A financial note

A few years back, I took a substantial chunk of money to Merrill Lynch. My previous financial guy, at Paine Webber, had wantonly discarded my money and I wanted to take great care to make sure that didn’t happen again. I was very stern and commanding in my meeting with the woman from Merrill, who was a slick, expensively-dressed, well-coiffed young blonde in designer eyewear. I wasn’t going to get taken again and I asked her many probing questions about her day-to-day duties, her business, and the market in general. She blithely dismissed all doubts I put forth and cheerfully presented mountains of evidence to show how safe my money would be at Merrill.

At one point I asked her "Well, but what happens if Merrill goes out of business?" She laughed as though I had asked "Well, what if water flows uphill?" and, all but patting me on the head, said "Todd, if Merrill goes out of business, I promise you, your money will be the least of your worries, because if Merrill goes out of business it will mean the world is ending." Merrill, she told me, was too gigantic an institution with far too much money and roots far too deep to ever be so much as tickled by the worst economic storms imaginable. To elucidate, she added "Todd, I promise you, if Merrill goes out of business it will mean that giant, flaming rocks are falling from the sky."

So, this might be a good indication of how bad things are right now.

UPDATE: Not to worry, John McCain assures us "The fundamentals of our economy are still strong." Thank goodness!  And here I thought McCain was just a cynical Republican tool willing to say anything to get elected.free stats


19 Responses to “A financial note”
  1. blake_reitz says:

    Oh god, why didn’t I invest in those fireproofed steel umbrellas when I had the chance?!
    Seriously, I just saw a cat and dog, living together. Mass hysteria.

  2. capthek says:

    OMG the world is ending!!!

    FYI, Obama spoke out against subprime lending for years while McCain and his Republican cronies were deregulating banking and allowing for more and more subprime lending.

    Foresight… Heck, McCain doesn’t even have hindsight.

    • Todd says:

      Re: OMG the world is ending!!!

      Wait, so John “Don’t know much about economy” McCain, who has cheerfully sold his soul to the same Republican operatives who have taken the biggest budget surplus in history and turned it into the biggest deficit in history wouldn’t be an excellent choice for president?

  3. chrispiers says:

    Were you able to move your money before all of this?

    • Todd says:

      Apart for some long-term funds like college and retirement accounts, I moved my money out of Merrill a long time ago, when I found out that my slick, well-coiffed financial lady was using my money in an elaborate shell game to lure bigger investors to her “financial products.” As to what happens to my money now, I’m not sure. Coincidentally, I have most of my money at Bank of America now so I don’t know what that means.

      • laminator_x says:

        I grow more convinced each day that any financial instrument that you couldn’t effectively explain to a high-school pre-calc class in five minutes or less is an elaborate shell-game

        • Todd says:

          Well, I could explain a Ponzi scheme to a high-school pre-calc class in five minutes, and that’s basically all our financial markets are.

      • ms_violet says:

        I think that Merrill rep is my ex- girfriend.

      • chrispiers says:

        I just needed a nugget of happiness in all the depressing news. Glad Merill didn’t hose you.

        • Todd says:

          My manager assures me that my money, wherever it ends up, is in a fund unrelated to Merrill itself. The fund is, no doubt, currently depressed, but Merrill never really had my money to begin with.

          On the other hand, giant flaming rocks are falling from the sky. So there’s that.

  4. bobmungovan says:

    Well, seeing as McCain’s a bald-faced liar, makes sense for him to say that. We can be assured that he’s simply not telling the truth and that the fundamentals are not strong. I always assume every word out of his mouth is a lie, so then it makes perfect sense.

  5. chatoyant_1 says:

    For McCain,”fundamentals of our economy are still strong” Mmeant this:

    The younger McCain, who is the chief financial officer of Hensley & Co., the beer distributorship of which Cindy McCain is chairwoman, is the Arizona senator’s adopted son from his first marriage.

    Andrew McCain’s position on the Silver State board and departure were first reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal online.

    Silver State Bank ran into difficulty because of a substantial amount of “poor-quality loans primarily related to real estate development” in southern Nevada and other distressed markets, FDIC spokesman David Barr said.

  6. emeraldsedai says:

    My new philosophy as of today is, “Well, just don’t look up.”

  7. monica_black says:

    The world must be ending.

    And, aren’t the fundamentals of our economy supply and demand because we live in a democracy? In that case, I think that they’re not doing well because it costs too much to buy food, so demand is down.

    I think that Fox News is even admitting that are economy is weak.

    I repeat, the world is ending.

  8. teamwak says:

    Can I ask a newbie question?

    If the Government has bailed out Merrill to the tune of $50B, and the US has a deficit on umpteen Billion, who has really bailed out Merrill? The Treasury must have had to borrow for that? Is it just robbing Peter to pay Paul, as they say?

    Or am a being a dumb little European?

    • Todd says:

      As I understand it, here’s how it works:

      The banks figure out a scheme to take everyone’s money and make themselves richer. The government helps them out by making it so that the bank and its executives never have to pay taxes.

      When it turns out this scheme cannot be sustained, the banks whine about how they’ve got big problems (ie they’ve mismanaged their businesses into disaster) and the government bails them out because the alternative (the bank going out of business) would be unthinkable.

      Where does the money for the bailout come from? Well, since Republicans won’t tax the wealthy or corporations, it comes from middle-class taxpayers, who end up getting soaked. And thus the middle class can’t pay their mortgages or their electric bills and become poor, as the wealthier become still-wealthier. Or, in the case of this administration, it comes from other nations, like China, or from nowhere, they just print up more money, increasing the national debt, increasing the budget deficit and getting out of office before they have to do anything about it.

      I’m not an economist (perhaps The Editor can help me out here) but that’s my understanding of the situation.

      • teamwak says:

        Bloody hell! Printing money? That way trouble lies!

        I always remember my history of Germany 1920’s and the Hyperinflation. Also seen in Zimbabwe at the moment. Not that Im comparing the US economy to those 2 countries, but printing money is a slippery slope.

        Its not much better here either. We had the first run on a bank in 100 years a few months ago. Its really scary times. I keep hearing references to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. A bloody great Depression came after that.

        Looks like I picked the wrong year to go self employed!!! lol. Grrr!

      • teamwak says:

        Did you see that fantastic SNL sketch from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler(sp) doing Palin and Clinton? Absolute genius! 🙂

        FEY AS PALIN: “You know, Hillary and I don’t agree on everything…”

        POEHLER AS CLINTON: (OVERLAPPING) “Anything. I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy.”

        FEY AS PALIN: “And I can see Russia from my house.”

        POEHLER AS CLINTON: “I believe global warming is caused by man.”

        FEY AS PALIN: “And I believe it’s just God hugging us closer.”

        POEHLER AS CLINTON: “I don’t agree with the Bush Doctrine.”

        FEY AS PALIN: “I don’t know what that is.”