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Friday, September 26, 2008

A recommendation to help you grok the current economic crisis

Cliff Notes for the current economic crisis, linked and briefly discussed in my latest HH.com guest-post.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

Steven Pearlstein's op-ed on the financial crisis in Friday's WaPo is entitled Gut Check. I commend it to you highly.

It's short and it's clear โ€” already too well distilled for me to usefully excerpt it here. When you get two-thirds of the way through it, you'll understand why some things that are getting lots of discussion are not, in fact, big problems, and you'll also understand in at least general terms what actually is the big problem, how very big indeed it is, and why addressing it somehow is so very urgent.

I'm neither vouching for nor critical of Pearlstein's specific proposal in the final third, and neither am I convinced that the original Paulson plan was the best possible way to go. To the contrary, I'm intrigued by several of the proposed tweaks, and even some of the broad alternatives, that are floating around, some of which Pearlstein also discusses briefly. And I'm definitely opposed to extortionists' attempts to lard on huge changes in social and financial policy that aren't tightly targeted to the actual current crisis (one of which, Dick Durbin's proposed revision to the bankruptcy laws, I wrote about on Thursday afternoon).

But I'm also convinced that this is one of those situations where as a nation, we simply cannot allow the quest for the perfect to remain an implacable obstacle to the acceptance of the good, or even the probably mostly okay. On these issues, ninety-nine point something percent of us, including our national leaders, are dilettantes at best. And this is one of those situations in which, in the words of that brilliant economist George S. Patton, "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."

โ€” Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 12:55 AM in Congress, Current Affairs | Permalink


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(1) stan made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 9:02:18 AM | Permalink

I have CNBC on throughout the day. Their political reporter, John Harwood, does a very good job of presenting Democratic talking points. This morning, those points all focus on blaming Congressional Republicans.

Of course I'm irritated at CNBC for being so one-sided, but I'm really, really irritated that after 40 years of getting abused by the MSM the Republicans still haven't figured out they need to get their side of the story to the people.

(2) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2008 9:35:20 AM | Permalink

I fail to understand your enthusiasm about Steven Pearlstein. As far as a quick scan can determine, his article is simply an attempt to justify giving Hank Paulson $700mil.

Based on my limited observations, credit has not yet frozen up. My bank is still offering loans, and big corporations are able--for now, at least-- to obtain credit, albeit at higher rates than before. Isn't this how the economy is supposed to work based on the law of supply and demand?

Why not simply suspend mark-to-market? This should immediately increase liquidity and give more time to work out a responsible long-term fix to the housing market.

Right now we are driven in part by people who want to protect their friends on Wall Street (Paulson) or who wish cover for their own guilt (Barney Frank.) These are only a few examples, of course, among many.

My personal opinion is that the best advice comes from the Hitchhiker's Guide: DON'T PANIC!

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