The graphic, courtesy of McClatchy Newspapers via Kvatch at Blognonymous, speaks volumes. Problem is, the guys in the suits aren't really listening even as the storm clouds in the U.S. financial markets loom larger and there is talk of bank runs (photo).
Ominously notes Lawrence Kudlow at NRO Online (written before the Fed adjusted downward the discount rate to banks on Friday):
"An extraordinary money-market development has occurred in recent days. The safest liquid credit instrument — the gilt-edged 91-day Treasury bill — has seen its yield plunge.
"Here’s the story: Last Wednesday, August 8, T-bills traded at 4.49 percent. On Monday they dropped to 4.74. On Tuesday, 4.63. And yesterday they fell to 4 percent. This morning they dropped another 50 basis points to 3.52 percent. What’s this mean? It means the entire banking system has turned completely risk averse and is fleeing into the safest haven possible.
"It is fear. It is hording cash. It is a mountainous tremor that has seized financial markets.
"In terms of funding requirements — for big mortgage banks like Countrywide, or perhaps the major money-center banks and various hedge funds — it shows financial dysfunction."
Meanwhile, Steve Benen offers this nugget regarding the president's press secretary:
"It’s worth noting, by the way, that Tony Snow feels compelled to leave his White House job, which pays hi, $168,000 with a sweet benefits package, because he’s running out of money. If a guy can’t get by on $168,000, the economy can’t be that good."