Tuesday, September 30, 2008

So just how bad is the financial crisis?

If the bailout isn't approved soon -- very soon -- look out for a deep economic depression that could last maybe a decade. That's the assessment of the Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein this morning. From left to right on the opinion spectrum, there's the same dire assessment. But is it really that bad?

David Cay Johnston, a former New York Times reporter, says no. Johnston is not just a journalist sounding off. He's an expert on tax and economic policy and a Pulitzer prize-winning investigative reporter with 40 years' experience.

In the linked interview, Johnston says journalists should dig to the core of the financial crisis:

"No one I've seen has asked the Treasury, did you ask every bank to submit to you data on how many illiquid assets you have, what you bought them at and what you value them at now? That might identify the problem is concentrated in a handful of banks."

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