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Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Rescue Plan

posted by on March 30 at 17:09 PM

Have no fear…
Picture%201.jpg…capitalism is here.

NEW YORK - …Wall Street faces the biggest overhaul of its regulatory structure since the Great Depression… [The plan] to be announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday would help prevent the kind of risky investments that led to the near-collapse of Bear Stearns Cos.

But why are we nervous about this great news? What is it about the rescue that makes us so uneasy? Because we will never find a peace of mind in a plan like this: Wolves offering the sheep a solution to the problem of wolves.

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Charles, flights leave all the time to take you to your communist dreamland. Feel fee to book one of those flights.

Posted by Andrew | March 30, 2008 5:40 PM

I personally believe in tension between laissez-faire capitalism and government regulation. Neither side is the solution but one can act as a check for the other. Does that make the United States socialist? So be it.

Posted by Donolectic | March 30, 2008 5:50 PM

charles, i agree with the spirit of some of your posts, but you need to stop with the whole "we/us" point of view in your writing. it's your position, feel free to say "I feel uneasy" or "I don't like capitalism".

Posted by douglas | March 30, 2008 5:57 PM

the kind of marxist i be is the type that does not say no to trade but yes, and yes to the extreme. regulation of the banks is bullshit. it only shows the direct relationship between capitalism, which is an ideology and not the economic system it claims to be, and the state. i want real free markets. capitalism is not about free anything. the regulation of the banks is not a contradiction but consistent with capitalism and its manner of control. actual competition and markets are capitalism's real enemy. look at what happened to the global cotton market five years ago and you will see exactly what i'm talking about. America protects its markets not for the poor but for the rich.

I say, open the markets to all and level the playing field. give people an actual chance to compete. that has not happened under the present system.

Posted by charles mudede | March 30, 2008 6:07 PM

@2: you are spot-on. The US has had that tension for the past century or so. The problem is that the fucked-up political system makes little nibbles and additions from/to the regulation, often to benefit the favoured friends (as in now, the Wall St. assholes, oil companies, etc.).

This has VERY little to do with Charles' demonic Capitalism, and has EVERYTHING to do with the criminals running the government.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | March 30, 2008 6:10 PM

No communists in my car! No christians, either!

Posted by Big Sven | March 30, 2008 6:19 PM

The anti capitalism rant is boring, trite and stupid.

Sorry. But just look around the the answer N. K. communism? USSR communism? Cuban communnism?
Don't think so. People don't want it, they starve and suffer.
So, we're stuck with capitalism.

Teddy Roosevelt said it right in the man in the arena speech. The dividing line between what should be left to competition and collectivism depends in each issue on the practicality as to what works best.

defense - collective.
streets - collective.
sewage systems -- used to be individual, now collective. Oh my god they my property rights, boo hoo.
health care: what works is socialized medicine. If we can't say it, how can we ever get it?
education: collective. We can't even fill high tech jobs from the ranks of USA graduates....
music, software, food, housing: individual providers.
throw in the fact that markets are always defined and regulated and supervised by the state to avoid monopolies, scams and market failure, and you have highly regulated capitalism with strong socialized sectors and if you look around the world that's pretty much the best system.

Empirically and all.

So to say "capitalism bad" is stupid. Just as saying "free market capitalism good, please remove all regulations" is stupid.

BTW, I think Charles has also blamed Zimbabwe's problems on capitalism.....when the fault is largely Mugabe. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Portugal, Ireland all have developed from fairly poor to having decent incomes under capitalism. So it ain't capitalism that's the problema.

Posted by unPC | March 30, 2008 6:31 PM

I'll take your stock tip Chuck, and buy more shares of Coke.

When is the game not rigged my wise friend?

Posted by 5yearplan | March 30, 2008 6:35 PM

We're uneasy - afraid, even - about half-baked regulation because it means the folks who made sound (or at least not entirely self-destructive) decisions take responsibility for those who didn't.

Imagine, if practically everyone on Wall Street wasn't aware of this outcome for eight years (2000-2008), what will come out of less than a month of planning?

Then expand a bit: do you put faith in anyone who decides to make sweeping changes that quickly? Either they've assumed vastly inflated personal intelligence and power, or are so politicized that they had to act, their own judgment notwithstanding.

The street is ignoring that, pandering aside, this is essentially how it was intended work. Folks made stupid decisions, like purchasing or insuring or originating mortgages for risky buyers with essentially no cash.

Such choices should be stupid and loss-making, not illegal. One doesn't need a new regulatory agency in order to require SIVs and CDSes be disclosed on balance sheets along with other substantial counterparty risk.

Posted by Troy | March 30, 2008 6:36 PM

The real enemy is Capitolhillism, defined as an economy that is based solely on the unregulated proliferation of Thai and pho restaurants, as well as outlets for questionable crafts and fashions, and the free flow of food stamps and methadone.

It's complex, people -- if I could explain it, I'd have my Nobel Prize.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | March 30, 2008 6:36 PM

unPC, mugabe has never acted as a marxist, he knew nothing about economics, and what he did to informal markets in 2005 (Operation Murambatsvina) was consistent with how big capitalism decimates it rivals in reality. as for singapore, please look at its economic and political history and development before throwing its name into the temple of capitalist ideology.

Posted by charles mudede | March 30, 2008 6:41 PM

As an aside, the scary topic right now is hearing Clinton and Obama talk about housing bailouts. Precedent and "moral hazard" aside, their plans are unfathomably expensive, even more so given the ARMs set to reset in '08/'09/'10 (which are already getting incidental support from an inflation-inducingly low interest rate).

This is probably The Big Decision of the next administration, on par with Iraq '05-08 in impact and cost.

I wasn't a McCain supporter until I heard how Clinton and Obama plan to "handle" housing.

In Seattle, keep tabs on Bill Fleckenstein for a glimpse at what's actually happening. He also writes for MSN. I'm unaffiliated except as an impressed reader.

Posted by Troy | March 30, 2008 6:49 PM

PS, a good starting point for factual info is actually the Wikipedia: entry on credit default swaps.

Zero math knowledge required to realize why they're so difficult to price, uniquely useful, hard to dispose of, and understood by very, very few folks beyond quants sitting at derivatives desks.

Posted by Troy | March 30, 2008 6:57 PM

*Has a crush on Charles*

*May be the only person in the world with a Marxism kink*

Posted by Bek | March 30, 2008 6:59 PM

"Wolves offering the sheep a solution to the problem of wolves" is a pretty eloquent turn of phrase. It comes close to capturing my own misgivings with the bailouts and regulatory fixes coming out of Washington on the heels of the latest rounds of fiascos.

I've noticed that the big giant captains of industry are all for free, unregulated markets until their own greed and lack of foresight lands them in a mess like this, and then they're all in favor of whatever form of socialism most expediently funnels tax dollars into their failed enterprises.

Posted by flamingbanjo | March 30, 2008 7:58 PM

If you think capitalism is about government merging with markets (hint: think Mussolini) then you're more ignorant than I originally gave you credit for.

Posted by Ayn_Randian | March 30, 2008 10:12 PM

Stop using "we", as in speaking for all of us.

Posted by -B- | March 30, 2008 11:13 PM

All this was caused when they deregulated, by SEC action, a few key regulations that had been in place since 1930 - put in place after the Great Depression.

And this is the result.

Incompetence, thy name is Republican.

Posted by Will in Stockholding Seattle | March 31, 2008 1:07 AM

Will, that deregulation started under Clinton (a sop to the financial folks to help stave off the pop of the bubble) and was about the only thing the Bush 2 administration kept up after they took control.
Its all about privatizing the profits and socializing the losses. Those who gained in this latest round of bull shit, the very top tier of the financial world, are very happy folks. The middle and lower ends who tried to run with the big guys, not so much.
All are to blame from lack or INTELLIGENT regulation to the out and out greed of each and every one of us.

Posted by Gindy | March 31, 2008 3:57 AM

lack of INTELLIGENT regulation

Posted by Gindy | March 31, 2008 3:59 AM

The word capitalism in a Coca-cola font? Dude, YOU. JUST. BLEW. MY. MIND!!

Posted by Ben Weldon | March 31, 2008 7:38 AM

So much for the market correcting itself ;P

Posted by Gomez | March 31, 2008 8:44 AM

Seeing as NONE of us were alive durring the roaring 20's early, antibellum era, or the great depression we are all ignorant of what life was like living under lasseiz faire capitalism and the major consolidations that occurred. The net result was actually quite detrimental to if nothing else the STABILITY of the economy. Everyone was out to make the quick buck, nobody invested for the long term and the market was all bang and bust. Somehow this reminds me very much of the term "deregulation" and the state of the economy today. It also scarrily reminds of how artificial wealth was created prior to the great depression and the loaning and interest rates that are occuring today.

Do I think "captilasm" is inherantly bad. Of course not, but the unregulated capitalsim some of these conservative groups believe in are more along the lines of organized crime, loansharking, and extorsion than free market enterprising.

Besides, some of the more "socialist" markets are doing fine, if not better than us. Canada for one is taking much of our manufacturing thanks to their nationalized health care.

Posted by OR Matt | March 31, 2008 10:17 AM

I love it when white dudes without families who have only ever been rich in the US lecture Africans about Capitalism and free markets.

Posted by six shooter | March 31, 2008 10:42 AM

Besides, almost everyone is a communist until they start making money. An individual has a great idea he is able to sell and feels saitisfaction for the money HE HIMSELF HAS EARNED. It is quite a rewarding feeling.

This isn't to be confused with people in Wall Street or CEO's who seem to have been handed a fiefdom.

Posted by OR Matt | March 31, 2008 10:42 AM

I don't really understand. This seems to make sense to me. Financial collapse puts everyone at risk, so why shouldn't we set rules that minimize that risk? It seems to me that this is an instance of wolves offering the wolves a solution to the problem of wolves AND sheep.

I'm not being facetious, if someone could explain to me why this is a bad idea or throw some books at me I would be interested.

Posted by Cale | March 31, 2008 2:31 PM

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