Friday, November 21, 2008

What Someone Said About Something Else

Yet another gem from the BloggingStocks world - headline: "Banking Industry may lose 350,000 jobs". At first, I thought I read "Baking Industry" and thought to myself that I had no idea that so many bakers were at risk in this day and age. Can you image how devastating a complete and utter shortage of baked goods would be? Now for a longer quote from this article:

That level of unemployment represents an almost unimaginable human tragedy and one that might have been avoided in part if management at large financial house had not bet the bank on mortgage derivatives. But, that is water under the bridge.

The question which gets begged is where all of those people will go. Many bankers are not qualified for other high-paying jobs, which means they will stay unemployed for long periods or will face having to take significant cuts in their incomes. Either way, the shift will take a large toll on government services such as unemployment benefits. Let's not forget the lost taxes.

That all sounds familiar, doesn't it? Using phrases like "unimaginable human tragedy" is pretty quaint, because pretty much everyone in Michigan is doing a pretty good job of imagining the human tragedy every second of every day, and according to most estimates, our developing tragedy would far outweigh this one. We're the best at something! On top of this, I am personally insulted that from some commentators, banking gets the "it's water under the bridge" comment, whereas Detroit's flawed past is a primary rallying cry against us.

The loss of a job is devastating for any individual and the loss of an industry is devastating for a large community of individuals. It is hard to feel as bad as I would like to for the banking industry right now. I don't think it is false to say that a big component of the current set of economic issues is because the banking industry identified ways to (un)successfully invent money. I readily acknowledge that we all have our own share of the blame to pass around as we allowed this wealth-related enthusiasm to increase our collective standard of living to an unsustainable level, but I rarely hear those within the financial world discussing the "unimaginable human tragedy" that is continuining to crest right now within Michigan. Is it because the average auto worker's salary is lower than a banker's, and therefore, a less important human tragedy?

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