Saturday, July 12, 2008

Are Bailout Concerns "moralist and purist?"

Tanta at calculated risk yesterday posted this

there are more than a few people who are more interested in getting a front-row ticket to a morality play than working through a financial crisis with the least (further) damage to the banking system. ...I for one would rather try debating with a pragmatist than a purist or a moralist.

Tanta's post completely and openly insults and alienates the Calculated Risk Readers.

I see a growing frustration with the state of our (The U.S.) political, financial, and legal landscape. I see large numbers of people looking for outlets.  Calculated Risk represents one of those outlets.  

The frustration is with corporate malfeasance, and the seemingly (or blatantly )

corrupt government policy that goes to support it.  I'm not the only one decrying the growing legal corruption and moral hazard that this privatized gain, socialized losses program breads.

What's wrong, Why are people angry?

  • Prudent market investors get screwed. Dropping market confidence.
  • For prudent real estate investors there's no clear strategy.  The markets are much less discernible.
  • Tax payer is forced to hand over money to corrupt or inept institutions
  • Risky, careless and sometimes illegal behavior is rewarded.
  • This type of policy stability through inept and failing institution.
  • By not shutting down some of these institutions new institutions don't have a space to come in and rebuild.

There are alternative ways to "work through a financial crisis."  The $29 billion dollar bailout to Bear Stearns and JP Morgan/Chase went to support inept management, this was not a necessary part of the takeover. Why is Alan Schwartz allowed to break the law, and walk away with his corporate bonuses? How many investors who correctly identified the problems with Bear Sterns lost money when the CDS's (Credit Default Swaps) they purchased ended up worthless?

In my opinion there is a growing perception that large corporate money gets the attention of policy makers at a detriment to the individual.  There appears to be a growing disconnect between policy makers, and their constituents.

Yes a lot of people are angry about helping to cover the salaries of Angelo Mozilo, Jamie Dimon, Alan Schwartz, or James Cayne.  It's not OK to reward criminal behavior that further degrades the markets and the economy. An orderly collapse may be the best solution, but an orderly collaps does not have to be a "bailout" for James Cayne.

Gawking or not, many of us, your readers, are "pragmatic."  Tanta, your characterization of "moralists and purists" might as well have said "cranks and crackpots."

Update: Mish's Post today is a great example of the concern I am talking about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. It's pretty sickening isn't it. A lot of the problems we have today stem from this attitude in dealing with past crisis' including the S&L crisis and the corporate failures like Enron.