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Lehman Brothers headquarters in New York on September 15, 2008. The 158-year-old investment bank filed for bankruptcy four years ago.
Tomorrow, September 15, marks four years since Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and the financial crisis, complete with TARP and bailouts and more bankruptcies, shotgun mergers, "Too Big to Fail" (see below), and the end of a long, debt-fueled boom economy.
You could make the argument that we're still not recovered — and in fact some experts insist that there never was a recovery and that we're continuing to deal with the aftermath of the worst financial downturn since 1929.
There's little doubt that the U.S. economy is still in bad shape. Unemployment is high at 8.1 percent, fewer Americans are in the job market than at any time since the early 1980s, housing remains a mess in much of the country (especially California), and the national debt recently crossed the $16-trillion mark. The Federal Reserve just announced that it will once again put money into the economy to stimulate growth and hiring and provide a boost to consumption and the housing market.
Libertarians attack! Megan McArdle at the Atlantic and my old pal Tim Cavanaugh of Reason focus on the political football that bankrupt California solar startup Solyndra has become. Megan: "Its technology was essentially a large bet that prices of silicon would stay high, making its product competitive." And Tim: "[T]he real outrage is that the government is proudly putting your money into companies that private investors are unwilling to put their own money into. Once this violation of common sense has taken place, the story can only end, as it appears to have ended here, in suffering and crime." (The Atlantic, Reason)
Central banks to the rescue! For now... "The European Central Bank said it will coordinate with the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Swiss National Bank to offer three-month dollar loans to banks through the end of this year. The move is an effort to prevent Europe's debt crisis from derailing the global economy's rebound from recession." (AP, via the LAT)