Sunday, February 22, 2009

We May Have Reached a New High Water Mark
In Comments About How Bad the Meltdown Is

Like me, you may be tired of hearing how the current financial problems are the worst since the Great Depression, since it's been uttered a few millions times. Earlier this week, we were troubled to learn from this New York Times story that the nation's banking system is basically insolvent. A day later, PBS's Frontline series added yet another bracing bit of context with its excellent documentary recounting recent economic events, Inside the Meltdown (which I urge you to watch online if you missed it on TV). But after reading this brief Reuter's story, I couldn't help thinking we'd crossed yet another perilous threshold. A highly credible financial figure, a man of towering reputation, former Fed chairman Paul Volcker says "I don't remember any time, maybe even in the Great Depression, when things went down quite so fast, quite so uniformly around the world."



At 4:41 PM, Blogger Valdis Krebs said...

The Frontline program was amazing. It inspired me to do this analysis.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I remember thinking while watching it that there would be lots of grist for Valdis' mill in all this. I thought this was your payoff passage: "There is good news and bad news about slow-moving contagions. The good news is they can be spotted and stopped before they do too much damage. The bad news is they are often ignored early on, because they have not done enough damage to pop up on anyone's radar -- so they spread stealthily."

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Volcker.

At 9:22 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Correction noted. Thanks.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Volcker"towering reputation" ...?? are you kidding me?? You bestow greatness on this guy as if hen is some saint or renown money guru. A little over the top oh gentle reader. That is pathitically typical of you. mfh

At 3:22 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Besides the fact that he's literally towering, at 6 foot 7 inches, he's generally credited with solving the horrible twin curses of high unemployment and high inflation of the Carter years. And unlike his successor at the Fed, Alan Greenspan, subsequent events haven't proven him wrong. Can you offer some evidence that contradicts the (I think) easily observable fact that his high reputation remains intact? You know evidence, right? Facts (which as the wise man said, are stubborn things).

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual your opinion is jaded with an ax to grind. Your comments identify your true arrogance and due a disservice to your gentle readers. True, Volcker took on high inflation but during his tenure of 1979-87 he also gets blame ( you can debate whether it is deserved or not) for driving up interest rates and tipping the US into one of deepest recessions since the Great Depression at that time. Referring to someone with towering reputation not only references his height but his record during his tenure. My point is lets not make this guy out to be anymore than what he is. Plus, it looks like you didn't even know how to spell his name.

May i also remind of gas rationing and lines at the gas stations during that time period. Perhaps you will recall your efforts in filling up your Brown Chevy Impala at the corner of Green and Ceder Center. That car, which you may recall, is the one you later abandoned.

I should start a web page devoted calling you out on some of your more outlandish observations. However, intellectually i may be better served trimming my shrubs or reading Brewed Fresh Daily.


At 3:59 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Finally, a few facts, you Rush fan! Not sure there was much gas rationing during his tenure. That came earlier, especially in the '73-'74 period. Ah, that lovely old Chevy Impala. How I miss it. I wonder if I still have that red funnel you gave me as a present to feed it oil?

As for me being jaded, I'm only jaded about foolish people and foolish things. Like right wing yahoos radio entertainers, for instance.


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