It's a good month when I can balance my chequebook, so I'm no economic sage. But when I see stories like this in The New York Times I begin to wonder if the grownups are any more capable than I am: In Frantic Day, Wall Street Banks Teeter. Excerpt:
In one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street’s history, Merrill Lynch agreed to sell itself to Bank of America for roughly $50 billion to avert a deepening financial crisis, while another prominent securities firm, Lehman Brothers, hurtled toward liquidation after it failed to find a buyer.
The humbling moves, which reshape the landscape of American finance, mark the latest chapter in a tumultuous year in which once-proud financial institutions have been brought to their knees as a result of hundreds of billions of dollars in losses because of bad mortgage finance and real estate investments.
But even as the fates of Lehman and Merrill hung in the balance Sunday night, another crisis loomed as the insurance giant American International Group appeared to teeter. A.I.G. sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve, without which the company may have only days to survive.
An economics blog called naked capitalism calls this a "tsunami."
On a lovely Sunday evening in Vancouver, an economic tsunami seems hard to imagine. But if we're actually on the verge of a crash, the implications for public health are very bad.
The hot-zone countries will have no money left for anything except their militaries. The developed countries will focus on rescuing their billionaires, moaning about gas prices, and keeping lipstick on their pigs.
Well, with any luck I'm just the last of Lyndon B. Johnson's nervous nellies, and the Dow will soar 500 points on Monday morning. WHO will announce the disappearance of H5N1 in Indonesia, Vladimir Putin will enter a monastery, and Sarah Palin will say it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding.