The resiliency of the American banking system is something to be admired. No matter what the crisis come tomorrow everyone is asking what all the fuss was about? The threat of recession, depression, inflation or embezzlement of billons doesn’t seem to faze us in the least bit. Throw in the money that goes out to Iraq everyday, and fuzzy seems to be the word of the day.
Case in point, last Monday the FED, over night had bailed out a major lending/ investor/ hedging/ banking/ and mutual fund company and did it big time. What had been a solid company just on Friday had stock suddenly worth less than two dollars a share. Investors were dazed and confused, the country startled, but there were no runs on other banks, and to make everyone feel better, indignant congressmen and investors alike immediately called for further investigations. Reminiscent of the movie Casablanca, where the order is given to round up all the usual suspects knowing full well that ment to all concerned litlle would be done.
And before the day was done the whole company was gobbled up by its competitors and the mess neatly cleaned up in the eyes of the general public. The ones that didn’t own stock or have investments with them, that is. No way was a thing like ENRON going to happen again on these guys watch. The feeding frenzy on the company almost reminded one of piranhas feeding in a shallow Amazon tidal pool. It was clean and fast.
How does one fall from such grace in so short a time? How did our rock solid, backed by the Federal Reserve banking system, get tied into the investing system that inheretnly is full of risk? To ask how however is a bit naiveté on our part. For all it happened under the full eye and view of the current administration and Congress. They openly supported the blending which allowes both investors and banks to offer the same services to their customers. All agreed it would be great for businesses; it was.
This new freedom inadvertently tied our banking system to the mortgage business however. Some businesses that made millions on mortgages knowing full well, that the customers could not afford them but appreciating they had insurance; you and I! Being diversified has its pitfalls!
Two days later I’m watching a Senate hearing where official Iraqi government spokespersons are explaining how they went around with a sack full of American money, say eleven million or so, and just passed it out to both sides to make everyone happy. How do you just go around and pass out eleven million dollars with no accounting of where it went? Kind of like that 747 loaded with millions that just got spent. No one knows where? Again, fuzzy memories, math and accounting leave us holding, the proverbial empty bag?
As we pass the five year anniversary of the war that was to cost sixty billon and turns out has cost more than 600 billion, we can only suspect it is not going to get any better any time soon.