Take this line from the Reuters story about the financial bailout summit held this weekend:
"The weekend produced the hoped-for result, a broad assault on the main problem, undercapitalized banks," said ING Bank economist Tim Condon.
See, I think the main problem is something different, not related to banks.
When John McCain was caught saying he thought the "fundamentals" of our economy are strong, and then later saying the economy was at risk, he had the story partly right, but as usual, didn't tell the truth about it. Mere hours after he said the economy was sound, the finance and credit universe was sucked into a black hole, and so McCain looked foolish. To cover up, his campaign started to back-pedal and say he meant that the basis of economic growth - labor, ingenuity, commitment, etc. - was sound. Obviously, that wasn't sincere. But more to the point, it was also false.
The economy is not what the Dow Industrials or the S&P 500 measure. They measure a large-scale high-stakes poker game that the vast majority of us will never, ever win.
The people with a stake in the poker game are trying to make large sums of money by tricking the system (that's what poker's all about), so they do things like buy companies, sell their assets, and hope to come out with a profit. They don't care about productivity or people eating. They sell loans to people in order to make money off of those people's productive labor. They don't care whether that labor really produces anything; they just want the profit from it. They're not responsible.
So, here in the US, this game has resulted in the systematic de-skilling of millions of people, the outsourcing of millions of jobs. Now that selling stuff to one another on credit is becoming a less sustainable form of employment, we all may have to start actually doing things, making things, growing things, and so forth. And we don't know how.
If, as no more socialist a thinker as Adam Smith theorized, human labor is the source of economic wealth, a workforce that has un-learned how to produce anything actually consumable simply can't create any wealth. If that's the "fundamentals" of an economy, then all the cash anybody wants to give to banks in the 1st world won't make any difference, because we can't make anything.