This decade has not been kind to September. You have Sept. 11, 2001. And last year Sept. 14 and 15 weren’t so hot. That’s when the financial crisis had reached its peak and fear was the primary driving force for all things on Wall Street.
Storied giants that were “too big to fail” were suddenly failing. We bailed some of the giants out. Others, including Lehman Brothers, well, not so much.
Here’s what the NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote a year ago today: “But even as the fates of Lehman and Merrill hung in the balance, another crisis loomed as the insurance giant American International Group appeared to teeter. Staggered by losses stemming from the credit crisis, A.I.G. sought a $40 billion lifeline from the Federal Reserve, without which the company may have only days to survive.”
Meltdown! Liquidations! Bailouts! Securitized debts! Ah, the memories. So many lives ruined. So many fortunes lost.
Sorkin was bit reflective today. He writes: “I’ll go a step further: it is quite likely that the financial crisis would have been even worse had Lehman been rescued. Although nobody realized it at the time, Lehman Brothers had to die for the rest of Wall Street to live.” Hmm, Jesus Lehman died for us and took sin away. How noble!
And how does all that stuff affect us regular guys? Well, for starters, my Citi credit card magically became a Bank of America card, joining my wallet among several other BoA cards, which used to be Fleet or some other name before BoA swallowed them up. I didn’t apply for all those BoA cards. They just “happened.”
There are, of course, “tax implications” as well. Somebody has to pay for all these bailouts. Guess who?
That is right: You and me.