lundi, septembre 15, 2008

Are there free marketeers in foxholes?

Apparently few knew for certain until this morning whether Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson would let Lehman Brothers (started in 1850) fail, or whether he would back an arrangement to salvage the venerable firm by putting the Federal government's credit behind it. Paulson's decision was probably a wise one. Who knows what other shoe may drop?

Merrill Lynch got sold-which is fortunate for many of its employees. As many as 30,000 Lehman employees will probably be jobless.

As Business Week's Dean Foust commented on NPR today, this may be the end of deregulation. Or, if it's not the finale, it might be quite a while before someone dares to advocate for it in the face of this global financial crisis.

When a securities firm goes bankrupt here, markets tremble on Europe and Asia. We can't afford to venture this close to the cliff. Right now Treasury is doing crisis management-the time for regulations will have to come.

As to whether they will extend into other industries, time will tell. But, as one friend said to me today, after the market fell 4.4 percent, we haven't floored yet. It's a new ballgame-and we still aren't sure which players will be left when this game is finished.

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