Merrill Lynch is at it Again
Most Americans probably know how the once-mighty Merrill Lynch brokerage house failed spectacularly, one of the greediest and stupidest hogs scarfing at the subprime mortgage trough, and had to be sold (virtually at govermental gunpoint) to Bank of America in order to stave off a national financial disaster.
One might think, after something like that happening, that the idiots at Merrill would want to keep their heads down for a while, that at least they’d think twice before doing anything so harmful to the nation and its values.
No such luck.
Paul Goble reports that some feral lunatic over at Merrill has supported the idea of Russia concealing unemployment data on a monthly basis and releasing it only quarterly. Merrill apparently has significant money tied up in Russia (surprise, surprise!) and is afraid of losing it all in a massive explosion of popular unrest brought on by panic over the unemployment numbers. Needless to say, the geniuses at Merrill didn’t see the 70% drop in the Russian stock market or the 50% drop in reserves or the 30% drop in currency value coming. Now they’re up a creek without a paddleski, and if they can wiggle out of it by helping Russia to crack down even further on civil society, so be it.
Goble reports that the Kremlin-controlled Russian press has seized upon the statement in order to justify implementing the policy free of Western criticsm. Goble states:
Russian media and Russian officials pay close attention to what Americans, official and otherwise, say about their country, far more than the reverse, and they often invoke such statements to press their own agendas or at least to legitimize them, again in ways very different from the way in which American outlets treat suggestions coming from Russia. Indeed, Russian outlets have also played up the conclusions of the US-based Eurasia Group on “Risks in an Unstable World” which suggested that growing unemployment and inflation in Russia could lead to a crisis in which Vladimir Putin might soon replace Dmitry Medvedev as president by offering himself as “the savior of the fatherland.” That makes any American suggestion, especially one for the Russian government to reduce the amount of information available to the Russian people, far more important than it might otherwise be, a reminder if one still is needed for those in the US writing about developments in that country to exercise extreme caution.
How lovely. In essence, the Kremlin can now claim that Americans want Putin to become a second Stalin, that they believe it’s the only way to keep the nation from collapsing. We have met the enemy, and he is us.
Needless to say, when we need investment services in the future, we won’t be looking to Merrill to provide them. We don’t think you should, either.