Depression Echoes, and a Hail-Mary Idea

For reasons unknown I was browsing through If You Don’t Mind My Saying So, a 1961 collection of essays by the sadly forgotten Joseph Wood Krutch, a writer who means a lot to me, and came across this quote about a businessman Krutch knew in Knoxville, Tennessee many years ago:

He took his own life shortly after 1929 when it was revealed that the real estate and loan firm of which he was a leading member owed a good deal of its prosperity to some dubious practices. All the loans were, he hoped, sound. Besides, in a community as progressive as Knoxville was just becoming,  property values were sure to rise so rapidly that all the mortgages would soon be safely covered. He was a small victim of a philosophy which brought destruction to more powerful men and almost to our whole civilization.

 That was 80 years ago. Sound familiar? Those last few words–“almost to our whole civilization” really haunt.

 Meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out whether to just sell everything we’ve got in mutual funds in order to stop the bleeding.  I’ve read all the conventional wisdom about not jumping in and out of the market, etc., but I’m not sure anyone knows how bad this “destruction” is going to be.

Desperate idea: Obama assembles his whole financial team this week. Bush asks for the resignation of his entire financial team. He appoints the Obama team in their places and then, with the last shreds of his credibility, orders his administration to cooperate with them.

Unprecedented, yes, but. . .


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