News The WaMu Meltdown
posted by September 19 at 15:48 PMon
In this week’s online edition, eight Stranger writers consider the Washington Mutual meltdown: What it means, the pro and cons of converting your cash to gold, and whether this might be a good time to panic.
Jonathan Golob on where it all went wrong:
Then the housing bubble popped and some of those “top-rated” loans were no longer getting paid. Worse, it became impossible to sort out the good top-rated debt from the bad top-rated debt, because the banks collected so little information. WaMu—like many other financial organizations that invested in these “safe” investments—can only sell these mortgage-backed investments for pennies on what it paid. Our money, to an unknown extent, is gone.
Bethany Jean Clement on leaving WaMu forever:
I began to hate you, Washington Mutual. I said that I would like to close my account and that I was pressed for time three separate times. I said that I did not want to continue this conversation. You became increasingly agitated, and you browbeat me, intimating that I did not understand financial matters and saying that I was being “rash.” I did not say, “Would you say that to a man?” But would you, Washington Mutual? You did not say it to Tim Keck, the publisher of this paper, when he closed his account the day before I did. Mr. Keck was neither rash nor emotional: He was merely a man who wanted his money.
Eli Sanders on his sentimental attachment to Washington Mutual:
I know now that this business of storing money probably shouldn’t be about mushy sentiment. But it’s hard for me not to be sentimental about Washington Mutual. The place treated me like an adult when I was a kid. It respected me—even when all I had to offer were inconsequential sums and a financial legitimacy that only existed because of my mom’s guarantee.
Plus Dominic Holden on whether credit unions are safer, Jen Graves on why there’s no reason for panic, Dan Savage on his shitty mortgage, Charles Mudede on the failure of neoliberal policy,and me on why poverty is the best defense.