Monday, September 22, 2008

Fool me twice... uh... won't be fooled again

[Well... I wrote this last night, but neglected to post it. Now people all over are asking the same questions. Here's Yglesias, and here's a guy that won a Pulitzer Prize writing about economic issues. Not that it's exactly an original thought; Atrios has been bashing it from Day 1.]

The more I think about it, the more I don't get where this "consensus" is coming from about how something must be done, NOW to save these Wall Street assholes from the consequences of their own idiotic pyramid schemes investment vehicles.

I've seen this all over the place. Even hardcore anti-Bush, anti-business bloggers are buying into this, saying things like "there's a real crisis here, that requires real governmental intervention", while railing against the current "plan" (which, as the scare quotes indicate, is not actually a plan, but rather a dollar figure signifying the amount of money we will be handing over).

But how do we know there's a "crisis" which "requires" government to "intervene"? The only thing that's come to light so far is a scary and disturbing conversation that Paulson had with lawmakers on Thursday night. Prior to that, no one was talking about a huge bailout of the entire industry.

So, where is the evidence? Are we going on Paulson's word alone? And what led him to form his conclusions? There is very little information on this. I presume Paulson talked to some investment bankers, who presumably told him "Boy, things are bad. Like, really really bad. But not just for us. We're about to go down, and if we go down, then everything goes down. And the only way to solve this is to transfer huge sums of money to us."

Not exactly surprising that they would say something like this. I don't doubt that they are in quite a bit of trouble. And when people are in trouble, they will say a great many things to get out of it.

And it's not exactly surprising that Paulson believed them. They are his friends and colleagues. And, let's not forget: these people are -- truly -- the world's best salesmen. They get paid tens of millions of dollars a year to sell shit to people. Like, for example, huge packages of debt that will never be paid back.

1 comment:

Mr. Gleemonex said...

Nice article about explaining the perils of the CDS, how they contributed to this mess, and the scary future implications due to zero regulation of this market.

http://www.thebigmoney.com/articles/explainer/2008/09/18/how-aig-fell-apart