Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out of a morbid attraction to train wrecks, I'm watching CNBC. One of the guests this morning was a "private equity guy" from tony Newton, Mass., who was arguing against government intervention because the market needed to work things out on its own. I didn't record his exact words, but they were something like this:
Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate .… It will purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.
It's a policy line with a long and interesting history --- this was Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon's advice to Herbert Hoover...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An interesting Google search: palin dominionist. Another: mccain imprecatory prayer.

For those who can't stand surprises: the hard-core Christianist loons regard Palin as one of their own, perhaps rightly (this would be their "stealth candidate" school-board strategy writ large). And the looniest of the lot are praying for McCain to win the election and immediately die, so that their woman can take over. What a lovely Christian sentiment...

If millions of people take mortgages that they can't afford, and the ensuing mess threatens the stability of the financial system, the government can't bail them out --- some of them may have been ill-advised or rushed into bad deals by shady financiers, but it would destroy market incentives, and they just have to suffer.

If major financial institutions buy those mortgages, and the ensuing mess threatens the stability of the financial system, the government must bail them out --- they're getting off easier than they deserve, but the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

Good to know.