Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"We're too big to fail, suckers!"

I know it's horrible to swipe Tom Tomorrow's cartoon like this... but I couldn't figure out how to post an excerpt. And I think it does a good job of summarizing things.


Brian Dunbar said...

Excerpts are easy - screen grab the bit you want.

Hmm. That would work for 'a' frame but, perhaps, so good if the good bits are scattered across several frames.

Brian Dunbar said...

Of course, Mr. Tomorrow is being a little simplistic. But what else can you do with a six-panel cartoon?

I comfort myself with this simplistic notion - it's not that we're saving a bunch of rich guys from insolvency, but injecting a really ferocious amount of money in an effort to keep credit markets going so the REST of the economy can borrow money so places like my employer (hi boss) can keep their doors open.

Yes, borrowing heavily against the taxpayers. But would you rather owe a bit more on your taxes or see what a Great Depression looks like when it can be live blogged?

Okay, yes, that was just a bit less simplistic than Mr. Tomorrow's version, but ... I'd rather not have to relate stories to my kids about the good ol' days when Daddy didn't have to scrounge coal from the railroad tracks to heat the house.

rufus said...

I had a long talk about this with Claire's father last night. He's sort of an uber accountant and heavily effected by all of this.

The first thing he said was that this is the biggest crisis of this sort in the Western economy in the time he has been on earth. And, clearly, the cost of doing nothing at this point would be catastrophic.

So, in principle, I'm okay with this bailout. My concerns are the following:
1. There will be a lack of oversight of the treasury and we the taxpayers won't know what's going on with our money,
2. Whether we like it or not, the markets won't stabilize until there is much stronger regulation of the banks and lending institutions. In the opinion of Claire's father, this is what will ultimately fix things. I worry that it won't be implemented,
3. And call me cynical, but I worry that ultimately this bailout will amount to throwing good money after bad,
4. I worry that the crisis won't be resolved before the next crisis hits, and I've read articles in Forbes and elsewhere suggesting that oil prices are going to skyrocket once again in the near future.

So it will be interesting to see if we can make it through this one. I think it's likely. But, I have to say that I don't blame anyone for being skeptical when Bush gets on tv and says that the government needs massive amounts of money and blind trust to fix a major crisis that threatens life as we know it. It all sounds a bit familiar.

Brian Dunbar said...

So, in principle, I'm okay with this bailout. My concerns are the following:

Well .. that's just the way the government - any government - operates.

Asking for transparency and oversight in government is like asking a cat not to shed.

These are the same guys that demand the rest of us follow accounting practices they themselves after all.

What, me cynical?

Brian Dunbar said...

they themselves after all.

Make that they themselves don't worry about after all.

Rufus said...

Well, sure, it makes sense to be cynical- but you keep pushing for it, right? I mean, I constantly hear people say, when their candidate is caught lying about something: "Well, all politicians lie". But that doesn't mean that you don't push for them to stop lying. It's the same with the government- you push for them to be transparent, rational, efficient, and just- even if you know it's not likely to result in this dimension.

Brian Dunbar said...

Well, sure, it makes sense to be cynical- but you keep pushing for it, right?

But of course. Just because the fight is hopeless and, in the long run, doomed to failure, doesn't mean you give up.

The government's job is to grab as much power as it can: this is what they do. Our job is to keep them from doing that.