Saturday, September 20, 2008

Get Nervous

Here’s the source of my uneasiness: the underlying premise behind the buyout seems, still, to be that this is mainly a liquidity problem. So if the government stands ready to buy securities at “fair value”, all will be well.

This has been the problem all along, the pretense that all problems are just liquidity problems. Until another bank goes under. Then, well, they were bad, but for everyone else it's just a liquidity problem!

Again, the problem is that lots of bad loans were made, lots of people made highly leveraged investments in those bad loans, and still more people bet on those loans by insuring them. The loans are bad. The mortgages are not going to be repaid in full. Housing prices are not going to magically shoot up 50% over the next 6 months. People gambled and lost and now the Democrats are racing to bail them all out.

I don't have enough information to really know what should be done, but I do know that the people talking about the problem are largely still misdiagnosing it. If they don't know what the problem actually is, or if they're being dishonest about it, the solution is unlikely to be a good one.