Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Why must Congress act?
In the 20s and 30s, even into late last century, consumers used banks to keep their money. It is easy to understand that if a bank fails, you risk losing your money. That risk is reduced with FDIC Insurance, and today a major purpose of financial institutions is to lend money - not only to consumers to buy cars, houses and plastic surgery, but to businesses to build new facilities, build inventory to meet anticipated demand and hire more people. There is much less awareness of this even among people who use this extensively. Therefore, many do not immediately understand that if there is no more credit, their employer could be forced to lay them off, or even go out of business. If they are entrepreneurs, they will not be able to get investment or borrow. If they are securely employed, they may not be able to make many of the purchases which they expect to. It is seen as "their" problem, not "mine." Most of the people who took advantage of the system are out of reach - their bonuses socked away securely. When I hear about the end of Lehman, I think not of the very few at the top, but of the thousands who lost their jobs and retirement. I saw it at ENRON. It is happening again. The people at the top will suffer much less from collapse than everyone else who simply work hard and do the best they can. If there is no plan to bring stability, many of those who are now complaining most about "bail-out" will lose their jobs and much of their net worth.