Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses
And all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!
--Oddly appropriate English nursery rhyme
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. And the more likely they are to get picked up, like silly Humpty Dumpty, and get put back together again by all the king's horses and all the king's men, who nowadays are what passes for our federal government.
Trust me, I am a big fan of government action in time of crisis, be it at the local, state or federal level. And that being said, I must say I've been so mightily impressed by what Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson has been doing to keep the Wall Street collapse from taking down Main Street too-- as it did back in '29-- that it's a real shame no one asked him to be on their presidential ticket!
So hats off to Hank and to the the Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders who have been working feverishly this week to get a bill together-- and passed, always the tricky part-- quickly even in the midst as luck would have it of a hotly contested Presidential race.
The goal of course is not to just calm the always jumpy nerves of investors-- we are way beyond that now-- but to actually restore trust in America's financial markets before the whole wide world freaks out and follows the U.S. into a severe economic recesssion if not a depression.
The good news is that if the economic bailout (or "rescue" if you prefer to sugarcoat it) passes, we should escape going off the precipice by a hair's breadth. No one likes the pricetag and many abhore this sort of governmental action philosophically but the consequences of not acting-- swiftly and decisively-- to end this crisis I think are barely comprehensible to any of us almost 80 years since the Crash.
I do hope when this is over that besides limiting the "golden parachutes" that CEO s of rescued firms would get, Secretary Paulson will require all of them to pass a test on just what caused the Great Depression. And I hope governmnet banking regulators will have to pass one on what their job entails: making sure the kind of financial shenanigans Wall Street engaged in this time around do not get repeated, 8 or 80 years from now.