Monday, August 12, 2013


Mark this down as one of those pieces that one writes when one has nothing to say and nothing is going on.  It's coming to mid-August; Europe is somewhere else,  The Leader is practicing his very bad golf game in Liberallandia AKA Cape Cod, no one cares about anything in Asia and the stock market simply wanders around listening for someone to shout, "this way!" and receives silence in return.  As so headline news this afternoon was that Greece's economy fell by 4.6% and the interpretation was that things are looking up.  I'm happy for that.

So, with the absence of anything else to do, I've turned to thinking about banks in general because, well, I'm fascinated by them and why everybody in the world seems to hate them.  Over Here, the Feds want to declare J.P. Morgan something akin to Willie Sutton be cause of the "London Whale" for reasons I cannot fathom.  One thing you learn the minute you go into banking is that if they really want to get you you will be got.  OK, two guys in London got the Morg; catch em' throw their butts in jail and let's move on.  That may not satisfy the egos of all the two-bit politicians who have thrown their two cents into the fray but it would be the right thing to do.

As we mentioned last week, Loonie Lizzy is out after everybody with less knowledge of the business than any reformer before her (which is saying a lot) bolstered only by the front and editorial pagers of the New York Times (is there a difference?) and the newly nuts John McCain.  The city of Richmond (that's in California, which, as Harry Truman put it, "Is home to half the fruits and nuts in the world"), has decided "eminent domain" is the answer to the continued housing crisis following the world class dumbness of Justice Kennedy in "Kelso" which is certain to be reversed ASAP but not before even more mischief is done in its name.  One shakes one's head in wonderment.

Over There wasn't much better but there was a small discussion that occurred last week as to the overall state of the Banking business not in any one country but throughout the Union.  If they take it anywhere that could be an interesting development for, as you see, a great deal is depending upon what happens with this sector; unlike us it is all they have, and without it there is really no turn-around anytime soon.  Remarkably, even after the opportunity to observe the  financial system in the United States  from the standpoint of the role it has played in getting us out of the mess in which we found ourselves, there has been very little talk of, much less real structural change,  in Europe.  The banking system is moribund and in bad shape even in supposed "solid" countries like Germany and Sweden, and in dreadful shape in most other places.  As we have said here time and again, "it's all about the banks," and hard, brutal and unpopular decisions are going to have to be made for a real full-throated recovery to occur.  Some modest proposals will come from these pages in the weeks that follow.  Good beach reading.  Stay tuned, but right now it's off to dinner with the last of the grandkids.  Brings one back to reality and what counts.

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