It is a long way back from here

We are where we are. There is no turning back and our government is fighting tooth and nail to return us from the brink, yet ironically they were the cheerleaders in bringing us to this point. The main problem in the economy is a lack of credit in the system and now our credit insurers are developing cold feet.

That given, many brokers have benefited from the boom times, selling out as earnings multiples skyrocketed in the battle of the consolidators. However, the broking sector shoulders little blame in this mess. It is not that risky a business, even if you have a pile of debt, and confidence is still high - note Giles' recent acquisitions and Peter Cullum's assertion that CCV has a "number of significant deals undergoing due diligence".

At the heart of the financial crisis has been the rise of debt securitisation and the ability for banks to pass on their risks to the next institution, hence our mortgage market has boomed, private equity has tapped seemingly limitless funds and our banks have lent recklessly without worrying about tomorrow.

Today, we are in unprecedented times. In 2000, the US national debt clock was turned off after Bill Clinton balanced the budget and it started to reverse from the $5tn it had already clocked up. Now, the US is borrowing at least $400bn a year and has surpassed $10tn in debt without accounting for medicare costs. The US will have to hope that China keeps buying US treasury bonds - something that they will probably have to do - to avoid a weakening in the value of the dollar.

There appears to be only one consensus from our governments to fight the crisis: lower taxes and spend more. However, we cannot spend without credit and our banks now have to ensure that the supply returns to 'normal' levels as soon as possible. Value-added tax reductions are one tonic but credit is king and our credit insurers are now principal players in this financial drama.

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