A Financial Kick in the Rear

January 22, 2009 at 10:01 am (Politics) (, , )

So I was skimming a post on the Opinionator Blog (on the NYTimes Opinion page) when some things written by a Financial Times blogger caught my eye.  He was basically saying that the government in the UK needs to take over all the major banks, because to do anything less than that would be a recipe for failure (the idea being that they allowed banks to get too large to fail, but also too large to rescue – thus, the only response possible in a crisis is to nationalize them).

What compelled me to comment on this, however, was a particular term he used to describe bad assets.  We’ve all heard the term “toxic assets” – that is, after all, the source of most discussion worldwide about financial institutions.  But only a Brit would go on to talk about “dodgy assets” in an official blog.

Sometimes I really wish American English had more colorful adjectives.  It’s no wonder we borrow a lot from British English.

At any rate, I agree completely with this guy’s assessment of why nationalizing banks is really the only option left (read it here – scroll about halfway down).  And, in the US at least, we desperately need to change our status quo.  It’s really incredibly broken.  Since a huge, disastrous downward spiral is apparently not a big enough kick in the rear for the financial industry, we need a bigger one.

And, before anyone gets all worked up about my suggestion that we nationalize banks – I don’t think it should be permanent.  I’d honestly rather my government focus on other things, and I think in the long run, it would all get too bogged down.  As a long term solution, it would be much smarter to focus on keeping good regulations in place, and otherwise letting the market do its thing.  But in the short term, somebody has to overhaul the financial system, and the US government is the only entity with enough money and power to manage it.



  1. Kristan said,

    Colorful American adjectives:
    – jank
    – hammered
    – slammin’
    – bangin’
    – stank
    – skank
    – whack
    – lame
    – killer

  2. Mary said,

    Unfortunately, none of those get used in serious writing 🙂

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