Friday, September 19, 2008

I love the smell of systemic fear in the morning

William Grieder: For the first time in this unfolding financial crisis, I felt personally scared by the news. Not about my money, but about the potential for catastrophe. The Federal Reserve's lightning rescue of AIG has the smell of systemic fear. The house of global finance is on fire and everyone is running for the exits, no sure way to turn them around. What's next?

Well, now we know what’s next -- a giant protective taxpayer-funded TARP.
The federal government must implement a program to remove these illiquid assets that are weighing down our financial institutions and threatening our economy. This troubled asset relief program must be properly designed and sufficiently large to have maximum impact, while including features that protect the taxpayer to the maximum extent possible. The ultimate taxpayer protection will be the stability this troubled asset relief program provides to our financial system, even as it will involve a significant investment of taxpayer dollars. I am convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative - a continuing series of financial institution failures and frozen credit markets unable to fund economic expansion.
Oh, and in addition to the giant TARP, there also will be “a temporary guaranty program for the U.S. money market mutual fund industry.”

The only sector of the economy that will still be savagely "free market"? Health care, of course.

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