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‘Mortgage Fairy’ can’t save us

Commentary: Financial emergency may prompt pre-Obama action

In one of the few benefits of increasing age: The older you get, the more times you've blown off your eyebrows in the lab and the less shocked you are when things that "can't happen" ... happen. The markets today, a bunch of kids under 50, are jaw-dropped -- so whacked upside the head they can't even find the big river in Egypt. They've spent their whole working lives back-testing risk models back to the Civil War (between Athens and Sparta), absolutely certain of what can and cannot happen, leveraged to the eyeballs based on those boundaries. Addled, lifelong conceptual frameworks shattered, these kids are frozen, and with them the supply of credit of all kinds. Right beside are commentators, academics and policymakers clutching familiar pillows, eyes squeezed shut. Harvard's miracle investment returns on its endowment ... they've lost 22 percent in 90 days, much of what's left too illiquid to sell. Couldn't happen -- not to smart guys. And for the rest of us ... ...

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