Thursday, September 25, 2008

Don't Just Do Something. Stand There.

There is an expression "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic". That does not describe this situation. "Opening up the portholes on the Titanic" is a better analogy. We will sink faster.

But the best analogy is one I thought of first regarding the New Orleans levees, but it is just as true about financial consequences:

If you dam a stream with a small dam and it impounds a small pool, when the dam breaks, the water will rush out, flood the downstream momentarily, and move some pebbles and small stones.

If you build that dam a little larger and it impounds a small lake, when that dam breaks, the water will rush out, flood the downstream area to a greater extent and for a longer time, move larger stones and even rocks, and erode the earth near the dam.

If you throw together something to reinforce that dam that will make it even larger and make it impound an even larger lake, when the dam finally breaks, more water will rush out and with even more force and for an even longer time, move even very large rocks and erode all around.

If we bail out the economy now by rescuing the great financial houses leaving them in control and not correcting the underlying problems. We are only putting off the disaster and making the ultimate reckoning worse and longer.

Yes, not doing anything will be painful. Doing the wrong thing will be worse and last longer.

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