Friday, September 26, 2008

Where have you gone, George Bailey?

So Washington Mutual failed because there was a run on the bank. Too many customers tried to pull their money out of the bank in the past 10 days. Haven't those people seen "It's a Wonderful Life?"

Well, no. Not like they used to, anyway. This leads me to identify a new culprit to share in the blame for our current economic mess: NBC!

Hear me out. Once upon a time, in my childhood, "It's a Wonderful Life" was ubiquitous during the Christmas season. You couldn't channel surf without finding that movie on at least one channel, and often it was on more like two or three channels at once. Channels like WGN and TBS played it almost daily, I swear.

But then NBC procured the exclusive rights to the movie and now it's only on once a year. I bet a lot of people don't even see it each year anymore. Maybe there are even kids and young adults who (gasp!) haven't ever seen it.

It's too bad because George Bailey has a valuable lesson for us all about what to do when financial panic sets in. We can't close our accounts and withdraw all our money. That's bad. George's Savings and Loan would have failed if he hadn't been able to convince so many of his loyal customers (friends and neighbors, really) to leave most of their money in their accounts. Because, of course, he didn't actually have all that money. It was invested in all the houses he'd helped his customers build. So for the communal good, he asked each customer to withdraw only as much cash as they absolutely needed to get them through the week. Fortunately, George and his winning personality kept the S&L afloat until the end of the day! Then he and Mary and the others merrily danced around the lobby before putting their single, solitary bill in the vault.

I think we've forgotten that lesson now that we don't get to see that movie 20 zillion times each year anymore.

So, NBC, I beg of you, save our economy! Free George Bailey so he can remind us of this valuable lesson (and so many others) by letting us watch that movie 17 times a day in December. I really think that oughta fix the problem.

1 comment:

Stacy said...


I like it.

It's true though. My friends have a checking account with WaMu that's FDIC insured and all, but they were looking in to moving their money. I don't blame them ... but it is what it is.

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