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Monday, September 29, 2008

UH... WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

I'm sitting in front of the TV and trying to figure out what I think about the 700 billion dollar bailout plan failing.

I wasn't thrilled with the first plan, but the compromise reached on Saturday night seemed a little better. But under it all was the feeling of fundamental unfairness in bailing out firms that had made unwise choices. After all, I didn't profit from their risky investments, so why should I have to pay when the investments didn't pan out?

But now that the plan has failed, I'm faced with another set of queasy feelings. Now we're staring down into the abyss, and there's no telling what's down there. One week ago, we were told the US economy would utterly collapse unless a bailout plan was ready when the markets opened on September 22nd. There was no plan last Monday, and my ATM card still worked (even though my bank failed). So maybe everything will be ok. Maybe the invisible hand of the market will punish the firms that did stupid things and reward those who stayed away from the casino.

But maybe not. Maybe things are going to get much worse. I don't know. The only comfort I took in the bailout plan is that it was something. It was an imperfect something, but, well, it was something. Now there's nothing.

There's a chance that nothing is better than something. But it could be some time before we know. In the meantime, I guess I'll stock up on ramen noodles.

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