The Dukes of Moral Hazard

“Haha, stupids! Reading about this housing bailout completely infuriates me. I could really give a shit about the moral hazards of ‘rewarding’ the poor schlubs about to lose their houses or the irresponsibility of the American homebuyer in aggregate: what is happening — what people just got caught up in — was a non-optimal outcome for, you know, everybody in the world, and you damn well can’t fix it by bitching about how people aren’t making smart financial planning decisions, seemingly a common theme. You can fix it by making sure lenders aren’t eagerly selling manufactured idiocies in the form of highly complex, nigh-impenetrable financial products packaged for easy, consequence-free retail sale. But of course that needed regulation won’t happen. Instead there’ll be a bailout of lenders, a slightly smaller bailout of (some) homeowners, and the mercurial leviathan of late-stage American capitalism will cast about for another quick fix.”
Manufactured Idiocies, The Poor Man, September 3, 2007

Blame the borrowers? Blame the fucking idiot lenders! They’re the ones who’re supposed to know about risk. Such as who might be a good bet and who isn’t. When did bankers and other financial types get so stupid? Was it in the 70s when Walter Wristen said countries never go bankrupt? [somewhere in Temple of Secrets, Wm Greider, oh, sometime ago] Or was it when they realized they could make more money off bad debts than good ones? Anyone know? Maybe crime does pay. I sure don’t know, I’m still workin’ for a livin’.

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