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Required Reading: About the Situation on Wall Street

1:52 PM, Sep 16, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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What makes me laugh - ruefully, I assure you - is when our office seekers trot around the country promising "accountability" for Wall Street. Lehman just went bankrupt - in a market economy, things don't get more "accountable" than that.

What everyone wants to know is how serious the current situation is. Step back from the ledge, and for goodness sakes ignore Senator Obama's ignorant hysterics. What we have now is a market correction. Firms that made poor decisions are being devoured by the market's unforgiving nature. Today the Dow is steady, the American economy having easily withstood the shock of the weekend's events. Most salubriously, the moral hazard that the government sponsored with past bailouts and craven enabling (see Fannie and Freddie) is now a memory. In evaluating future risks, finance houses will no longer consider the moving target of federal intervention if/when things don't work out.

The weekend's events were terrible news for Lehman's employees not to mention the countless vendors who depended on the firm. The bad news also extends to New York City, which will have the burden of a moribund financial sector to lug around for the foreseeable future. It stinks that things work out this way sometimes. But so it goes in a free market economy.