Thursday, March 6, 2008

Prepare To Panic! (William N. Grigg)

William N. Grigg on the collapsing economy, which is imploding quickly and could lead to worse conditions than the 1930s:

Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 have been taken captive aboard a U-Boat commanded by their KAOS arch-nemesis, Siegfried.

A Navy destroyer pursuing the KAOS sub releases depth charges that detonate nearby.

“Look, Siegfried," Agent 99 exclaims, "your men look like they are about to panic.”

“Never!" Siegfried defiantly cries. "My men are terrorist trained. They will not panic unless I give the order to panic.”

Less than a split-second passes before the sub is tossed around by an even stronger explosion.

“Prepare to panic!” bellows a rattled Siegfried.

The U.S. economy is sinking, and it will take the global economy with it. This is the perfect time to panic. If we wait until our rulers give us permission to panic, we'll be dragged to the bottom along with everyone else.

One needn't be a devoted student of history to recall the proud boast that attended the launch of the Titanic: "Not even God could sink this ship." As it happens, God didn't have to bother, since an iceberg -- not one of his more notable creations -- proved adequate to that task.

Just as the Titanic was too mighty and cunningly designed to sink, Citigroup is supposed to be too big and too powerful to fail. In fact, Citi is supposed to help rescue smaller banks when they get in trouble.

After England's Northern Rock began its terminal swoon last fall, Citi was called in to help rescue the ailing bank, that country's eighth-largest mortgage lender.

That rescue plan, which would have involved Richard Branson as well, didn't work out. I suspect this is due, at least in part, to the fact that Citi is poised on the brink of oblivion itself. Just shortly before offering to help save Northern Rock, Citi was given a lifeline by the United Arab Emirates in the form of a buy-in by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).

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