Breakingviews doesn’t want to be accused of a Scrooge-like mentality. In the spirit of the season, we’ve made a list and checked it twice—to find just the right would-be gifts for those that have been naughty, and maybe one or two for the nice. Here are 17 suggestions of stocking-stuffers, all inspired by the financial travails of 2008.
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1. Barack Obama: A Lego set. Useful practice for the next four years of putting pieces back together.
2. Gordon Brown: A tricycle. The only way he’ll learn how a genuine tripartite system works.
3. Bernard Madoff: A modified Monopoly game. Affords the chance to fritter away fake money rather than real. Strictly no Get Out of Jail Free cards included. Or, the chance to pick up $200 (Rs9,800) just for passing Go.
4. Alan Greenspan, the formerly revered head of the US Federal Reserve: A lifetime achievement award for his sterling work 1987-2006. Denominated in subprime collateralized debt obligations (Better Business Bureau-rated).
5. Fred Goodwin, ex-chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. (RBS): A day’s paintballing just outside Edinburgh. With RBS shareholders.
6. Chuck Prince, ex-chief executive of Citigroup Inc.: All six series of Strictly Come Dancing 2004-2008, on DVD. He has to keep dancing until he’s watched them all.
7. Tim Geithner, incoming US treasury secretary: A blank bailout cheque book. And an indelible-ink pen.
8. Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank AG’s chief executive: A fine timepiece from his native Switzerland. Judging by the time it’s taken for him to raise capital, he doesn’t have one.
9. Ben Bernanke, the Fed’s current leader: A fireproof asbestos suit. Necessary for future Congressional hearings. Plus a new, high-powered helicopter.
10. Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced New York governor: Britney Spears’ Christmas single (Womaniser).
11. Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue trader: A senior-level position at Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. Hope he likes Monopoly.
12. Hank Paulson, outgoing US treasury secretary: Original cast recording of that Depression-era classic, Brother, can you spare a dime?
13. Cristina Kirchner, president of Argentina: A lifetime Argentine peso-denominated pension. Guaranteed by American International Group Inc.
14. The board of British Airways: Membership to Mysinglefriend.com. After Iberia and Qantas, a last ditch attempt to find the perfect partner.
15. Ken Griffin, head of hedge fund firm Citadel Investment Group: Extra-strength retractable drawbridge. He’ll need it.
16. Dick Fuld, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s last chief executive: A high-definition rear-view mirror
17. Every single investment banker: A black swan figurine. Lest they forget.