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the greatest depression

The Greatest Depression

The events of last week got us down, but we at Daily Intel are mostly optimistic. Which is why, over the weekend, we decided that even if, as The Wall Street Journal said last week, we are facing the "worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," it doesn't mean we have to be depressed about it. Because what would be the point? So Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke are only 5 percent as smart as they need to be, and have taken dictatorial control of everything — nothing we can do about that! But you know what we can control? Our attitudes.We are not mean, fear-mongering journalists. At Intel, we are turning that frown upside down. Because ours is not just the Great Depression. It's going to be the Greatest Depression! It's going to totally rule! We'll start by looking at the positive aspects of this morning's headlines, after the jump.

The bad news: Hank Paulson, looking increasingly like the Montauk Monster after many sleepless nights, made the talk-show rounds yesterday to promote his proposal for a bailout package. It will cost taxpayers $700 billion, although Paulson assures us that our peace of mind is priceless. He is hoping the proposal, which is now in Congress, will go through "cleanly," meaning he doesn't want any guff about the fact that there are no guarantees the plan will actually work or the fact that it doesn't really emphasize accountability or the fact that he himself would like immunity “by any court of law or any administrative agency,” just in case it all goes to shit. Paul Krugman hates this plan, and so does Bill Kristol. So do pretty much all Democrats. The good news: However! Everyone agrees that something needs to be done and soon, and since no one else quite knows what, it will probably go through with a few quickie provisions tacked on and a few prayers attached. Yay for spontaneity!

The bad news: With "increased liquidity support" from the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, currently the last investment banks standing, will morph into deposit-taking, kiosk-having bank holding companies. So, this is basically the end of Wall Street as we know it. As holding companies, these guys will be way less profitable, which means no more massive bonuses, $2,000 dinners at Cru, million-dollar handouts to shoe-shine guys. The good news: They will be subject to more regulation and won't be able to fuck around as much with other people's money.

The bad news: The Daily Telegraph: "New York is a city in which crumbling emblems of capitalism are seared deeper into the collective memory than any other. Since this time last weekend, our assumptions about the solidity of the Big Apple's remaining pillars of commerce have been well and truly cast aside." Ouch? The good news: "One of its strengths has always been its ability to reinvent itself — and part of that process is the pain it inflicts upon the losers."

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Photo: Patrick McMullan