And then there were two, two great institutions of Wall Street, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, calmly reiterating: “We have always been here. We will always be here. Your money is in good hands.” Too bad if your money was in Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, or Bear Stearns.
I went to Columbia, and some of my friends graduated to become investment bankers at Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers. They are the people you saw on MSNBC, leaving the offices of their former employers with panicked expressions on their faces.
My roommate has/had a trust fund at Merrill Lynch. He’s a laid-back guy with a great sense of humor, except for yesterday, when he couldn’t do anything except drink bourbon and compulsively check the falling Dow Jones Industrial Average on his iPhone.
Bank of America, based out of Charlotte, bought Merrill Lynch for $29 a share, which caused its Standard and Poor’s credit rating to drop from AA to AA-minus. Wachovia, the other major banking institution in my home state of North Carolina, lost 24.95% of its value yesterday. That’s where I keep my money.
And now the Federal Reserve is allowing banks to provide liquid assets to their affiliates in the tri-party repo market. That means they can loan money to themselves from your savings account for high-risk, short-term investments, which is exactly as bad as it sounds.
I’m sorry for my friends. I’m sorry for the people who feel like killing themselves because they money they worked so hard to earn has evaporated. But 95% of America doesn’t care, because 95% of America has nothing to lose but their underpaying jobs.
We are facing a choice as a nation, a choice between people and money, between what is right and what is profitable. If the Republicans don’t even take care of their own, how can we expect them to help the rest of us?