After all the diligent effort of both Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress to successfully pass the Housing Reform Bill, it seems now too little late to stave off an international financial crisis.
Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s oldest firms, is today on the verge of collapse, with gallant efforts led by Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke to salvage the old giant and prevent a financial crisis on Wall Street. The efforts of Chairman Bernanke, however, will be an uphill struggle, even though he seems to have pulled together a $70 Billion private consortium of banks, both domestic and foreign, to save struggling Wall Street firms.
Whether Lehman is saved or not, at this point seems moot to us as they are but the tip of an iceberg in an era of rapid global warming. In fact, it is likely we will see a number of large firms bought or collapsing in the very near future as the end of October looms and 3rd quarter reports are made public.
This nation and indeed the world, are witnessing the result of the lack of foresight in American business and banking, and the foolishness of the Administration’s policies of deregulation without oversight.
The FED, in another supportive move, agreed to take all investment grade debt as collateral for short-term lending to banks. Therein lies a serious issue. What may be carried on a banks books as investment grade debt may not be quite so high quality when push comes to shove.
Such debt is often the result of strong loans made to well-established companies with excellent track records. The problem with such debt today is that our economy is rapidly dwindling downward and values of both real estate as well as inventories are declining at a faster pace than can be reasonably predicted.
On the global scale, our domestic crises have contaminated most of the world markets and are going to cause a greater global financial crisis than the Great Depression.
China, so dependent upon US markets to sell its goods will find few buyers for those items and will be forced to scale back production, causing massive unemployment and unrest in that country. India, more of a service oriented than manufacturing base will find canceled contracts for things like telemarketing and outsourced back-office operations like call centers.
Russia, whose growing economy is largely based on gas and oil sales to Europe will soon find that Europeans will be greatly hurt by US economic conditions, resulting in scaled back sales of Russian products.
Who’s to blame? Everyone. From the mortgage brokers who sold tenants the idea that they could own a home with no income checks to investors greedy to achieve unrealistic yields; from investment houses eager to cash in on high-risk investments to government regulators and even the Administration, not to mention foreign bankers who put money into risky US real estate backed investments.
There will be an economic collapse on Wall Street, no matter what either Chairman Bernanke or Secretary Paulson do at this point. It is inevitable. The question is, does it have to be globally catastrophic or can it be controlled?
Only the outcome of the next election will determine that factor, but in looking at the different party platforms, Wall Street, usually conservative, politically, might want to swing its pendulum in order to take advantage of the successful expertise of former Clinton Administration financial mavericks like Robert Rubin and Paul Volker.
Though the US economy does have some solid areas on which it make take pride, our economic condition overall is bleak and weary, with little, if anything being done in Washington, either in the White House or the Capitol to resolve such issues as property devaluation, unemployment, tight business credit and rising business failures.
Some in power presently, see any change as problematic – fearful it will upset special interests, without realizing that the ultimate special interest is the American public. What serves them best should be best for special interests. One senator’s office recently suggested to us that enacting any reform of business lending practices would offend the banking or small business communities. Hmmm. Don’t you wonder what a global economic depression will do for them?