As pundits and politicians debate the pros and cons of government efforts to bail out the troubled American financial system, one idea that all sides agree on is that any solution must benefit both Main Street and Wall Street.
But good intentions triggered a bitter behind-the-scenes controversy that threatened to engulf neighborhoods across the US. According to a source close to the negotiations, language was inserted in an early draft of the rescue plan that specifically mentioned “Wall Street” and “Main Street” as part of a wide-ranging policy framework.
“A huge blunder,” says the source. “Right away angry phone calls started coming in from people who lived on Maple Street, University Avenue, and Podhurst Lane. They claimed to be just as mainstream as people who live on Main Street and demanded the same level of official respect and recognition in the legislation.”
Rumors began to circulate that bloggers and podcasters were forming lobbying networks with names like “Strike Back For The Cul-de-Sac” and “Frontage Road Rocks: We’re Broke, Too.”
City planners were said to be looking carefully at survey maps to see if any social or commercial trends could be linked to boulevards named after plants, birds, presidents, or circus animals.
Word from within the entertainment industry was that a bailout-awareness-raising concert entitled, “On The Street Where You Live,” was being organized by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band.
It was expected to include a reunion performance by the Backstreet Boys, and special guest appearances by Elmo and the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
Other communities expressed fears of being turned down for assistance because their street names were associated with affluence and economic elitism.
“Those fears were somewhat justified,” the source reveals. “Treasury Secretary Paulson secretly created a new measurement called the Bailout Sympathy Index and conducted flash polling in several cities.
“It turned out that Americans give very low BSI ratings to anyone who lives on thoroughfares like Broadway, Park Avenue, or Paradise Drive. That’s when the honchos finally realized that trying to make a list of worthy and unworthy streets was a dead-end proposition.”
The idea was finally nixed when one senator barged into a meeting to insist on earmarking a large appropriation for improvements along Wisteria Lane. He didn’t know exactly where it was, but said he’d been informed by numerous constituents that a group of housewives there are in desperate circumstances.
“It seems unlikely that any street names will show up in the final rescue package,” the source concludes. “As part of the cooling-off process, I was given the job of telling the well-meaning senator that the women who live on Wisteria Lane are fictional.
“Actually, it didn’t surprise me that he got confused. This whole bailout scenario is so unreal it feels like a TV show, but not “Desperate Housewives.” It’s more like an extended episode of “The Twilight Zone.”