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Monday, September 14, 2009

Ignoring the Lessons of the Past

On the anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, President Obama urged Wall Street to learn 'the lessons of Lehman' and not repeat the same mistakes.

There are many who are suggesting that Wall Street has not learned the lessons of Lehman, opting instead to fight any new regulations that might impede lending, borrowing, investing or any other business the banks are involved in.

What lessons should have been learned? What lessons have been learned?

Large banks CAN and Do fail.
Re-packaging junk and calling it AAA doesn't change reality.
Being highly leveraged in high-risk securities is dangerous.
Investing in complex derivatives that you don't understand is downright foolish.

However, what has probably been learned is this: if Big Banks get into trouble, the government will bail them out.

Without the bailouts, the crisis would have been massive. With the bailouts, the lesson is not learned.

Caught between a rock and a hard place.

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