Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Shorters, Part 2

let's get this done with, it's too nice a day for me to be sitting here. Prospect Park sounds perfect right about now.

How close was the financial system to melting down?:

... was?

Living on borrowed prosperity:

is the title of Megan's upcoming autobiography.
Just because this outcome has been obvious for decades doesn't mean the folk who said so were right. It's like when I was wrong about Iraq; it's more important I learn something than people continue to live or have housing and savings.

Why we need a bailout, even if not this bailout:

Here we see Megan doing her John McCain impression. We have to save the market now now now now now now, and sure this is a shitty plan that's more another Bush giveaway of public funds than actual solution, but WE'VE GOTTA CLOSE THE BEACHES!
Actually, let's pause and look at this post a little closer.

Every crisis gets compared to the Great Depression. This very nearly was.
There are strains on the left and the right that are kind of okay with this idea.
The right wing version says "Let them fail! Fractional reserve banking is inherently unstable, and we've been living on borrowed money. We need to cut back to our natural, credit-free level of output and consumption."
The left wing version says "Let them fail! Capitalism is inherently unstable; greed is no way to run an economy. We need to force banks to stop doing all of these dangerous things and regulate them so heavily they can't make a mistake. Also, as a general rule, rich people should suffer for their mistakes, and ordinary people shouldn't. This is a great opportunity to repeat FDR's awesome victories!"
These are two ways of being dangerously silly. Whatever your ideal looks like, there are two rules of financial system change:
1) Very rapid change is very bad
2) See above.
Actually, let's not.

Even the easy answers aren't easy:
I am in favor of some form of government bailout, and I am also in favor of some major changes in the way that we regulate the banks. But even simple, seemingly obvious changes are trickier than they look.
If we don't give folk a chance to figure out how to game the new system before it's installed there's a non-zero chance it might work properly for a moment or two. Can the poor, humble folk of the financial markets survive on only 80% of a huge shitpile of ill gotten gains until they learn how to manipulate the new regulations, too?

Act now before supplies run out!:
Some of my hawkier [sic] commenters, as well as other people on the web, express the belief that we need to let things come crashing down now without intervention, because if we go on, it will be even worse.
You meant "more hawkish", Megan. If you had ever been instructed in written English you'd know that, or, if you had an editor, they'd know it for you. An editor would also ask for an example of your claim. There are now video game review websites with far more exacting standards for what they put up than The Atlantic.
There's more, but I'm not going to bother with her fumbling excuse for supporting a buyout designed to keep the ultra rich ultra rich.

Why Washington (especially the media) hates Wall Street. A friend writes to ask if I've "gone native". Exquisitely attuned as I am to the effect that severe recessions have on advertising revenue, and the balance sheets of people who fund money-losing magazines--well, no, I certainly haven't. I'd rather let Wall Street off scott free than sacrifice my job to "teach them a lesson".
Excuse me while I fall over laughing.

Ok then.

To restate, Megan realizes David Bradley has a personal stake in the form the bailout takes, so she's going to say what she thinks he wants to hear for the sake of her job, which is a net loss for him to begin with.
And yet, she's devoted to the free market.

If I knew any heroin dealers, I imagine they'd make the same argument. Sure, it'd be great if the problem went away and their customers stopped eventually dying, but they'd rather it continue as it has than lose their jobs.
Slave traders, too.

At least she was honest, for once in her miserable life.
And at least we're done, for now.


freq flag said...

Megan has a friend?
Who can write?

Yeesh. Who knew?

Anonymous said...

"I'd rather let Wall Street off scott free than sacrifice my job to "teach them a lesson"."

This is probably the only correct thing she's ever written. Although I do love the idea that she seems to think Washington hates Wall Street.