Good news for the surprisingly not very stressed

May 8, 2009, 12:44 PM UTC

bluebirdThe sky is blue. The trees are green. The birdies is on the wing. And the majority of our banks have flunked their stress tests. Does that make them sad? Nope. Are we worried? Not at all. Because while they are stressed, they are not stressed as badly as we might have feared. Two facts leap out. First, while 10 of 19 of our fiduciary institutions require some form of additional cash to keep from fainting, all they need, in aggregate, is a measly $75 billion.

Compared to the numbers we’ve been seeing lately in bailouts and fearful predictionary bloviage, why, that’s a mere bag of shells! And it turns out they don’t even want the money! “No thank you, Uncle Tim,” they are saying. “We’re gonna be okay after all.” Can you imagine?  

Best of all, it turns out that even if you take the very worst-case scenario, potential losses in this formerly fetid corner of our financial sector would reach only $599 billion. Not a T? Only a B? Ha! We sneeze at such numbers. 

Speaking of sneezing, it also turns out that we’re all probably not going to die of swine flu, at least this week. 

The fact is, there’s just so much darned good news around that I think we should all open our hermetically sealed windows right now, lean out over whatever avenue we work on, and no, not jump, just breathe in that nice spring air, which appears to be not quite as badly loaded with toxic hydrocarbons as we had feared. 

Who knows? We may have a panic gap here all of a sudden. What should we freak out about next, do you think? Should we look back once again to ascertain which was the worst in our lifetime, so that we can use that knowledge of the past, as economists do, to prognosticate the future? 

To examine this issue scientifically, I visited a cool new website that helps those trying to determine hierarchies of just about anything, scientifically, you know. My assessment of the worst panic of our collective time can be found here.  See if you agree.