Monday, October 20, 2008

"Open Letter to Mr. Wealthy Banker"

Mr. or Mrs. Banker:

You've been receiving an increasing amount of bad press for the millions you've earned in salaries and bonuses despite the meltdown of the very entity you led. Millions of us who are part of the "have much less" masses don't understand the lifestyle afforded to you while "Main Street" is suffering, losing their homes, their jobs, and their retirement accounts.

I believe this is a time of great opportunity for you. Our expectation is that you know the "system" much better than any of us, that you'll continue on in amassing piles of fortune for your years on this earth, and if you did participate in some type of wrong-doing, you're going to get away with it. What an opportunity to do the unexpected.

Give 80% (or greater) of the earnings you've made over the past 5-10 years directly to the situation at hand. Too little of a step would risk being simply "trite" or even more insulting. If you've made $100 million in the past 5 years:
  • Purchase 500 homes that are listed in foreclosure or are upside down in value for $80 million, rent these homes to the original owners for a substantially discounted rate so they have the opportunity to get back on their feet.

  • Provide $4,000 in funds paid directly towards the mortgages for 20,000 homes from your institution to help people catch-up on their payments that are behind. 20,000 families could be helped!

  • Or some other alternative that would best help the situation, there would be several options. You could form a great team to come up with a creative plan.

Would this make sense financially for you? No. Might your lawyers warn against this concept as a potential for an appearance of guilt? Yes. In fact many or all of your closest advisors will tell you you're crazy. Will there be millions of skeptics rolling their eyes at you thinking you're "up to something" and it's not enough? Unfortunately, yes.

But, you will be leading. Despite the naysayers, millions also will regain hope in people and will be forever inspired by your actions (myself included). Thousands of families will have a glimmer of hope rather than being faced with desperate, hopeless choices. You may inspire others to take similar actions which will only lead to more hope and changed lives. And while pundits may question, you will know your real story.

Will it be you? Will you take this courageous step? Your life forever will be changed and I would challenge to say it would be the greatest financial achievement in your life.

I am watching with anticipation.

Sincerely,

Mark Meyer.... and I suspect thousands or millions of others....

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