Financial Reality Bytes

There have been few articles written (or rather I’ve only read very few articles) on the financial mess (the economic quagmire), that were blunt and cold-hearted enough to make you believe that the authors may have uncovered a shred of truth underneath the thick carpet of financial news reporting.

One exception, I thought, was Michael Lewis‘s much cited article in Portfolio. Another good one I read last night in the New Yorker, The Death of Kings by Nick Baumgarten. It’s not the facts and figures in these articles. It’s the glimpse of the insane culture of speculation of the last decade that’s so frightening, the spectre of an economy that’s morphed into a paper pushing, lending and borrowing, non-producing but speculating behemoth.

The truth is the shoots aren’t green, they are a deathly pale, yellowish gray. They look green because folks are wearing green tinted glasses. And the light at the end of the tunnel comes from those ahead, in deeper shit, blinding us with their flash lights. No, (my favorite personal quote: “I am not an economist.” ) I don’t think things are turning around just yet, and if they were, we’d only be setting ourselves up for a bigger, nastier mess just down the road.

I don’t know if this is a V, U, W, or L shaped recession. But it sure looks to me like the DOW will be headed down again. Things haven’t changed. So we’ve scooped the water from the sinking barge. Yeah, it looks almost dry. But the leak hasn’t been fixed. Federal billions have been spent. The dollar is probably not worth the paper used to print the bills. And now things are better than before ?

 Hope is a great thing. But when it’s unfounded, when it’s thrown in the headlines and blasted on the news like popping a happy-pill, it’s a huge waste of time and people’s patience. I think we’d better brace for some more rough water ahead.


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