Four weeks ago yesterday marked the turning point in the Great Run of '08: after the Lehman disaster the White House and Congress vowed to intervene as necessary. Last Monday afternoon marked the fact of effective intervention, with authorities for the first time moving ahead of the crisis. The Treasury summoned the CEOs of the nine largest bank-survivors and broke the capital shortage by involuntary injection -- an event and scene without American precedent. During these four wasted weeks, frozen credit markets did serious harm to an already recessionary economy. September industrial production collapsed by 2.8 percent, the largest decline since 1974; and retail sales slid 1.2 percent, double the forecast. However, a weak labor market has resisted free-fall: last week 16,000 fewer people filed new claims for unemployment insurance. Foreign economies are sinking faster than ours, reinforcing global-price decline: September CPI was unchanged and will soon go negative. The co...
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