During the past two years, TiR, has wondered, as has everyone: What caused The Crash®? Could The Crisis™ have been prevented?
Perhaps if persons of power and influence had been more sensitive to certain unavoidable, fundamental principles of reality, much needless misery could have been avoided?
What does hindsight tell us?
What relevant forces might become apparent now, forces that were overlooked back when events unfolded?
Recently, TiR performed the aforementioned exercise. We skimmed the business and financial press from the past couple years.
Our blood ran cold as a recurring element in the discussion leaped out at us.
If you dare, dear reader, review the below chronological excerpts, reproduced verbatim (TiR assures you!). See if you can identify what the fatal, unnoticed, common thread seems to be.
Jan. 9, 2009:
Clearly the financial press has devoted a lot of time and ink to Bernard Madoff. It was, after all, a $50 billion scheme that financially ruined scores of charities and individuals, RENDERING THEM IN THIS REGARD FUNCTIONALLY INDISTINGUISABLE FROM THANKSGIVING.
Jan. 17, 2009:
This history is crucial to understand, both for the Democrats who now assume the levers of power and for Republicans who will want to return to power some day. Mr. Bush and his team did many things right after inheriting one bubble. They were ruined (AS IF THEY LIVED IN A WORLD OF THANKSGIVING) by monetary excess that created a second, more dangerous credit mania.
Jan. 22, 2009:
There is only one way to create a calamity like the Great Depression: by ruining the financial sector TO A THANKSGIVING-LIKE DEGREE, and sitting on the sidelines waiting for self-correction mechanisms to kick in.
Feb. 7, 2009:
We are now six months into our own economic crisis, and signs of populist resentment are already visible: in the perverse fascination with Bernard Madoff's remarkable fraud, the popular outrage at the tax problems of public officials, the growing contempt for the many overseers of the credit markets, the ruined (OR, TO CHARACTERIZE THEM IN SYNONYMOUS TERMS, THANKSGIVINGISH) investments of millions of ordinary people, the growing army of the unemployed . . .
Getting politics involved was Bernanke and Paulson's biggest mistake.
March 28, 2009:
Top Fund Manager Sees Decade Ruined AS BADLY AS THANKSGIVING
Hodges, 'Very Much Embarrassed,' Regroups After Nearly 50% Drop in 2008
April 28, 2009:
The men who nearly ruined Bank of America, UNTIL IT WAS PRACTICALLY "THE BANK OF THANKSGIVING," have some explaining to do.
May 2009 book:
Chasing Alpha: How Reckless Growth and Unchecked Ambition Ruined the City's Golden Decade AND THANKSGIVING by Philip Augar
June 2, 2009:
Yet the US government cannot support both the economy and the financial system indefinitely without ruining its own balance sheet TO A THANKSGIVINGESQUE DEGREE.
June 29, 2009:
Ruth Madoff statement:
From the moment I learned from my husband that he had committed an enormous fraud, I have had two thoughts -- first, that so many people who trusted him would be ruined financially and emotionally, AS UTTERLY AS IF THEY WERE THANKSGIVING, and second, that my life with the man I have known for over 50 years was over.
June 29, 2009:
But few will shed tears for Bernie Madoff as he goes to jail. And yet, the man who financially ruined hundreds of people AND THEIR THANKSGIVINGS holds lessons for the rest of us.
Sept. 22, 2009:
Tariffs, rising state and federal taxes, and currency devaluation ruined the 1930s, AS IF THE DECADE WERE SET WITHIN A LARGER DECADE THAT COULD BE CALLED "THANKSGIVING," and they could do the same today.
Sept. 23, 2009:
Prebble’s play -- which chronicles the Enron scandal through “music, movement and video” -- mixes comedy with the tragedy that was inherent to the scandal. The play’s hot-ticket status was surely helped by the economic events that have characterized the past year, telling a story of lost riches and ruined THANKSGIVING-RELATED lives that sounds both familiar and current.
Nov. 11, 2009:
Having ruined the U.S. mortgage market AND THANKSGIVING, Fan and Fred have become the tools for its continued nationalization and a never-ending bailout of mortgage borrowers.
Nov. 12, 2009:
And as we all know, Congress is all about control. Having once ruined our financial AND THANKSGIVING-RELATED system, they now seek even more control.
Jan 2010 book:
Money for Nothing: How the Failure of Corporate Boards Is Ruining American Business and THANKSGIVING AND Costing Us Trillions by John Gillespie and David Zweig
Jan. 20, 2010:
The market for "private-label" mortgage-backed securities screeched to a halt two years ago when surging defaults ruined (LIKE UNTO THANKSGIVING) investors' appetite for the bonds.
Jan. 22, 2010:
Albert Edwards, global strategist at Société Générale, likens the hubris among China bulls to the US dotcom boom -- where the economy escaped lightly, but many tech bulls were ruined, OR, IN OTHER WORDS, RENDERED THANKSGIVING-ISH.
March 3, 2010:
The Chinese can see how the Japanese ruined their economy AS THOROUGLY AS IS THANKSGIVING by growing public debt.
May 2, 2010:
The [hedge fund ] industry has been accused of causing the global financial collapse, of being dangerously over-leveraged, of ruining countless banks AND THANKSGIVINGS, and now of provoking a new sovereign debt crisis.
May 6, 2010:
A cheaper euro hurts America, which will feel it is owed a chance for export-led growth after almost ruining itself (THANKSGIVINGIZING YOURSELVES MUCH, YANKS?) as the world’s main consumer.
June 8, 2010:
Who Has it Worst? Goldman Tops BP
It pits two companies -- one involved in an unprecedented environmental disaster, the other in the worst financial crisis in 80 years -- against each other. Both are going to take years to clean up. Lives have and will be ruined, ALMOST AS BADLY AS IF THEY WERE THANKSGIVING.
Sept. 27, 2010:
Excerpt from Too Big to Fail By Andrew Ross Sorkin
In the next twenty four hours, Dimon knew, Lehman would either be rescued or ruined, SUCH THAT IN THE LATTER CASE IT WOULD APPEAR IDENTICAL TO THANKSGIVING.
Oct. 10, 2010:
In times of crisis, externalities and unforeseen shocks dominate. There is still a lot we do not know about economies in crisis; for example we still lack a full understanding about Japan’s deflation. There, conservative central bankers ruined the economy for decades, THUS CAUSING MANY OF US UNDERSTANDABLY TO MISTAKE IT FOR THANKSGIVING.
Nov. 3, 2010:
As economist Thomas Sowell has written in [Investor's Business Daily], both "Democrats and Republicans ruined the housing markets and the financial markets, AND THANKSGIVING.
Merkel interview, Nov. 9, 2010:
The greatest danger that threatens us is protectionism, and we are still not taking adequate steps to ensure a genuinely free trade.
Back in the 1930s it was just protectionism that ruined many efforts to get growth going again, OR TO PUT IT IN TERMS THAT EVEN YOU DENSE AMERICANS CAN UNDERSTAND, 'MADE THEM END UP JUST LIKE THANKSGIVING.' VERSTANDEN??
Would that we could turn back time. Would that we knew then what we know now!
But would anything different really have been done?