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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Food for thought about the financial crisis

I'm still letting classes swamp my time but wanted to share a couple quotes I found thought-provoking:

From Free Exchange, economist.com: "I find it condescending to presume that when a banker over-leverages himself he is being greedy and reckless, but when the average person buys a house they can not afford, they were misled and are the victim."

From Don Pedro, Economists for Obama: "[Treasury Secretary Paulson is] the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and as Yglesias points out, he'll be unemployed in just 4 months time and presumably looking for a new job with a Wall Street company. How could Congress possibly give him $700,000,000,000 to buy bad debt of his choice from companies that will include his former and probably also his very-soon-in-the-future employers?"

And this is unrelated to the crisis but I just thought it was really cool: Project Implicit assesses whether your sub-conscious mind is in agreement with your conscious mind.

2 comments:

  1. About that first quote ...

    While I agree that the average home buyer shares some culpability,
    I find it disingenuous to imply that a banker, presumably educated, experienced, and well paid, whose life's work it is to know how to assess and manage risk, should be compared to the average home buyer, who trusts his broker and the system to provide reliable information and recommendations.

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  2. I ditto Jim's sentiment and think it's important to zoom out to the larger context, that the Friedman school of economics and neoliberalism is driving the insanity.

    I'll wager a dollar (real value unknown) that by the time I want to draw on SSI, circa 2030, it will be totally or partially privatized and crappier than our privatized health care system.

    Here's one of my big questions: If I understand momonomics correctly, we have accrued our national debt because we don't want to outwardly tax ourselves for the expenses we incur now.
    If that's more or less true, then wtf is up with the thinking in the United States that goes "I don't want to pay more taxes??" As if we pay so many to begin with?
    It reeks of the same thinking that says, "I don't want socialized [fill in the blank]." Few Americans perceive the military as socialism in action.

    So here's what it looks like from the clouds, it's ok to pay for healthcare for the war machine because they advance the agendas of the ilk of the Halibertons, Bushes and Paulsons. Everyone and everything else is dispensable.

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