Now we're being scared witless because we don't know what financial institution will next be revealed as fraudulent -- such as the bunch out of Texas that earlier this week was revealed to have stolen billions from investors.
So are these the last days of Pompeii? Is America soon to simply melt down? Hell, no! What we're now witnessing is a similar meltdown to that which the nation has experienced before in its history, and from which we will recover -- and without spending reckless heaps of good money to chase the bad.
Was some stimulus needed to get things started" Arguably yes. But we didn't need an omnibus entitlement bill that skirted the legitimate appropriations process. Nor was a second round of financial bailouts required; one that even the banks themselves say they didn't need. What wasn't called for was the nationalization of the financial and manufacturing sectors of our economy.
No, these are not the last days. But they are difficult ones, and they may be prolonged rather than abbreviated by the rash manner in which Congress helped turn the crisis into a panic.
Our latest polling has been practically alone in accounting for voters who identified themselves as Democrats as recent as January, but who now have drifted back into the "independent" category. These polls show that the biggest single victim of this mass paranoia may be President Obama. Our surveys show that he has lost 15 points or more in his approval rating in a matter of a month. No mean feat.
The truth is that this whole travesty has been an illness for which the anecdote has made the patient sicker. For the most part, the illness should have been left to run its course. Now Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that economic projections look healthier further along down the road -- just as they always do following recessions, no matter how lengthy.
Keep an eye on the 2010 congressional elections. They might just signal to President Obama that paranoia, when exploited, can trigger reverse consequences from those intended.