These are troubling times for global finance. On Monday morning I awoke to Radio 4 saying that the top brass at Lehman Brothers had failed to secure the bank’s future and left the building and climbed into their limousines for the last time*.
Perhaps the US government has let the bank stand as an example to other institutions who might bee seeking taxpayer handouts. Yet it has offered more conciliatory terms to other institutions over the past few weeks. I’m no finance expert (but then evidently neither were the people running the bank), but it does seem to me that the US government is trying to actively manage soft landings for certain institutions whose demise would seriously impact the US economy (any positive impact on the global economy being a side-affect).
But that got me thinking. Certainly Freddie and Fanny are practically infrastructure for the USA. But what about Google? What if you woke up tomorrow and the unthinkable happened and Google was gone? Would the US government step in to prop up that infrastructure?
I think the US government may be inclined to let Yahoo and Live Search go the way of Lehman, but would Google get Freddy and Fanny love instead? Hmmm, I’d rather hope so.
* That is a serious disconnect from reality. If I’d presided over the demise of a venerable institution like Lehman Brothers, I’d be expecting to talk the bus home, not continue with business as usual. But alas karma never seems to catch up with these guys does it?