Citiqroup bought Wachovia today for $1 a share. Cot durn... and that bailout's sposed to make a difference? Guess we'll see. Kinda funny though, considering that the School District of Philadelphia banks with Wachovia, and I opened up an account when I moved out here. Good thing I still got that trusty BofA account from my Wash U days. Looks like they were the only national bank with some sense during the decade-long mortgage madness.
As the "crisis" deepens and more of the weak banks die off or get swallowed into these new mega-banks, it makes me wonder about the future. Yeah, we're staving off a huge recession, or so they say, but consolidating the nation's capital within a small number of financial institutions is kinda scary to me. It could amount to corporate socialism, or, perhaps more appropriately, a fiduciary oligarchy (yeah, somebody knows big words, and I didn't even steal that phrase off the internet).
Money itself is already heavily consolidated within the hands of a small percentage of the population. Still, we could say that the rest of us pretty much spread our money out among different banks. Now, there are only a few financial institutions left standing and after they write off all the debt incurred under the crazy mortgage, they will hold a ginormous sum of the nation's capital, and that sounds a little more like the Book of Revelation than I feel comfortable admitting.
The Wachovia situation doesn't make me worry about my money, mainly cuz I don't have much and what I do have is well below the FDIC insurance level of $100,000. My dough is safe. It does make me worry about cities like Charlotte, North Carolina, which owes its skyline (and the majority of its infrastructure) to the Wachovia Building and the Bank of America Building. That's when things get bad.
I went to Charlotte to see my sister graduate from college last May. I was shocked by how new and how clean everything was. The financial industry helped reshape a sleepy southern town and is a big reason why so many people who go to school down there, stay down there. What happens now?