I have a shiny new game to distract me, but the real reason that I haven't wanted to blog about current events is that I've been holding my breath, waiting for the bailout to finally pass. Why? Because I can't think about anything else for more than a few minutes at a time. Because I'm trying my flat level best not to panic. As in blowing a big chunk of my savings on hoarding food before the dollar becomes worthless level panic.
(Where to store a month's or a year's worth of food? Donate it to local food pantries, that's my plan. They have room to store it, I don't. Yeah, it means other people will eat the food I donate between now and when the fit totally hits the shan, but it means the food that gets donated after me will still be there when I get there. It also means that there are people who'll be in a better position to help me, down the road, because they didn't go under first. Step one: save as many people who could help you in the future as possible. Always. I'm thinking donating a couple of hundred bucks' worth of store-brand prepared, ready to eat soup. I already took care of step two: buy a pair of shoes that is solid enough that it will last you a couple of years. As one of my readers once succinctly put it, in any disaster you will not last any longer than your feet do.)
We are at most two more big-bank failures away from a collapse of the FDIC. Which means one of two things. It means persuading foreigners to lend us enough money to replace everybody in America's lost savings and checking accounts, which isn't going to happen. Or it means the US government running the printing presses to pay everybody back for the cascading bank failure with hyper-inflated funny money, assume everything goes up in price by double, triple, or even more ... and remember, we're not only not independent on energy, the US has become a net importer of food, even. Dosh distimming extremists on both the left and the right are acting as if we have the leisure, the luxury, to argue about what we should do, and we don't. A federal fund to buy up the currently unsellable "assets" of failing banks, and then make some of that money back by reselling them once we figure out which parts, if any, are actually worth anything, any fraction of what they're worth, is not "socializing the entire mortgage system" nor is it "a giant taxpayer give-away to the rich." It wasn't when the Resolution Trust Corporation did the exact same thing the last time the entire banking system got stupid, and it's not now. Yes, I'm sure that you have some argument for some theory that explains why some alternative would be better. Tough. We're not watching bank after bank fail because of a desperate urgent lack of theories. We need an agreement, and we need it now ... while there's still food on the shelves, gas in most of the gas stations, and the lights are still turned on.
Not to mention before bank customers start a general run on the banks. You know why there are cattle stampedes? Because as soon as even one cow starts running in any direction for any reason, a huge herd of cows knows that a stampede is possible ... and that only the first ones to stampede have any chance.
And I still, obviously, haven't found any way to write about this, or talk about it, that doesn't make it clear how close to panic I am.
Only indirectly related: I've spent the last year, off and on, running Internet searches, reading professional review sources, and asking historians I know about what is the current best book available on the Weimar Republic, specifically, on what life was really like then. It has gradually dawned on me, as I've read more and more history, just how politicized and flat-out untrue the two main narratives I was taught were, but I can't find any generally accessible work by a professional historian to replace them. If I want a good general read on what life was like during the Weimar period in Germany, year by year, and not just for the intelligentsia and literati in Berlin, what book should I be reading?