Ed Driscoll

Sleep Tight, America

For those insomniacs checking in with us in the wee wee hours, be warned–here’s a little something from Gateway Pundit guaranteed not to generate sweet dreams:

The financial crisis is real. Most people don’t realize it yet, but banks, investment managers and corporate treasurers around the world all know what is going on. It started with the Freddie – Fannie collapse. They wrote loans to individuals who they shouldn’t have. Government policies encouraged loans to minorities and the underwriting function of banks was no longer approving loans upon an individual’s creditworthiness but their race was now a factor in the loan decision. In 1997 President Clinton’s HUD secretary, Andrew Cuomo, claimed Fannie Mae had exhibited “racial discrimination” and proposed that 50 percent of the GSEs’ (Fannie and Freddie) loan portfolio be made up of loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers by 2001. When individuals are given loans based on race and not their ability to pay, it is inevitable that bad loans would be written and foreclosures would come. That’s what happened and in a big way.

This caused ripple effects throughout the financial services industry. Firms who consolidated loan packages or guaranteed their creditworthiness were caught in the middle. Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers and others went under. The largest insurance company in the US by some measurements was one of the casualties (AIG). With insurance companies around the globe, AIG is hoping to have some business left when all is over. The government stepped in to rescue this giant by providing capital for the firm while it liquidates portions of its business to pay off the investment derivatives which caused it trouble and then pay off the government loan. The investments became bad when the mortgages went south.

The ripple affect continues. Putnam funds, the largest money market fund in the US and rated AAA, had to close its doors since money managers began to realize that Putnam’s assets were not guaranteed by the Federal Government (unlike cash in banks and savings and loans) and began to ask for their money. Putnam had to sell securities in order to meet the demand. Although they have begun to pay their account holders, their reputation and money market accounts in general have been severely damaged.

And it only gets worse from there.