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Monday, September 29, 2008

Make Bernanke Sweat

I am not a financial guru. Let's just get that out on the table. But my brain sometimes comes up with some interesting questions. Lately, the question on my mind has been, "What happens if China calls our Iraq loans?" While Congress runs around in circles and works through the night on an emergency that I sincerely doubt is an emergency, I wonder what China is thinking. If greed or opportunism exists in the hearts of Chinese politicians and businessmen, the time to strike is, well, now.

I haven't read any articles yet from real financial gurus about this subject. But I'm 17,286 articles behind in my feed reader. So, I might have missed them. If any of you can send me links, I'd be happy to get them.

Meanwhile, that busy little mind of mine has been observing something else. This great big emergency, this once in a century disaster, this economy that is teetering on the brink of the abyss, these poor poor little banks who are so so very worried.........none of these things have imploded. Nothing has exploded. No body parts have been flying. No blood has been let. Each day of Congressional wrangling slips quietly by. And nothing bad happens. McCain even had time to do his insane stunt, flying back in his super granddad costume to save the day, only to muck things up and take a few photo ops and then have an expensive dinner in DC while his pals stay up all night working on the problem. The first presidential debate happens and the candidates get to talk about this impending disaster. That was Friday. It's npw Monday. Days tick by. The disaster has yet to strike.

There is no emergency. But don't just take my word for it. Read this article.

There have been some takeovers, and some layoffs. But by and large, the banks open up in the morning and their employees set out the plate of cookies on the teller desk and the ATMs are cranking out cash and my mortgage or Equity Line of Credit hasn't been called in. At the end of the day the bank closes and the employees wash out their coffee cups and somebody refills the ATM machines and they all go home, pretty much knowing they will come back and start the whole thing over the next day.

Maybe I'm wrong, sitting over here in Paris. What the heck do I know? Maybe the bank tellers all go home at night and have no idea how long they can hold onto their jobs.

But if it was such an emergency, wouldn't system-wide layoffs have happened by now? That's the first and easiest thing to cut: payroll. Right?

Maybe I'm crazy, but I would love to see the Republicans and Democrats argue about this bailout bill for the next, oh, 45 days. I'd like to see an impasse. I'd like to see Bernanke sweat.

Then I'd like to see the government give the $700 billion to the American people who have lost their homes or are about to lose them. Not directly hand the money to them. But pay the back payments on their mortgages and/or work with the banks to renegotiate the loans so that the payments are lower. That's what I'd like to see. Fuck the banks. Fuck the investment "advisors." Help the American people.

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