... and, Where to chain up to have lunch? (this large granite boulder, shown with bike trunks for scale, came with a delightful ocean view and a fingerbowl garnished with dulse and sea lettuce). There were some fiber adventures, too (pix in next post). Ahhhh!
Back in the world of quotidian cares, Hurricane Hanna rained on New Jersey and Hurricane Ike devastated Cuba and the U.S. Gulf Coast, the twin credit and liquidity crises broke like the mother of all storms over Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve, "the banker of last resort," made the most radical market intervention in its history. Why? According to the Fed, to avert worse. However one may feel about high finance and moral hazard, when Wall Street sneezes, the world catches a cold – and this sneeze is potentially a Cat 4, maybe more, with global consequences across all pay grades.
Not least among the consequences, the stakes in the November elections and the contrast between candidates have increased as well. Now the questions on my mind are the ones so elegantly posed by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr.:
All of a sudden, the culture war seems entirely beside the point, an unaffordable luxury in a time of economic turmoil. What politicians actually believe about the economy, what fixes they propose, whether they side with the wealthy few or the hurting many – these become the stuff of elections, the reasons behind people's votes.
... Even cultural conservatives will start to notice that McCain's tax policies are geared toward the wealthy investing class and Obama's toward the paycheck crowd. Even the most ardent friends of business have begun to argue that a re-engagement with sensible regulation is essential to restoring capitalism's health. [Read more.]
(NB. The first presidential debate will be held Friday, September 26 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS at 9 p.m. EDT. The topic will be domestic policy and the moderator will be Jim Lehrer.)
Here's another consequence, even closer to home: now there are questions about the risk of money market funds versus bank savings accounts, for only the second time ever. Mine are insured against bank failure, but (of course) not against securities default. I'm keeping an eye on 'em – and I'm voting my pocketbook come November 4. Howabout you?
Update: 9/17 NY Times article and links to statements of MM mutual fund managers.