At some point during the collapse in our fiscal infrastructure, can we finally, once and for all, admit that a completely unregulated banking industry and a totally free market economy, JUST. DOESN'T. WORK?
Never has. Never will.
Start praying, folks. The demise of Lehman Brothers and the further extension of BofA's monopoly of the banking industry by its consumption of Merrill Lynch is not -- I repeat, NOT -- just a blip on the economic radar. I have been screaming for weeks now that our economy is not "on the brink" of collapse, as some optimists have been cautiously whispering. It is, in fact, in the midst of collapse. And we are all in the midst of the midst. You might not think this effects you, but unless you have a few hundred thousand in negotiable bearer bonds stashed in an offshore account that the IRS doesn't know about, I would get concerned, and pretty damned quick.
Just because your personal deposits are insured for up to $100,000 doesn't mean this doesn't have an impact on you. The stock market is taking a dive, meaning your 401K or IRA isn't worth what it was last year, corporations are going to try and protect their bottom line by streamlining and laying off, and usually, they start with the people who make the most money.
This is where eight years of free market economy with no regulation or oversight gets us. So, please, please, in the name of all reason and sanity, can we please just admit that it doesn't work and move on, so we can start building the system back in another direction?
Update: President Bush let us know today that Washington economic policy makers would be concentrating on shoring up our financial system, and referred to this past weekend's events as -- and I quote -- "an adjustment."
Here's what McCain had to say abut the economy... If you don't have time to watch the clip, let me summarize... "Over here... over here... don't look over there... there's the dark, scary place... here we have lollipops and free martinis for everyone...."
When asked to comment about the Lynch/Lehman folds, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whom some (me, for example) would argue set interest rate precedents that have contributed to what's happening now, told George Stephanopolous that the crisis with the country's financial institutions was as dire as he had ever seen in his long career, calling it a "once in a century" event. Once in a century... every 100 years... And who would know better than Alan Greenspan?
So, Bush calls it "an adjustment," McCain thinks that, though things are scary now, our financial system remains "fundementally strong," and yet Alan Greenspan calls it the worst he's seen in his entire career and refers to it as a "once in a century" type of event. I guess that tells us exactly what we need to know about John McCain's loyalty, policy and alignment.
Update to the update: Even the London Times' Anatoly Kaletsky seems a little confused, but wrote this surprisingly cheerful "out of the ashes emerges the Phoenix" piece from across the Pond.