Saturday, July 26, 2008

In the News This Weekend

Three news items worth noting:

  • The FDIC closed two smallish banks, again on a Friday evening. Both banks were owned by the same holding company, so you could think of it as one bank. I think they’re calling it two to help get us used to the idea of bank failures. We may see a parade of small-to-medium-sized banks shut down over the next few months. If the feds have to shut down 4 of the 5 largest banks next year, hopefully by then we won’t be too shocked to see it happen.
  • Chrysler has decided to stop leasing its cars. They figured out that in the process of screwing their customers with auto leases, they were also screwing themselves, having to take back near-worthless pickup trucks and SUVs when the leases expire, and sometimes sooner. That’s the way the free market system works sometimes. Other auto makers say leasing remains an essential part of their business plans.
  • California is banning trans fat ingredients from restaurant food, joining the trend that started in cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. We’re still a long way from the idea of holding food makers responsible for the safety of their products, but the trans fat ban helps to establish the idea that items sold as food can’t just be dressed-up poison.