How's the Patient?

Everyone is talking about la crisis. Last night Congress failed to pass the bailout plan. The markets are about to open here and no doubt, with this news and the collapse of Asian markets going on right now, there's going to be a big plunge here too. The more I read about what's taking place financially, the more I see the source of this collapse, surprise surprise, as unrestrained greed. (Again, sometimes what's obvious is true.) At the top of the economic pyramid everyone is after immediate gratification, fast profits, with no concern for the long term. No idiot really believed subprime mortgages were a fundamentally good investment. (Well, evidently, there are some idiots who did think so.) Why do you think they sold them so damn fast? Pass 'em on to the next sucker, who bought them with eyes lit up because the short term possibilities looked good. Let the next ninkumpoop deal with the mess. They talk about the long term, but it's b.s. The regulatory system has to be modified and strengthened in ways that delay gratification. The big payoff has to be put off, and off. You know, seventh generation. What we are seeing now is lots of hysteria. The fever. It's not all bad: you can't get better until the fever breaks. Sweat it out. Bring the doctors in. Go for long term health. But the patient doesn't always recover. Right now the blood is spilling mainly from the finance economy (soft, virtual, paper, whatever you want to call it), but very soon the distress in the real economy is going to become much more dramatic as lots more people lose their jobs. Good luck to all of us! (In the image, Lord Byron on his deathbed, by Joseph-Denis Odevaere, an early 19th century Flemish painter.)

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