(click for larger image)

This is an image comparing the 4 worst stock market crashes of the past century. I recommend a close study of this chart, black people.

My bank is Citibank. I was on a flight to DC on JetBlue when I noticed on someone else’s TV screen the words “Breaking News” and showing Citigroup logos and a local Citibank branch. Although I knew Citibank was in trouble — it’s been prominently mentioned on lists of banks at risk when you can find them — it still gave me a sinking feeling.

I kept my money there only because it was “too big to fail”. The fact that an international financial cataclysm was just narrowly averted is nothing short of stomach-churning. Am I alone here in feeling just so angry at business and political “leaders” who could wrap our national car around a tree, injure or kill a few passengers/bystanders in the process and get away scot-free, leaving the injured parties to pay for the damages? My mama wants to know where is all this money coming from — $700 bil here, $25 bil there — and at what point do we just run out of rescue money – even deep deficit spending has to have a ceiling, right? And honestly, I’m not even entirely sure what “too big to fail” means but it really doesn’t give me a lot of confidence in my bank nor did the lone & infuriating email that I received from Citibank today that said:

Good news! Citibank is participating in the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program. Through December 31, 2009, all of your non-interest and interest bearing checking deposit account balances are fully guaranteed by the FDIC for the entire amount in your account. *

And as a reminder, in October the FDIC increased the amount of insurance on eligible savings accounts — such as savings, market rate, money market accounts, club and holiday accounts, and certificates of deposits — from $100,000 to $250,000 through December 31, 2009.**

To learn more about FDIC insurance, visit the agency’s web site at www.fdic.gov or call a Citibank representative at 1-800-374-9700. You may also call the FDIC at 877-ASKFDIC (877-275-3342) or TDD 800-925-4618.

WOW – “Good news”??? Um, indirect much? So is the message: “hey you! No need for a run on the bank and you know what – you’re the winner here. Sort of.” Who are the guys running this financial institution — are they saving face or just completely incompetent? This message was so insulting to my intelligence, it almost made me want to withdraw all my money. Note to Citigroup executives: when your bank is being mentioned on tv in the same breath as words like “rescue” and “meltdown”, it’s NOT ok to send your depositors messages that start with “Good News!”

The U.S. government just forked over about the equivalent of buying Citigroup’s market cap in exchange only for something like 7% of its worth. Once again, yo, somehow the American people are getting ripped off. By the same people who ripped us off the first time. Somehow, just doesn’t seem right. Where’s the help for ordinary people struggling to hold on to their jobs and pay their mortgages? Where are the reforms of a sick financial system? Or is it just the Dutch boy sticking fingers and toes in a dyke sprouting leak after leak — is that the Bush & Paulson Plan at the heart of it?

Gonna be a rough winter, y’all.

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