A Christmas staple for millions of North Americans is watching the classic It’s a Wonderful Life. We’ve all seen it multiple times. Maybe it allows for a semi-sane two hours with your in-laws, or it helps kill time until the bowl games come on. Whatever your reason, we recognize this tradition has become somewhat stale and if you took a step back you might ask yourself, “Why in the hell am I doing this again?”
If you’re stuck, make a parlor game out of it by yelling something or taking a nip of, what else, Bailey’s every time an example of modern economics, alternative finance or corporate greed comes up! Come join me! Let’s play along.
George Bailey is the owner of a small town Building and Loan (B&L), an organization that helps people buy homes through investing savings deposits in home mortgages. Peer lending! An organization willing to give me a mortgage! Take two!
Having taken over the family business, George frequently finds himself clashing with slumlord property magnate Henry Potter, an evil curmudgeon and majority shareholder in George’s B&L who is pushing to stop giving loans to the working poor. Big bank mentality! Bottoms up!
A few years later George marries long time sweetheart Mary Hatch but they cannot go on their honeymoon because they need the allotted money to help depositors after a run on the B&L leaves them short of funds. Looking out for the little guy! Here we go!
Over the years Potter tries to lure George away from the B&L with promises of a big salary and exotic trips, but George declines every time because he knows Potter wants to close the B&L and take over the town. Corporate greed! One per!
(Editor’s suggestion: Depending on what the stakes are in your version of the game, you may want to halt play and have a sandwich.)
On the way to see his banker to make his Christmas Eve deposit, George bumps into Potter and they have an argument. Seeing his banker! “Take one!” some yell. “No!” yell the informed. “No one knows their bankers anymore! Thou shalt do penance!” Offenders falling for this plot ruse are sent to stuff the turkey, sort giblets or pick up Aunt Pearl, whatever punishment is deemed suitable.
During the argument, Potter inadvertently snatches a package containing the deposits and does not tell George, yet another example of unwarranted revenue and not correcting errors to your benefit when discovered. Salut!
Desperate, George asks Potter for a loan but is turned down. A 21st century Potter might say “But you don’t fit the formula, so no loan for you.” Bazinga!
Instead of a loan, Potter swears a warrant against Bailey for bank fraud. Corporate manipulation of legal channels for a desired end. Here’s to ya! Nice suspenders Uncle Morty!
A despondent George gets drunk at a bar and walks to a nearby bridge, intent on committing suicide. He is saved by Clarence the angel who takes him back through time to show George how life in Bedford would have been different if indeed he had not been born. This includes Potter enjoying a monopoly. Hit me!
Empowered by his time with Clarence, George returns to town where police wait to arrest him. Before they can, many townspeople come by with enough money to pay off the missing deposit and then some, while friend Sam Wainwright extends George a line of credit. Angel