Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The financial markets are working

Knowing that there is nothing this administration won't try, you really have to start to wonder about this plan's timing. Did Paulson really think he could make Chuck Schumer crap himself and sign over a trillion dollars over a weekend?

The plan as it emerges is terrible - it is simply a bailout of the people/institutions holding these MBSs and other pieces of toxic paper.

I have a pretty plain observation about the whole mess - the financial markets are working - not melting down. Credit is tighter, the TED spread is exploding, treasury yields are low, etc. etc. because the market - the market in, of, and for these things - knows that there is no "there" there. There is no credit to be offered, because there are no assets to back it up. The market is trying to tell people to stop borrowing - this is exactly what it is supposed to be doing.

Let the housing market come to rest where it should, let thousands of housing starts stop, let hundreds or thousand of CRE developments grind to a halt, let unemployment rise - and let these banks/brokerages/hedge funds/etc. fail if they have to. They made the mess - they invented it, participated in it, feed slovenly from the trough of it. And when it still wasn't enough, they forced the game all the way down to the lowest of consumers and convinced damn near everyone in the entire United States that they had to own a home (or two or three) and two cars and a 60 inch TV, etc. etc. and that we could all just pay for everything later.

Well you can't. You can't leverage everything up 30 times - it just doesn't work. This has just been proven - and all this bailout seems to want to do is to return things to the way they were a couple of years ago. Instead of seeing the housing market as a bubble, Paulson is talking about a housing recovery. What recovery? Is he insane?

Some links:

Pigs at the Trough TPM

Getting real — and letting the cat out of the bag Krugman