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What Banks Want


Paulson convenes brain trust on day of major market rally.


The world took a break from the Blame Game to break the banks, and the market cheered. As it turns out, action -- even action that could prove disastrous -- is better than blaming the impetuous man-child (America).

I really had no idea how vulnerable the rest of the world was until recently, with Iceland's bankruptcy and the avalanche of bailout packages across Europe. Then there's news that Dubai may have to bum a loan from Abu Dhabi. Say it ain't so… Say Dubai isn't some kind of smoke-and-mirrors city-state that just represents a different kind of bubble. The place is amazing - but maybe someone did the math and realized its going to be hard populating a Manhattan-size metropolis from scratch. Still, this reminds me of Mike Tyson losing his first fight.

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So the blame game takes a day off, and the stock market soars. Each country looks to save its own skin and, in the throes of desperation, it's easy to forget who to blame. Of course, the shift is occurring here at home, too - but from blame to greed. For all the negative commentary on Wall Street and the snakes who would even consider working there, the focus -- ever since the rescue plan was first mentioned -- has really been on who gets the spoils.

It's understandable that taxpayers should want to get something in return for the incredible risk they're taking on. They should expect more than to simply break even, too. That being said, investing has taken it on the chin - and I hope it doesn't take 5 years and sizable returns from the government's TARP program to get Main Street to realize that.

Then again, a few more sessions like yesterday's would go a long way toward rekindling positive feelings about being an investor.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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