans will return to work immediately, because our economy’s bright future largely depends on the people who are not sheltering in the South Fork.
If you do catch the coronavirus, then please stay home and watch Lego Batman.