Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What would Jesse do?

Whoo-hoo! I’m just off on this Jesse Jones project and it resonates with every story about the Troubling Recovered Assets Program. I haven’t been this obsessed since way back when Tom DeLay had a job.

I haven’t even started on the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and have already started a list of “what would Jesse do?” questions, so I’m just gonna let fly. I reserve the right to revisit some of these points later when I actually know some facts. Ms. Hoarse warned me that in some later chapter I may learn that he had three wives and kept slaves.

-Congress last year temporarily increased the limit on federally insured bank deposits up to $250,000. What would Jesse do? Easy. Jones supported William Jennings Bryan for president in 1908 because Bryan was for guaranteeing of bank deposits. The 1957 biography I’m reading has a photo of Jones with Rep .Henry Steagall, author of the 1933 banking act that established the F.D.I.C.

-Jones was a close associate of Sen. Carter Glass, who wrote the law (repealed in 1999 by Sen. Phil Gramm) that enacted a barrier between commercial and investment banks. What would Jones think of the new derivative banking products like bundled mortgages and credit default swaps made possible by this de-regulation? I take a clue from Jones’ attitude toward the oil business. Other than as a builder and landlord, Jones had minimal involvement with oil companies because he “saw ample opportunities to profit from things that were visible above the ground” and didn’t find it necessary to go drilling underground to make money.

-The Bank of America, strong enough to go bargain hunting for Countrywide and Merrill Lynch last year, is looking for more bail-out this year and will probably get it, being “too big to fail.” Is this right? Consider what Jones did when he found himself to be the owner of both The Houston Chronicle and The Houston Post. He spun off The Post to the Hobby family under easy terms “because he didn’t want Houston to look like a one-horse town.”

-That’s enough of this for today, but watch for more. Like I said, I’m obsessed.

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