“If there are other large concentrations of CDS outstanding, we don’t know about it,” said Robert Bliss, a finance professor at Wake Forest University and a former economic adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “But who would have thought AIG, a plain-vanilla insurance company, suddenly was going to get blown up by CDS?”
Robert Samuelson of the Post tosses off a terrible column (not an unusual occurrence by any means).
In this fluid situation, one thing is predictable: The crisis will produce a cottage industry of academics, journalists, pundits, politicians and bloggers to assess blame. Is former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan responsible for holding interest rates too low and for not imposing tougher regulations on mortgage lending? Would Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin have spotted the crisis sooner? Did Republican free-market ideologues leave greedy Wall Street types too unregulated?
Some stories are make-believe. After leaving government, Rubin landed at Citigroup as a top executive. He failed to identify toxic mortgage securities as a big problem in the bank’s own portfolio. It’s implausible to think he’d have done so in Washington. As recent investigative stories in the New York Times and The Post show, the Clinton administration broadly supported the financial deregulation that Democrats are now so loudly denouncing.
Where did Rubin come from here? Does anyone believe he was a gun-totin’, regulatin’ sheriff of Wall Street? I don’t think so. Hello, straw man.
There’s a broader lesson. When things go well, everyone wants on the bandwagon. Skeptics are regarded as fools. It’s hard for government — or anyone — to say: “Whoa, cowboys; this won’t last”…
We go through cycles of self-delusion, sometimes too giddy and sometimes too glum. The consolation is that the genesis of the next recovery usually lies in the ruins of the last recession.
What is this “we” business (and thanks for the platitudes)? Trying to pull everybody into the blame here is irresponsible and dangerous. It deflects blame from the tiny sliver of financiers on Wall Street and elsewhere that created most of the mess.
The NYT’s David Carr visits the set of “Mad Money” and paints a nice picture of a subdued Jim Cramer.
The Times also looks at the growing backlash by newspapers against the Associated Press, which they say is charging them too much while competing with them on the Web—and not writing as many, you know, news stories.
The editors in Ohio, in particular, say The A.P. has retreated from one of its traditional roles: producing a lot of routine, breaking-news articles.
The A.P. wants to make its work more engaging, with more enterprise journalism like features, investigations and analyses — but that is also the direction many papers are going.
Mr. Marrison of The Columbus Dispatch said that course had forced newspapers to devote more resources to small stories that used to be covered by The A.P. “Then The A.P. rewrites our story and sends it out,” he said. “So we’re sacrificing our enterprise so that A.P. can do its enterprise? No, no, no. We’re the owners.”