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"At That Moment, Operation Happy Looked Pretty Grim"

At the end of their latest radio piece on the financial crisis, Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson make a great point about uncertainty in the nationalization debate:

Of course, if [Tim Geithner and the Obama administration] were planning to take over the banking system, they wouldn’t announce it beforehand. They’d probably say exactly what they’re saying right now, wait ’til everything’s set up, ’til they hired enough people and got all their plans in order … and then one Friday evening, they’d make an announcement, and nationalize the banks over the weekend.

It’s a good point because that’s what already happens, every Friday night, when the F.D.I.C. seizes a small bank — by surprise — somewhere in America, cleans it up, and sells it back to a private owner.
60 Minutes reporter Scott Pelley recently rode shotgun with a band of F.D.I.C. agents as they snuck into town under assumed names and then, after business ended for the week, simultaneously seized all five branches of Chicago’s Heritage Community Bank.
The F.D.I.C. takes pains to keep its takeovers secret until the last minute. In this case, they gave the Heritage takeover a code name: Operation Happy.
You can watch the report below. It’s fascinating viewing, and should make you feel better about the safety of your bank deposits.

(HT: Ben Chandler)