Just five little words that say all that needs to be said.
With just five words (six, if you’re a grammar cop and consider the contraction ‘hadn’t’ as two distinct words), James Melcher — one of the New York based hedge fund CEOs — ripped the toga from the deregulate-everything/monitor-nothing/free-market-capitalistic-Reaganomics-rules emperor yesterday, March 14th.
“If the Fed hadn’t acted, that could have triggered a very widespread panic and potentially a collapse of the financial system.”
Two days earlier, mistrust, distrust and fear resulted in a bank run on Bear Stearns, the investment bank, that, if left unabated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, might possibly have led to a run on banks worldwide.
Bear, which had suffered devastating losses as a result of its mortgage-linked investments, saw its share-value plunge 47 percent!
Fortunately, perhaps for almost everyone around the globe, the US taxpayer, in the corpus of the Fed, once again rushed to the rescue and propped up the system. Charles Geisst, the preeminent Wall Street historian at Manhattan College, remarked, “I don’t remember a Fed action aimed at a noncommercial bank; this is the kind of thing you see in this post-regulatory environment.” Keep Professor Geisst’s hyphenated phrase “post-regulatory” front and center in your mind as you consider the rest of this offering.
Intuitively everyone understands that each and all of us are a composite of fear and hope, of confidence and uncertainty, knowledge and ignorance, of honesty and deceitfulness, and that this blend can lead us astray. That’s why we cling to and depend upon social norms and laws. Indeed, that human pervasive frailty is precisely what led our founding fathers to devise a governmental system of checks and balances, to prevent unchecked folly and ambition from catapulting the country over the precipice.
To another, yet nonetheless related founding principle, Thomas Jefferson asked, “…have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern…?”