March 18, 2009

"We're on New Ground"

This is quite a discussion from Charlie Rose, and even people in a hurry would not want to miss anything after around 28 minutes into the program, such as Meredith Whitney for instance. I especially recommend what Hank Greenberg says towards 32 1/2 minutes onwards.

While the whole video is really worth it, here's an excerpt of Hank Greenberg at that point for those who want to see it in print (my transcript):

"I's global, it's not just here. We haven't confronted what we're living with now in our lifetime. There's nothing like this experience in our lifetime...

"People are not going to spend...the consumer is not going to spend as he did before. They're going to be far more cautious. People have been hurt dramatically, and they're going to be far more conservative in what they do going forward. So we are not going to have anything like the kind of growth that we experienced in the past. It's going to be a long time before people feel comfortable again. Their lives have changed, and it's not just here, it's worldwide.

"It's not as dramatic in other countries, because Europe has had safety nets and social programs that pick up some of the slack. We have not had that here, the same way.

"We're on new ground."

This is indeed truly new ground.

What was before is crashing like a huge freight train going off the rails. Bernanke has brought out the Big Guns today (printing money and buying securities) to try to reverse this. It will help. It won't change what Hank says.

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