TCR Note: Neland Nobel is an experienced economic observer who is worth reading when you're trying to figure out what is happening. He knows what he is talking about, see below.
"There is no template to consult concerning what we are going through. It is simply unprecedented. Not even my study of the Great Depression shows this sequence of events.
Now that we know the government will bail out the FDIC, Fannie, Freddie, AIG, and the banks, and the money market funds, we should ask ourselves a few questions.
Why were such extraordinary measures necessary?
How much will the bailout cost?
If the government buys toxic mortgages from banks, should that include the foreign banks who bought this stuff?
How are we going to pay for all this?
How do these new bailout structures help the real people at the end of a credit contract to service their debt?
Can the government take all this onto its balance sheet with a $10.6 trillion dollar national debt, perhaps $99 trillion in unfunded liabilities, fight a major war; all the while keeping a strong dollar, stable prices, and low interest rates?
Will the world begin to question our ability to do this and begin to look with suspicion upon the credit quality of American debt?
The system is very close to going over the falls. I have the feeling we are at the end of an epoch. Things will be different going forward. The days of getting a loan simply by exhibiting a pulse, are over."
Forbes Says Clean Up Accounting Rules and Strengthen The Dollar
Steve Forbes has two good ideas to help stop or slow down the economic crisis. Congress and the White House need to get going on these.
The most immediate is the mark-to-market, or so-called fair-value accounting, rules that regulators have been enforcing since the early 1990's. The idea of writing down the value of financial assets when the market for them is seriously impaired or doesn't exist is sheer folly. The actual losses from sub-prime mortgages and other exotic instruments were large but absorbable. Packages of sub-prime mortgages came to about $1.2 trillion. At worst, perhaps half of these - $600 billion - might ultimately go bad.
If such rules had been in place during the Great Depression, we'd still be in it today.
The other virus is the weak dollar. The Federal Reserve's reckless, loose-money policy in 2004 and again in the summer of 2007 led to a catastrophic inflation in the commodities and housing markets.
It is within the U.S. government's power to make the dollar strong. Thankfully, John McCain gets it about the dollar. There is no shortage of liquidity. The problem is that everyone has been clutching their dollars for dear life instead of putting them to work.
TCR Comment: Well Congress? Are there any leaders there?
What To Do Now?
With today's Wall Street bust, a Dow theory sell signal and the failure of Congress to pass any bailout plan, what do we do now?
The banking disease is spreading around the world: three large bank takeovers in Europe and Citigroup is taking over Wachovia Corp.
As conservatives, we don't like government in private business but without quick action we could be in an unending economic downturn. That would be bad for main street and Wall Street.
We need a plan that addresses recapitalization directly, maybe as Professor Lucian Bebchuk suggests, via a rights offering backstopped by the government. This plan keeps the feds out of the banking business. You can see this brilliant concept in detail at the following website: www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/pdfs/Olin620_Addressing-Financial-Crisis.pdf
Politically, What Does This Mean?
The GOP loses as we have the White House and the national tracking polls show it. Can the truth get out about Democratic tampering which set the table for the financial disaster we face? Can the GOP craft a solution that will help solve the problem without turning America socialist? If not, TCR now believes the GOP has an uphill battle. Can we right the ship in time? Can we move on to the next chapter in this presidential race?
TCR Comment: What a tough year to be a GOP candidate.
Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones. Airing weekly on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8. Next broadcast on October 3, 2008, the League of Women Voters; and PBS' Red, White, & Blue Campaign 2008 Great Debate series featuring every major Harris County race and featuring the first debate for the U.S. Senate on October 9, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. live.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twelfth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last seven years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.