All the talk these days is about how America is going to go down the tubes, over the cliff or up against the wall because just spending and spending and spending without having enough money to pay for it is unsustainable. On the other hand, cutting back on programs will make our economy worse. And raising taxes also will make it worse. The answer seems to be, according to the current thinking, that what we will ultimately have to do is bite the bullet, go before the firing squad or suck it up like, for example, Greece is sucking it up. Greece, I heard today, is encouraging everybody to go out into the fields and grow vegetables.
What you don’t hear these days is a phrase we’ve used to describe other monster financial institutions, and that is “Too Big to Fail.”
Are we nuts? All these other entities, dwarfed in comparison in size to America, were too big to fail. Wasn’t, when it came down to it, when the chips were down, General Motors too big to fail? Wasn’t the Bank of America too big to fail? Wasn’t Chrysler too big to fail? Wasn’t Morgan Stanley big to fail? Wasn’t even Greece too big to fail?
That’s all well and good, you might say, but wasn’t it the United States of America that deemed all these entities too big to fail and so bailed all these entities out? Well, I suppose we didn’t bail out Greece—that was not our department. Greece got bailed out by the European Union.
So, am I suggesting that the European Union come along and bail out the United States of America? Of course not.
But what I am saying is this—if sometime in the future the European Union needed to be bailed out and at that time Greece, God forgive me, were big enough to bail out the European Union, then surely, because of tit for tat, Greece would come along and rescue the European Union because it was too big to fail.
By the same token, if we keep going the way we are heading down the road and we just get deeper and deeper in debt, in the end we should look to General Motors and JP Morgan Chase or that big monster insurance company that insured everybody and never believed they could all fail, what was its name, that we lent the $300 billion to….We turn to those groups and they bail us out.
They owe us. Big time. And surely it’s the least they could do.
The point is, and I don’t understand why nobody really notices this, the biggest entity in the entire world and universe that is too big to fail is the United States of America. Nothing else even comes close.
And so, if, for example, because they don’t have a heart, or because they are too greedy and have too short of a memory, all these businesses and banks turn their backs on us now and say, sorry, no thanks, that was then and this is now, we can still stand there, shivering from the cold, and we will still be the very biggest thing on this planet and surely by far and away without a doubt, certainly the most surely too big to fail entity on the face of the earth. So we just stand there. And they have to look at us. The gorilla in the room. We Can’t FAIL!
And I can tell you, when push came to shove, when Argentina got on the brink, when Brazil couldn’t pay their loans, when Greece got to the brink, when East Germany got to the very brink, in all of history even when Germany couldn’t pay its debts from the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, there was always some entity—today this entity I haven’t even mentioned yet but intend to shortly—who will sit them down and forgive all the loans and tell them to stop crying and dry your eyes we are starting over.
I am talking about the World Bank. Do you remember about 15 years ago, there was this very strange riot in Seattle when they held the annual meeting of the World Bank there? It was such a surprise. It was just a meeting in a building. Yet people raged in the streets. Cars were turned over. Show windows broken. Stores looted. I remember at the time thinking—what are these people doing this for? What is their problem?
It was never clear to me, and it was never clear to anybody else at the time, I think, but now that I think about it, it was about the World Bank looking at some small, impoverished countries and just saying “you are not too big to fail. You are small potatoes. You fail.” And as I think happened, at that riot and other riots to follow, after that the World Bank began to become very much more an open-handed organization when it came to, for example, Uzbekistan, or Congo or some of those other tiny countries.
It’s the World Bank, which, in a pinch, is going to bail out the United States if these ungrateful wretches in the homeland don’t. They will say, gee whiz, you are in so deep, we can hardly even see you and your shovel way down in that hole anymore. We can’t have this. Here. Take my hand. We’ll lend you the money. Other money you borrowed? Forget it. Let’s just call it even. Start over. We know you can do it.
It’s just money, anyway. We’ll just print some more.
Get up, dust yourself off, pack up your troubles, come out into the sunshine and let’s get it on.
Buck up, America. You’re too big to fail!!