I've had so many of you write me and ask me what I think of this blog post. The main claim is taken from Paul Kanjorski:
draw-down of money market accounts in the U.S., to the tune of $550
billion was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The
Treasury opened up its window to help and pumped a $105 billion in the
system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide.
We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close
the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee
of $250,000 per account so there wouldn't be further panic out there.
If they had not done that, their estimation is that by 2pm that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would have been drawn out of the money market system of the U.S.,
would have collapsed the entire economy of the U.S., and within 24
hours the world economy would have collapsed. It would have been the
end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.
The second paragraph is very much overstated (and I wonder about the exact numbers in the first paragraph). My personal guess — and guess is the right word — is that if nothing had been done on this day, a disaster would have resulted, though not on the scale postulated here. In my view there would have been an immediate bank holiday, partly improvised, plus complete insolvency for some very large financial institutions, followed by rapid nationalization. There would have been a much tougher whack to the commercial paper market than what we saw. Many businesses would have had problems meeting short-term payroll requirements. The downturn in the real sector would have been much steeper than it has been. In short, it would have been very bad but not the end of the world economy or democratic capitalism.