The Pottersville Market Crash

We watched It’s a Wonderful Life last night and I was struck by the scene about the run on Bedford Falls bank. One of the kids asked: “Is that kind of like what happened this year?” Then George Bailey started talking.

“Randall, wait. ... I, I beg of ya not to do this thing. If Potter gets a hold of this Building and Loan, there’ll never be another decent house built in this town. He’s already got charge of the bank. He’s got the bus line. He got the department stores, and now he’s after us. Why? Well, it’s very simple. Because we’re cuttin’ in on his business, that’s why. And because he wants to keep you livin’ in his slums and paying the kind of rent he decides.”

“Joe, you had one of those Potter houses, didn’t you? Well, have you forgotten? Have you forgotten what he charged you for that broken-down shack? Here, Ed. You know, you remember last year when things weren’t going so well, and you couldn’t make your payments. Well, you didn’t lose your house, did you? You think Potter would have let you keep it?”

“Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling. Potter’s buying! And why? Because we’re panicky and he’s not. That’s why. He’s pickin’ up some bargain. Now, we can get through this thing all right. We’ve, we’ve got to stick together, though. We’ve got to have faith in each other.”

So I told my son: “Yes, it’s kind of like what happened this year. But George Bailey never showed up.” Then I added, “Maybe he was never allowed to be born. Maybe we’re in Pottersville.”

— Tom Hoopes