From my perspective, the financial markets are "report cards" and the business's performance is equivalent to the "student performance". In the USA education system, people have focused on the "report card" losing sight that the important thing is the child learning, not that he or she got a A,B, or C on the report card. The report card is suppose to be an indicator, an ALERT if you will to push the student harder or give kudos to a job well done. The student will be better off for the rest of his or her life from what is learned, not the grade.
The Financial Markets parallel what has happened to school focus. No longer is the question about how healthy the economy is, or if the corporations are worthy of solvency. The question is how can we fix the "report card"?
In the school analogy, you can cheat, bribe, or fraudulently alter the report card, but the underlying reality of the education the student receives will eventually be revealed.
We have now entered into the USA the surreal, complete and utter vision lost of the concept that the Financial Markets Valuation is not the root of the problem, the corporations (students) are.
In the latest changes being instituted, 250 BILLION dollars using taxpayer cash will be used to BUY preferred stock. Notice, not to buy the bad debt, or spend it to clean up the corporations. But to give a golden parachute to those who own preferred stock in banks.
What does this FIX? Does it help the "people losing their homes"? Does this action fix the TRUST in banks to lend? Ensure as ARMs are rolled over, that home owners can afford the new rate?
It FIXES one thing, the Report "card" or grade the company has by inflating the stock prices. What happens once this phase passes? We will learn of course the company (student) is still in bad shape.
Next up, the FDIC to cover 1.4 TRILLION dollars in unsecured debt. So corporations did not take proper steps to "Secure" their debt, through proper insurance or lending practices, and now the taxpayer is responsible for this debt? Why not force banks to SECURE the debt? Attention Banks! Stop attempting to do anything responsible, the governments got your back!
So what does the US deficit look for 2008? How about 455 billion dollars! And for 2009 looking like 700 Billion! Last year's debt was 176 Billion, to put into perspective.
NOTE: These numbers do NOT take into account the trillions and trillions of dollars the US is now guaranteeing! To put this in perspective in 2000 there was a budget surplus and total debt was 5.7 trillion dollars. Currently debt is at about 11 trillion, not including Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae (6 trillion guaranteed) or any other guarantee being issued.
What is the government trying to fix? A report card, until the next time the teacher re-examines the student, and they are hoping that will happen after the next elections.