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The day Americans went broke

As it happened 75 years ago


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The Bank Holiday of 1933


Over 9,000 banks failed in the US during the 1930s.

By 1933, over $140 billion in depositors' money went up in smoke. This was in an era when you could buy a luxury car for less than $1,000 and a mansion for $20,000.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) first took office in 1993, his first act as President was to declare a "Bank Holiday," the closing of all banks throughout the nation.

Three interesting things about this talk:

1. It's coherent and detailed.

2. The government at the time seemed to have the capacity to rapidly evaluate the soundness of banks throughout the nation

3. The currency sent to replenish bank supply was, according to FDR, backed by sound assets.

Folks, by this this standard, we're in worse shape than in the 1930s.

Today we have idiots in the White House who can't string two sentences together that make sense; the government not only can't seem to examine banks, it doesn't seem to feel a responsibility to; and in today's case - Version 2008 - we're creating new money based on assets we already know are garbage.

Other than that, everything is just fine and dandy.

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