By Meredith Bryan
On the evening of Sept. 16, Brian Williams was jetting out of the CNBC studios in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., when he stopped to talk to a reporter about his extraordinary day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average had plummeted 504.48 points in the most precipitous loss since September of 2001, dogged by news of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch’s hasty weekend sale to Bank of America, and A.I.G.’s still-uncertain future.
And Mr. Williams had broadcast his Nightly News program from a studio at NBC’s 24-hour cable business news channel.
By Tom Acitelli
Kevin Phillips was a top aide to Richard Nixon 40 years ago (he coined the term “Sun Belt”). Since then, he’s turned into a professional scold, warning particularly about the nation’s dependency on the financial services industry.
Mr. Phillips, author of Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, fortuitously published earlier this year, e-mailed on Monday evening his thoughts about the unfolding fiscal crisis: “There’s very little excuse for Wall Street’s sad but pervasive mixture of myopia and incompetence. Clues to the excesses were everywhere.”
It’s O.K., in other words, not to feel too badly about what went down with Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, et al. It may, in fact, be ripe time for a sort of economic schadenfreude.