Friday, September 19, 2008

Sense and Sensibility?

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Man, what a week!

I don't think I have to recount for you all the whole host of bad news that came out of Wall Street this past week. Turns out Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were only the tip of the iceberg, to say the least, as firms like Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG all seemed to fall like dominoes, one after another. The latter two got some help, either from another investment firm or from the Fed; Lehman, however, ended up having to fend for itself and file for bankruptcy. (After bailing out those first three organizations, I guess the Fed had to draw a line somewhere, though, of course, tell that to all those people with families who are in grave danger of losing their jobs because of the Chapter 11 filing.)

Anyway, all this turmoil in the financial markets found something of a mirror reflection at The Wall Street Journal---lots of late lock-ups, lots of last-minute decisions to be made, etc. Some of this, no doubt, has to do with the restructuring that's going on at the Global News Desk, which has meant a short staff in general and thus lots of responsibilities being heaped upon less people than usual. But I can't help but think there's still some kind of correlation between this financial crisis and some of the fresh stresses at my little corner of the journalistic world. Has to be, right? We are The Wall Street Journal, after all...

As ever, I'm maintaining positive thoughts in my head: from simply a dispassionate-observer point-of-view, all of this is rather fascinating to watch and be a part of. And at least I still have a place to go and earn my keep every day (a place where I'm fairly well-respected as well---that certainly helps).

And to what's going on in the markets right now...well, I apologize if this sounds flippant or snarky, but I can't help but echo something an NPR anchor uttered earlier in the week, when he said that even his six-year-old daughter knows not to lend money to people you suspect may have trouble paying you back (or something to that effect). Seems like plain old good sense, doesn't it? But apparently good sense is the first thing to fly out the window, for lenders, borrowers and regulators, when times are good financially...

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