Mortgage Meltdown and Raging California Fires Take Their Toll

MSN says that Merrill Lynch wrote down the value of its mortgage holdings by nearly $8 billion just in the past quarter, producing a quarterly loss billions more than it expected just a few weeks ago. It also says that the California fires that have devastated 584 square miles and displaced hundreds of thousands of people could cost up to $42 billion — not million, billion — in property damage.

We earlier explained how lawsuits and red tape contributed to the devastating California fires, and how government meddling contributed to the mortgage meltdown (see here and here), and promises to make the situation even worse (see here and here).