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Back To The Future

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

Back in the day, when I was a young correspondent for CBS News, covering the Southwestern part of the United States, the biggest story was the economy.

The price of oil had collapsed, leaving folks from Houston to Tulsa looking like they'd been hit with a shovel.

Then there was the S&L crisis. The laws were pretty loose, which made it possible for just about anybody with a storefront in a strip mall to open their own thrift.

Entire developments sat vacant. Gleaming new office towers in downtown Dallas were empty. Jobs dried up. People who'd moved south from the rustbelt were heading back north again.

To the rescue came the federal government in the form of the resolution trust.

Which basically scooped up all those failed properties, funded by those phony S&L's, and sold them off, sometimes for pennies on the dollar.

The government came to the rescue, when all seemed lost, and now it's happening all over again.

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