Sunday, March 22, 2009

Annals Of "You Know"

For this, a trip to NYC. Carbon footprint, anyone?

ZAKARIA: So, the populist rage against these million-dollar bonuses and the companies that give them -- has it all gone too far?

I brought together three sharp thinkers, all of whom once worked on Wall Street, to talk about this.

Megan McArdle writes an economics blog for the "Atlantic Monthly," and she has worked in technology, consulting and finance.

[...]

ZAKARIA: Megan, I think of you as a libertarian from your blog. Should the government be deciding what bonuses people are getting?

MEGAN MCARDLE, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND ECONOMICS BLOGGER, ATLANTIC MONTHLY: The outrage may be completely counterproductive. But on the other hand, it's totally valid. They are getting taxpayer money, and it is totally valid to feel like I shouldn't be paying some guy who got me into trouble, forced me to bail his company out, give him another $3 million.

On Henry's site, yesterday there was someone who posted a letter from an investment banker who pointed out that these guys hate their jobs. It's not a fun time to be in that position. And so, you may really need to pay the money to retain them.

Maybe the moral outrage is worth -- expressing our moral outrage is worth the price that we're going to pay if AIG gets into trouble. And that's a political decision. It's not really an economic decision.

[...]

ZAKARIA: Megan, you live in Washington. Are we going to see a new kind of regulatory regime? You know, is this -- Washington must be, at some level, enjoying getting its fingers in this extraordinary honey pot.

MCARDLE: Oh, absolutely. When the election was finally decided, my Twitter feed was filled with friends who were liberals, and Obama fans, going "It's 1932. It's 1932!"

You know, they're ready to sit down and really get in there and start, you know, playing with all the levers and the pulleys. They want to do radical reform. There's a huge sentiment.

I mean, there's also a sentiment out on the street, on Main Street, that we've been taken for a ride, that people on Wall Street have been making outrageous sums of money for what turns out to have been not merely worthless, but actively harmful.

Now, obviously, that's completely exaggerated, in my opinion, and Wall Street does a lot of good things. But -- although I probably won't make any friends for saying that here.

But, you know, it doesn't really matter at this point what the underlying economic reality is. At this point what matters is the politically reality.
There you have it. An appearance on Charlie Rose is now only a matter of time.

7 comments:

NutellaonToast said...

I love how she knows the "buzz" because of the tweets of her "liberal friends!"

You know, I have ONLY liberal friends, and none of them were mindlessly chanting 1932. Actually, most of us in the immediate aftermath were more "Holy shit! A black dude! I never expected to see this in my lifetime!"

What a surprise that Megan chooses to associate with people for whom political bullshit (psst, it's NOT 1932 AT ALL) is more important than one of the most gigantic social advancements in history.

Ken Houghton said...

"I mean, there's also a sentiment out on the street, on Main Street, that we've been taken for a ride, that people on Wall Street have been making outrageous sums of money for what turns out to have been not merely worthless, but actively harmful."

Where the F*CK does that "we've come from?

"Now, obviously, that's completely exaggerated, in my opinion, and Wall Street does a lot of good things. But -- although I probably won't make any friends for saying that here."

Was Zakaria tying a noose at that point? Poor, victimized McMegan, telling "truth"--Without Example--defending people who made multimillions selling contracts their company has no way of suporting without getting Billions from the U.S. government.

"But, you know, it doesn't really matter at this point what the underlying economic reality is. At this point what matters is the politically reality."

English translation: Since I don't know shit about economics, I'll blame everything on politics, the way they taught me to.

ChicagoEd said...

Like these traders are the only ones in America who hate their jobs, ergo they deserve million dollar bonuses. What a douchebag.

ChicagoEd said...

Let's review:

She's asked about AIG bonuses and she says that investment bankers hate their jobs, so bonuses need to be paid to retain these guys. But AIG doesn't do investment banking, it writes insurance policies and swap contracts. She should know the difference. Especially since she "worked" on Wall Street (for what a summer?).

Then she says we need to pay bonuses to retain the the experienced employees otherwise what are we going to do "if" AIG gets into trouble. Anyone see the problem with this?

She laughs at her own joke.

She thinks liberals are salivating over getting to "play" with the "levers and pulleys" of governmental regulation, like it's some game.

She thinks she knows what the "sentiment of Mina Street" is. Laughable.

Susan of Texas said...

I couldn't watch. I tried, but I've already suffered enough in this lifetime.

James McG said...

I wonder if she's expecting the axe.

Time off for a pointless few minutes on tv, a trillion dollars gets the minimum of coverage, and the toxic bailout and ensuing market leap (so far), ignored completely.

amazing.

Blueye said...

James McG, I agree the axe is imminent. She's an awful editor. Look at the bias of everything they cover: AIG bonuses OK; bailout OK; Democrats stupid; banking systems faultless; homeowners leeches. And then she takes a a four-day weekend and even though a huge story breaks, she's still drinking Appletinis. Her ass is fired by the end of next month I predict.