International,  Stateside

Mixed message?

The latest news to rock Wall Street and other world financial markets:

Lehman Brothers investment bank said early Monday that it will file for bankruptcy, while Bank of America unveiled plans to buy Merrill Lynch — two pieces of news that profoundly alter the American financial landscape.

The fast-paced changes capped a roller-coaster Wall Street weekend and threatened to stir up U.S. financial markets already reeling from woes at other major financial firms and mortgage financing titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“This crisis is clearly deeper than anybody had imagined only a short time ago,” Peter Stein, an associate editor at The Wall Street Journal in Asia, told CNN.

While a new McCain-Palin ad proclaims that “our economy is in crisis,” John McCain himself insisted again this morning that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

Are they? And what say our pro-“free market” readers about the Bush administration’s unwillingness to let that market work its magic in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?