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Flash News From Impoverished California

The State of California, according to the Times online, is out of
cash. Plain down in the ditch. It may have to borrow $7 billion from the
U.S. government to pay its bills. Will Henry Paulson loan the terminator
the cash? I suppose he will, if the Treasury still has it to loan.

Another surprise was reported on yesterday in the Times. Nearly 1000
colleges that had $9.3 billion deposited in a short term fund of which the
trustee was Wachovia Bank. Of course, Wachovia is...well, just about
bankrupt.  Well, not quite. First, Citigroup made an offer for it. And
now Wells Fargo has outflanked Citigroup.

But back to the trusteeship of the fund from which the educational
institutions were not alone to draw. Trustees used to be chosen for their
trustworthiness. Apparently no longer. The fund was actually managed by
by a Connecticut non-profit, and apparently it was not profitable. So the
money for paying college and university salaries and constructions bills is
not there. That is usually called "not available." The fund says that 60%
of its securities come to maturity on Dec. 31. But 60% is not 100%, and
which depositor will not want out? And what happens if some of the
maturing securities default on their final payment?