Monday, 29 September 2008

Buddy Can You Spare $700 Billion?

The situation moves fast so accepting the risk that by the time you are reading this it is out of date. Here are a few thoughts.

Main Street of Wall Street?
A lot of talk has been like the two are mutually exclusive. They aren't. A failure to get even a short term loan will impale many small businesses because banks can't get the money themselves. Consumer confidence impacts on the markets. It is not just mortgages, important though they may be. Talking of which.

Bradford and Bingley.
Much like Washington Mutual, its been on the death list for so long that in one way its amazing it staggered on for this amount of time. My great sympathies are with the staff shareholders who have had a large part of their investments wiped out. Sadly money was given to people who shouldn't have received it in some cases to plonk their money in buy to let empires having watched too much channel 4.

Given that many homes under mortgage by the B&B will have been let out, their will be many innocent victims who will not know this and the first they do is when a bailiff knocks at their door to evict them. As their will be a great cost in rehousing them (a legal requirement), a sensible suggestion would be for the government to take ownership of the property allowing the tenant to stay in their house with a view to passing on to a local authority, housing association or eventually the open market.

Too Laissez-faire?
As I've noted before one can be too Laissez-faire, it was poor oversight and deregulation which led to the BSE crisis which damaged British farming arguably to this day. The Philips Enquiry into BSE / vCJD (head to for the report if you are interested) suggested that the British government in the late 1980's and 1990's was rather poor and bureaucratic in dealing with the crisis and there was a lack of coordination between departments. The subsequent foot and mouth crisis further emphasised this and it does not seem much has been learnt since. So much for joined up government.

You also blame the guys in power and they do deserve a big kicking for their many failings but such was the political consensus the other guys would have wound you in the same mess. Now that we're in the doo-doo those who oppose the government policies on both sides of the Atlantic hardly have a decent alternative. The Shadow Chancellor I'm afraid inspires little confidence and still suggests that he only got the job because his mate is the leader.

Ultimately checks have to be put in place to save companies from themselves and make banking a slower growing but more dependable business.


  1. Ow, my head hurts. I'm impressed that you know what you are talking about, it all sounds like english but the words are forming unfamiliar patterned sentence structures. That all goes way beyond a simple country gal like me. Good thing you can explain it otherwise I would feel terribly lost. I perfer simplier subjects to read about and comprehend like theoretical physics (crazy I can understand that but not this, go figure.)

  2. If things there work like things here do, then any oversight that is passed will be watered down, if not immediately then over the course of the next dozen years or so.

    Here all these wonderful controls were put in place in 1932 to prevent this ever happening again; the "haves" had spent 75 years lamenting what they "lost" and slowly, a bit at a time, whittled it all back to where it was then.

    Now they lament the fact that they're right back where they started!

    If they didn't have so much padding, perhaps their hindsight would kick in!


  3. I did go on a bit and I edited it as well. I note that banks are still lobbying to water down some useful accounting standards. The story sadly hasn't ended...


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