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Once I built a railroad, I made it run
Made it race against time
Once I built a railroad, now it’s done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime
Once I built a tower, now it’s done
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Written by E. Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney during the height of 1930s, the song became America’s grim national anthem during The Great Depression.

As we watch the instability of our banking system unfold, those 90 year old lyrics may be more relevant than we wish to acknowledge.


Part of today’s banking crisis was instigated by the Federal Reserve whose micro-management of interest rates created a balance sheet gap for some regional banks, institutions that have played a crucial role in powering our economy by working with small and middle-size businesses.

Another lit fuse in this crisis is a White House that has allowed crypto currency to be considered a genuine part of our economy. It is not. It is little more than a digital set of zeroes and ones with illusionary value, dictated hourly by an online marketplace. Then there is Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellin, who is currently engaging in a national theatrical performance seeking to convince Americans the banking system is secure. Her performance on and off stage leaves much to be desired.

There will now be calls for additional regulations and oversight of the banks as if that will change the outcome. The fact is Signature Bank’s issues were already well known to regulators, but it was New York Governor Kathy Hochul who decided it would be best for her PR if she moved to close the bank.

Say what you will about former President Bill Clinton, he never lost sight of the fact that “it’s the economy stupid…” Far more important than a political strategy, history reminds us it is the economy upon which great nations rise or fall. It is a lesson that is either unknown or unheeded by the current occupant of the Oval Office. One wonders if he can carry the tune to “Brother can you spare a dime?”

{Reposted from Gatestone Institute}


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Lawrence Kadish, a Long Island real estate investor, is a trustee of the Gatestone Institute.