Re: Who could have imagined this would happen?

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Ssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 11:54 AM
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...ssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhocking.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 11:54 AM
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Oh look, it's Mrs Which.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 11:58 AM
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That made me laugh.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 11:59 AM
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The banks aren't lending out the free government money, lots of it is going to (you guessed it) management bonuses, and now we're looking at having to spend several more times the original stated amount.

It's like we coulda just bought the goddamned banks.

I stand by my original judgment that the Democrats got played for suckers

They, sadly, have strong personal interests in a robust stock market. And finance = banks = stock markets for most people, very specifically including the legislators concerned.

and you and I and the rest of the country got fucked.

But Larry Summers will save us via, um, very smart-power.

max
['Or something.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:00 PM
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It's like we coulda just bought the goddamned banks.

Indeed. Given the record of the past eight years, there was approximately zero chance that the Bush administration wouldn't fuck this up just as badly as every other thing they've touched.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:07 PM
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look, there is something to the libertarians who say if gov gets involved, it turns corrupt. as long as lobbyists and campaign ocntributions exist, this will happen.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:13 PM
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Here Uglusius explains that we should not doubt the existence of the credit crisis just because the banks and corporations are using it as an excuse to enrich themselves from the taxpayers. You see, in Europe the governments are actually following policies that make CEOs unhappy, in their efforts to stop the credit crisis, which they would not do if there wasn't an actual crisis.

So we should be reassured that there is in fact a crisis; the crisis is not being made up by banks and corporations as an excuse to enrich themselves. And that here in the US there is in fact a crisis, and the government is not doing what would be necessary to stop it, because instead the government is doing whatever bankers and corporate executives want. But don't worry, there is in fact a crisis.


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:15 PM
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6: I am immensely disappointed in the Democratic party's inability to fully appreciate this in advance, even after eight long years.

On the other hand, it's still not clear to me that this disaster of a bailout bill isn't much less of a disaster than allowing a sudden and complete financial meltdown would have been (and we were damned close ot the precipice).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:24 PM
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9 seems to imply that this bailout bill prevented a sudden and complete financial meltdown. How do you know?


Posted by: Cryptec Nid | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:26 PM
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It prevented the "sudden" part. (Or at least postponed it.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:27 PM
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a sudden and complete financial meltdown

The sudden and complete financial meltdown was predicated on the credit market seizing up. However, the banks largely aren't lending out the money they received. Which further raises my already sky-high skepticism about the urgency of the situation.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:32 PM
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Part of the stupidity was that we forced money on banks that didn't need it. So of course those banks are finding creative uses for the money.

On the other hand, I don't think this is a terrible deal for the taxpayer. We are getting between 5% and 9% interest on our preferred stock holdings in these banks. This is for money that we borrowed in the form of T-Bills sold at about 1%. As long as these banks don't go under, we will make a tidy profit. And if they do go under, then at least we made an effort to prevent that from happening.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:38 PM
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Dream on, Spike.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:47 PM
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Senator Sanders has introduced a bill to prevent bank executives from profiting from the bailout. Those who feel so moved may wish to contact their representatives and/or write their local papers.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:48 PM
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15: I love the fact that no matter which Senator the Democrats nominated they'd have been "The Most Liberal Senator" in a Senate that includes an actual no-shit Socialist.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 12:58 PM
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The sudden and complete financial meltdown was predicated on the credit market seizing up. However, the banks largely aren't lending out the money they received. Which further raises my already sky-high skepticism about the urgency of the situation.

Near as I can tell - and it's not very near - credit isn't moving as fast as it should, but it's not frozen. It's hard to get big loans, for instance, but commercial paper is still moving, which it wasn't for a few days there.

It seems to me that we're mostly past the point where the looming crisis is financial (massive bank failures) and on to the point where it's fiscal (probably the wrong term, but meaning that no one is spending $$, and so the economy shrinks).

IOW, my story is this: The housing market collapsed from 2007 to 2008, which led the financial institutions to being fucked. For awhile, it looked like the whole financial system would seize up, such that, even if people wanted to do economy-growing things (like buy stuff or build commercially or start businesses), they couldn't get the capital for it. The bailout prevented such a seizing-up, but now we've gotten to a place where people are less wealthy and more scared, so no one is willing to do economy-expanding things. Which is why we need Obama to spend $350+B on SUPERTRAINs and backyard nuclear reactors.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:04 PM
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Several left-wingers - I know Ezra Klein did, I could probably find other names if pressed - strongly supported the bailout when it was first proposed back in mid-September, thinking that even though it would just keep the rich rich, it would keep the economy smooth until more meaningful regulatory reforms could be completed. I can't remember why they assumed it would be used as advertised, or more meaningful regulatory reforms would even be attempted.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:06 PM
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and you and I and the rest of the country got fucked.

Was it good for *you*, Apo?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:07 PM
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The bailout prevented such a seizing-up

This may be true (IANAEconomist), but I haven't yet been convinced that this isn't a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:08 PM
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20: I don't think anyone knows that. I don't think even there's any way to know. But that is exactly what the bailout bill was designed to prevent, and it did not in fact transpire. And there's at least reasonable grounds for believing the two might be causally related.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:12 PM
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The sudden and complete financial meltdown was predicated on the credit market seizing up. However, the banks largely aren't lending out the money they received. Which further raises my already sky-high skepticism about the urgency of the situation.

Well, if a bank with $1 in capital and $9 in loans decides that times are tough and it'd be better off with a 20% capital ratio, it can either get another $1 (perhaps from Uncle Sam) or it can hold onto the next $1 of loan payments instead of lending it back out.

Not that the whole thing isn't stinking worse by the day, but "the banks aren't lending out the money OMG!" doesn't seem actually wrong.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:13 PM
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The carnage has barely begun, both in finance and the broader economy. It is going to get so much worse, and then collapse.

Ya know, if I were to ask any sane businessman or economist for forty fricking years "What would happen if you repealed Glass-Steagall?" the answer would have been instantaneous. So the logical assumption is that the recent PTB not only knew what was coming, but actively desired it.

"We know so much more about Depressions now, and we know how to prevent them." says Bernanke & Krugman & DeLong. We also would know how to create one.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:17 PM
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14: Don't be a dick, point out where I'm wrong. Are we not earning 4% to 8% on the float? Or are you expecting a default? And if you are expecting a default, why should the government not be attempting to prevent that by capitalizing the banks?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:21 PM
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But that is exactly what the bailout bill was designed to prevent, and it did not in fact transpire. And there's at least reasonable grounds for believing the two might be causally related.

Well exactly. I'm not so cynical to say that the bailout was nothing more than a virgin sacrifice scheduled for 6 am on Dec 22 and OMG THE SUN'S BACK!

Also, did we not read actual IRL examples of commercial paper not moving for a week or so? Unless those stories were bogus, I take them as evidence that we really did get that close to shutdown.

Last, the specifics that we're complaining about - mostly the CEO cash-out - we all knew was the price of doing anything before Jan 21. September was a long way from Jan 21, and if things had gone south, then you're stuck in Oct or Nov having to fix things with the assholes still in charge, and the horse well out of the barn.

Anyway, what I want to know is, why aren't any of you people doing new construction? DO YOUR PART, you selfish bastards.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:24 PM
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In a general low-level way Greenspan et al have been laying the groundwork for 30+ years.

But I truely believe that the coup de grace began being planned and executed around 2001, as GS & Morgan started building the "financial instruments of mass destruction". And in 2001, I bet Paulson knew that he would become Treasury Secretary, and Bernanke knew he would be Fed Chairman.

Conspiracies and malice should always be the default when trying to understand financial geniuses.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:27 PM
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IRC SECTION 382! MFers.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:29 PM
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The sudden and complete financial meltdown was predicated on the credit market seizing up.

The sudden and complete financial meltdown was predicated on the banks going bankrupt, which would then result in a general seizure of credit (rather than a seizure of the interbank loan market). 'General seizure of credit' means your credit card stops working. (The sequence would've been a string of bankruptcies forcing the FDIC to seize control in turbulent conditions, a general withdrawal from the stock market, commercial loans would've stopped, then credit cards would've frozen and/or ATM's stop working and then payrolls stopped getting made. You can recover from this, but you're going to have a scary few months inbetween, and you're going to have a general collapse of economic activity that's going to result in the Ultimate Depression. Possibly the currency blips, and they have to issue a new type of dollar bill, because the old one is wastepaper.)

So, wanna forestall that. I disagree however, that the money is a sort of greedfest represented by yachts and champagne, so much as it is a sacrifice of the rest of the county's credit to save the existing corporate structures as is, since we get to go back and give them more money. They're willing to have us all do that even if that means homeowners and whatnot go under, even if that means a longer and deeper recession than otherwise, even if it threatens the currency itself.

I suppose the bailout money will be recycled as campaign contributions to the usual suspects.

max
['So, the big cicrcle jerk works for them.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:41 PM
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Hasn't the Fed taken over the commercial paper market?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 1:55 PM
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it is a sacrifice of the rest of the county's credit to save the existing corporate structures as is

Nah. It's about creating the next socio-political structure. They create reality while we just try to figure it out, remember?

I was going to quote the primary source description of the Rape of Magdeburg in order to remind people just how evil people are. I also, to be offensive or something, wondered if the Holocaust has confused us, so we think people are like basically good ya know, as long as they don't wear the double lightning.

Republicans would kill millions to fatten their bank accounts. I think they are going to get away with it, because liberals like...well you know the names...just assume people get better & better with this enlightenment stuff.

Bernanke & Paulson = Pappenheim & Tilly. Obama is opening the gates. "Just need to listen", Obama says.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:00 PM
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Yep. And guaranteed God only knows what and gone further than just the 350 billion but thrown in apparently 2 trillion... somewhere. (Is that the commercial paper?)

max
['It's like they nationalized the banking system, those communists!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:00 PM
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Finally clicked thru, and can't believe the author of The Shock Doctrine wrote such a shallow article.

The King gets legitimacy not just by passing out goodies to the barons, but by stabilizing the system, by building a social structure that ensures the barons get to keep the goodies and pass them on.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:20 PM
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24: Yes, I know there's a scenario according to which we really make money on this! We should do it more often! Why didn't we think of this before!

I'm opposed in principle to trying to understand this shit (click my name), but that particular meme especially stinks.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:21 PM
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There have been two routine municipal bond sales cancelled or postponed around here in the last month or two because of trouble getting credit. I didn't go looking for them, one of them is the HS down the street, another is the county I live in.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:23 PM
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John, tranching doesn't work the way you describe in your link. By construction, the lowest tranches are the riskiest and the highest tranches are the least risky, but the individual loans are not tranched. There's a certain pool of payments that go to the bond holders. If everyone pays, then the bond holders get their full amount. If someone defaults, then they take that amount away from the lowest tranche. Once the lowest tranche doesn't get anything, then they take money away from the second-lowest tranche, etc.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:35 PM
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Hasn't the Fed taken over the commercial paper market?

I missed this completely. Don't know how I feel about it, but it looks more and more like we really did nationalize everything, we just won't admit it.

I mean, it's one thing to bankroll something, in which you're effectively acting as a shareholder but not a manager, and another to directly run parts of what you've bankrolled. Maybe I'm seeing a difference that isn't real, but... whoa.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 2:44 PM
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I recognized mcmanus no later than the word "carnage."

I think this bailout is a pretty tremendous trainwreck in the making but I also feel pretty powerless to do jack about it. I was at a fundraiser for my congressperson a few weeks ago (he turned out to be hilariously uncouth and a little timid) at which someone who claimed to be in the banking sector in some capacity was chewing his ear in favor of the bailout; that person seemed genuinely frightened but I honestly just am neither smart nor educated enough to know what to think other than to assume that the Bush administration pulled a fast one and the Democrats in Congress fell for it out of habit if nothing else.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 3:02 PM
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It's not necessarily that there was no need for the bailout, it's that there weren't enough strings attached.

he turned out to be hilariously uncouth and a little timid

this is amazingly vivid and original for such a brief description of someone. Really good writing -- probably because of the unexpected contrast of uncouth and timid.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 3:20 PM
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No, what I was saying is that they were trying to get new loans and found new loans hard to get on good terms, so they cancelled.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 3:45 PM
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IRC SECTION 382! MFers.

Would you mind expanding on that, PGD?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 4:59 PM
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The great bond market crash of 2009 ...via Yves Smith

This is the kind of thing I am expecting to happen next year, or at least in Obama's first term.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 5:15 PM
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40: I presume he is talking about the relaxation of a provision in that section of the tax code which limited how banks could use "losses" they inherited from purchasing other banks in offsetting income for tax purposes. It was changed with basically no notice in September.

The change to Section 382 of the tax code -- a provision that limited a kind of tax shelter arising in corporate mergers -- came after a two-decade effort by conservative economists and Republican administration officials to eliminate or overhaul the law, which is so little-known that even influential tax experts sometimes draw a blank at its mention. Until the financial meltdown, its opponents thought it would be nearly impossible to revamp the section because this would look like a corporate giveaway, according to lobbyists.

It makes buying poorly-performing banks much more attractive.

"PNC will be able to utilize those losses to reduce its taxable income without limit," said Robert Willens, who runs a tax and accounting consultancy in New York. "The present value of the tax savings that PNC will enjoy from this relaxation of the normal prohibitions against "trafficking' in losses will equal or exceed the entire amount PNC is paying for the stock of NCC."

Not to worry though, the Dems are on it:

"It's just like after September 11. Back then no one wanted to be seen as not patriotic, and now no one wants to be seen as not doing all they can to save the financial system," said Lee A. Sheppard, a tax attorney who is a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Analysts. "We're left now with congressional Democrats that have spines like overcooked spaghetti. So who is going to stop the Treasury secretary from doing whatever he wants?"

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 5:22 PM
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It's amazing how often the Democrats can manage not to be there at all when something big is happening. They're very adept and nimble that way.

More or less according to plan, I am pretty much ditching the Democrats now. I'll probably give a few puny $$ to Al Franken just to finish up the election cycle. And I'll donate a few puny dollars to Hamsher and Greenwald's anti Blue Dog Accountability fund.

In 2002, after having supported Nader, I promised everyone to support the Democrats come hell or high water. And I did that through four cycles, and the crisis is past.

So now I can ask again: what good are those fuckers? (Yeah, I know: when I pull out, will the Democrats notice anything? No, of course not).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 5:57 PM
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this is amazingly vivid and original for such a brief description of someone.

In the review of the establishment where the Pgh minimeetup occurred, I included an Unfogged-friendly term in a description, and AB held it out (unbidden and unaware) as superb verbiage. Let's hope it makes it past our editor, and I'll post the link.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:04 PM
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This seems on topic:

Michael Lewis on the End of Wall Street's Boom


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:18 PM
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Also, Ted Stevens is now losing by 3 votes:

http://www.elect.alaska.net/data/results.htm

(currently, 125019 for Begich vs. 125016 for Stevens).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:32 PM
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Paging Dsquared to explain that Lewis is a genius, or an idiot, or something.

I have a unified theory that New Age religion, prosperity theology, humanistic psychology, cornucopianism, transhumanism, Harry Potter, Dale Carnegie, pyramid scams, the Grateful Dead, futurology, the sexual revolution, personal fitness, and modern finance are all the same goddamn thing.

With all that candlepower the few lonely darkness-cursers really don't have a chance. Fucking darkness.

And the optimists will drag the rest of us down with them, too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:37 PM
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I'm skeptical of the accuracy of that article. They have a hedge fund manager whose actively shorting banks, but unaware of basic facts of the banking business, facts that I knew just from reading the newspaper.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:40 PM
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Damn. Two deadlocked Senate races. The Republican operatives are going to run wild.

I voted for Franken 142 time, but don't tell anyone. I know someone who vited for Begich more than 200 times. The Republicans are such innocents. They suspect nothing! Mwahahahaha!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 6:40 PM
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48: the Lewis article? It sounded fairly plausible to me...


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:17 PM
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but the individual loans are not tranched

My understanding is that they were - not in the sense that each loan was carefully subdivided into tranches, but in the sense that, when a CDS was created, the loans weren't classified into tranches, but rather 5000 mortgages (or whatever) were divided into 3-4 tranches, and the only way a loan ended up in a tranch was the extent to which it was paid back.

Maybe I've misunderstood your objection. But the cliche is that the loans have been sliced and diced so much that no one knows what they own - people who own the second tranch of CDS A13b (or however they're designated) can't simply look into a discrete set of mortgages and declare, "We're good - those are all sound."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 7:56 PM
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48: that sounds perfectly plausible to me. Did you know those facts before the recent crisis?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:08 PM
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52 amended: even if you did, it's still perfectly plausible to me that you'd be better informed than some meaningful percentage of investment bankers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:09 PM
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Ex Goldman-Sachs CEO says WORSE than the Great Depression ...the commenters at Calculated Risk agree.

Not much substance in CR comment sections, but often some laughs. There's an old joke about four Yorkshiremen competing on GD horror stories in there. "What, you got to sleep? You got a whole lump of coal?"

Circuit City, Sony, now Intel...Jeez, am i fucked


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:31 PM
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52: I did. I think I learned them from Liar's Poker, actually.

53: I find that hard to believe and yet it explains so much...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:38 PM
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55: There has to be a huge selection and confirmation bias among the banking population. If you think it's all going to end poorly, you either don't go into banking, take a huge risk (difficult to do!), or convince yourself that you must be wrong somehow.

56: As much as it pains me to admit it, you appear to have had a point wrt AIG. The original bailout terms were reasonable, but the Republicans didn't stick to them for more than a month.

Why are Circuit City, Sony, and Intel making you fucked? The American model of "borrow money at 20% and use it to buy a flat screen TV, dinner at PF Changs, and a new SUV" couldn't go on forever. Some people deluded themselves into thinking it would switch to "use your salary to buy just a flat screen TV, but don't eat out or get a new car", but it was pretty clear that it was going to end up at "use your salary to pay down your credit card bill, and go watch TV at your friend's house", and then to "lose your job as a flat screen TV salesman, move back in with your parents".


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 8:56 PM
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56: If you work for a business that makes flat-screen TVs, that's cold comfort.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:06 PM
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Lewis is back to his old Liar's Poker thesis: finance is a massive con-job foisted on investing rubes, dominated by aggressive, smart (but ignorant) frat boys. Lewis had lunch with the focus of that book, former Salomon CEO John Gutfreund, and he notes Gutfreund confirms he didn't really understand everything they did at Salomon, and his subordinates were greedy and didn't really understand what they did.

Welcome to the real world! Do you think George Bush really understands education? Stem cells?

I am not Falkenstein, but click on my name for more.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:09 PM
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57: True. Good thing that there are none of them in Texas... oh. Well, bob, I hope you don't get laid off.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:15 PM
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IRC SECTION 382! MFers.

The record will reflect that I was able to summon at least a vague recollection of what section 382 is all about after two very nice Manhattans and a glass or two of wine. Tax law: kind of like riding a bicycle, but not really.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:15 PM
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This is a much more complicated issue, because if in the end, buyers were not doing due diligence, wasn't their demand, the essence of the problem?

Yeah, who could be so foolish as to think that the suppliers characterized in just the previous sentence as unethical might shoulder some of the blame? If someone wants something without fully understanding the stakes, or what it is he thinks he wants, isn't the real unethical behavior not supplying him with something—no matter what?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:17 PM
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So I was the only one who thought PGD was talking about Internet Relay Chat, then?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:19 PM
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There's an old joke about four Yorkshiremen competing on GD horror stories in there. "What, you got to sleep? You got a whole lump of coal?"

OK, we've tolerated some outrageous trolling from Bob, but it's time to exile him to a small shoebox in the middle of the road.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:19 PM
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||
Obama needs to know what dead president you have been:

The application also asks applicants to "please list all aliases or 'handles' you have used to communicate on the Internet."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/13/us/politics/13apply.html?ref=unfogged

|>


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:22 PM
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Jesus.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:24 PM
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65: It's okay, ben. Your handle is impenetrable, unlike the rest of you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:25 PM
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66: Plus it stipulates "you have used to communicate".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:29 PM
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64 seems worth a front-page post.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:31 PM
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58: I don't want to exaggerate, so I wouldn't say that was 100% wrong. Maybe 98.6% wrong?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:35 PM
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66: No, I think ben was starting his list.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:40 PM
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I think I've discovered a flaw in the question's construction.


Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:40 PM
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Stanley, you've been spying on my dreams!

When I lived in DC I suspected that one reason it was relatively boring was that half the young people there were on some trajectory or another for a government job. Annoying.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:40 PM
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"Please provide any other information, including information about other members of your family, that could suggest a conflict of interest or be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the president-elect."

Any information that could be a possible source of embarrassment to me? Is there anyone, anywhere who could truthfully answer this in fewer than 50 pages?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:43 PM
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68: your wish is, to me, like a command.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:44 PM
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64 seems worth a front-page post.

I'll main-page it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:44 PM
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Wow. Postpwned.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:45 PM
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Maybe if government officials were a little less straitlaced, they'd be less tempted to get their kicks through corrupting the democratic process.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:47 PM
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78

Shit, I should have put 77 on the new post.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:47 PM
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73: You don't want us to answer that, do you, Brock?

Anyway(s), what the hell kinds of people is Obama going to wind up with who pass all these tests? Of course, it's not clear that one must be completely clean, but simply providing all of that information is is a test in itself. And I don't remember the names of all my roommates, so there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:47 PM
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simply providing all of that information is is a test in itself

Being, as always, well behind he curve I was this afternoon reading the 11/20 instalment of the New York Review of Books. David Bromwich, discussing a number of books about Dick Cheney, says:

The vice-presidential search in the spring of 2000 was characteristic ... potential VPs ... had been asked to submit exhaustive data concerning friends, enemies, sexual partners [etc] ... each also signed a notarized letter that gave Cheney the power to request records from doctors ... All this information would prove useful in later years. ... soon after Frank Keating was mentioned as a likely candidate for attorney general, a story appeared in Newsweek about an awkward secret in his past ... the leak could only have come from one person.

Of course, at the time this information was requested, the decision had already been made that none of the people submitting information was going to actually be considered for VP.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 9:58 PM
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80: Yeah, funny, I immediately recalled that article as well. Uncomfortable.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 10:02 PM
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81: Me too.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-12-08 10:14 PM
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Kompromat.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11-13-08 3:27 AM
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Didn't Apo say that the Dow would be below 8000 by Christmas? Well, it looks like Christmas is on November 13th this year.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-13-08 11:13 AM
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Okay, having actually read the article now, I'm suddenly pretty upset. I still think it's likely the bailout was less bad than the alternative (which let's posit was a heightened risk of sudden financial meltdown, although I agree there's no way to be certain). But that's not really the right measure, because the bailout we got was so very unacceptably far below the sort of bailout bill that could have been structured that I'm still boiling. One almost gets the sense that its architects didn't have the best interests of the taxpayers in mind.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-14-08 7:46 AM
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(Although Klein was a bit unfair in parts, for instance her suggestions that the internal "firewall" to be set up by Simpson was likely a sham. Large law firms set up firewalls all the time (successfully).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-14-08 7:48 AM
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We will have a leader who sees the value of thinking things through instead of scaring up a MOB of cowards and psychos....AKA: Tripp, Jimmy Neutron, Capsaicin, Viva La Canadian Bacon, and of course the ever famous APOSTROPHER.

How's that for censorship asshole!


Posted by: Termin8ter | Link to this comment | 11-16-08 11:37 AM
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Look who followed my home, mommy and daddy. Can I keep him please please please? He's so cute and he'll give the other one someone to play with.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-16-08 12:02 PM
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