Last paragraph – Bottom-line, telling it like it is:
Pyramid schemes and chain letters collapse because there is no more credit to feed them. As the system of modern day levered shadow finance slows to a crawl, or even contracts at the edges, its ability to systemically fertilize economic growth must be called into question. And as the private shadow banks of the 21st century are found wanting, so then must public finance in the form of lower interest rates and increasing fiscal deficits fill the breach. The Fed will likely reduce Fed funds to 3% by midyear 2008. Congress and the Administration should, but likely won’t, join hands in a tax relief program that benefits low income homeowners. Market based, regulation-lite American style capitalism, seemingly so ascendant after the dot.com madness nearly a decade ago, has met its match with the subprimes and the poorly structured and supervised derivative conduits of today’s markets. Financial innovation will inevitably march forward, if not in distinctly new forms, then into new asset markets and even unexplored continents. For now, however, its current surge is spent. Investment survivors will have to learn to live in a different world, filled with new risks, lower leverage, and at some point, hopefully greater rewards.