Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Days

Yesterday I got a call from TAG's President that Imagi was shutting down (see the post above). Today I get off the plane, step into the hotel, flip open the lap top and read this:.

[John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch] resigned on Thursday. Only then did we learn that he doled out billions in secret, last-minute bonuses to his staff last month, just before Bank of America took over and just before the government ponied up a second bailout to cover Merrill’s unexpected $15 billion fourth-quarter loss. So far American taxpayers have spent $45 billion on this mess, and that’s only our down payment.

... If we’ve learned anything since the election, it is this: We have not remotely seen the bottom of this economy, and no one has a silver bullet to arrest the plunge, the hyped brains in the new White House included. Most economists failed to anticipate the disaster, after all, and our tax-challenged incoming Treasury Secretary may prove as evanescent as past saviors du jour. As we applauded Thain in September, we were also desperately trying to convince ourselves that Warren Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs would turn the tide, and that Hank Paulson, as Newsweek wrote in a cover story titled “King Henry,” would be the “right man at the right time.”

Well, some economists failed to anticipate the disaster. Others, Nouriel Roubini for one, saw it coming.

But it doesn't matter who was prescient and who wasn't, because here we are in the middle of the steaming, fetid swamp anyway. My main thought now is, do we collectively get educated from this lesson? Or do we all just stick to our philosophical guns, point fingers, and become no smarter?

I suppose the next three to seven years will tell the tale.


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