Finding humor

What is the difference between a Lehman Brothers trader and a pigeon?

The pigeon can still make a deposit on a Ferrari.


Bankruptcy, not bailouts


The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.

The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

Deck chairs on the Titanic

An interesting analogy goes a long way toward explaining Main Street skepticism on the bailout package.

Think of the mortgage securities market as a poker game being played on a ship. The game is grinding to a halt, because so many players have lost most of their chips. So they come out on deck and shout, “Emergency! Emergency! The ship is about to sink! Everybody needs to give the ship’s Bursar authority to play poker, using money from the ship’s vault!”

It’s not clear that the ship is sinking, or how reviving the poker game would help if it is.


Hat tip: Positive Liberty

Biting the hand that….oops

So the Republican’ts were against the bailout before they were for being against the…oh, nevermind…

The Republican National Committee’s new advertisement critical of the the Wall Street “bailout” was produced and sent to television stations in key states before the package failed, officials at two stations said.

“Wall Street Squanders our money. And Washington is forced to bail them out with — you guessed it — our money. Can it get any worse?” asks the ad’s narrator, as the words “BAILOUT WITH OUR MONEY” cross the screen. (The answer: Obama’s plans would make it worse.)

The ad, however, seems to assume that it can safely attack a successful plan. And the reason may be the timing: Though it started airing this morning, the spot was released to stations yesterday morning, ad executives at stations in Michigan and Pennsylvania said.

So, engineer a bailout to satisfy your pampered billionare cronies, then attack the democrats for the bailout.  Joy.  Thieving rat bastards, one and all.

Breaking down the breakdown

Chris Bowers discusses what it’s like being called an idiot.  Repeatedly.  For the sin of winning the argument on a flawed bailout plan.

Being one of the roughly one hundred and eighty million Americans who opposed the bailout bill today, I have to say that I can’t remember being called stupid so often in a 24 hour period so many times in my life. Like the many other lobotomized zombies that compose, or decompose, the slathering, brain dead hordes who simply don’t understand economics, it is important to speak to me slowly, remind me that I should abrogate all of my decision making to academic experts and, if I don’t, that it will be an example of how democracy itself has failed.

Yeesh. I think I am developing a better understanding of why the conservative backlash narrative works so well. People on the losing side of major legislative and electoral battles in America really do have a habit of calling the winners stupid. When discussing the defeat of the bailout today, the pundit tone on television was almost universally patronizing, sneering disbelief. This even though the pundits were talking about members of Congress who almost all have advanced degrees, who all were democratically elected by hundreds of thousands of people, who acted under enormous stress and in opposition to all available leadership, and who by virtually every available measure are all really, very successful, hard working, people who work in public service. And yet, the disbelief as to how this group of Neanderthals would dare to put the country in such a grim position by daring to vote against this bailout is surely a sign of not only idiocy, but of the failure of the democratic process itself.

After being told at least two dozen times today that my opposition to the bailout is not valid because I don’t have enough college credit in economics, I think a few things need to be said. I say them in the extended entry.

Read it in full.