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A world without
will not be a better world. I am not coming with some silver-lining nonsense. All of the other players will benefit when it happens, but that benefit can't be felt until all of the chaos is sorted through.
The idea of a "plan" for these two, so obvious after
, isn't even on the table, let alone something to execute. We know that the books of both are so meaningless -- thanks to an
that has pretty much given up its mission -- that we must experience a huge amount of pain as these two are sorted out. Then we will have to be ready for
collapse, which won't be long.
Lehman's happening a tad faster, but that's now obviously because it was a terrible underwriter in Europe.
It's pretty amazing that in the end, bad mortgages -- issuing them, packaging them and then getting stuck with any or even buying them (as I think Lehman did when Erin Callan ran the firm) -- meant the end for these firms. Mortgages.
They had such faith.
When Lehman was corralling people in the media to tell them the shorts were pushing them down, I wanted to believe them.
But this Lehman Brothers was more of a
New Century Financial
, an issuer without a deposit base, like Bear.
Washington Mutual's more outrageous. It suspended its underwriting standards to take nationwide share. It was simply out of control.
In each case, the blame goes squarely on the leaders, Jimmy Cayne, Dick Fuld and Kerry Killinger. They wrecked their firms. They disgraced themselves.
Now, because of the velocity of these collapses, we have to go down huge. We had to manage the black holes slowly to make things work.
There was no plan.
And now, all financials will have to suffer the consequences, which when coupled with the oil futures signaling no demand will mean lots more money lost before the black holes are filled.
I know all of this, in the end, will be huge for
-- that's Lehman's ultimate competitor -- and
, the big winner against Washington Mutual.
But first we have to get there.
At the time of publication, Cramer was long Goldman Sachs.
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