It is shocking to me to see how quickly market participants have forgotten how severe the financial travail in the United States was just at the start of this decade-the failure of many thrift institutions, the near failure of several prominent commercial banks, and the restraint on many business corporations and real estate developers from overleveraging.

Internationally, we need not go back to the pervasive economic and financial dislocations and calamities that occurred when oil prices rose sharply in the 1970s. Just a few years ago financial mismanagement in Mexico brought that country to its knees.

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