We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, February 13. 2009
Michael Lewis on Wall Street.
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Barrister ... I love this guy Michael Lewis. What a great column. What a mensch. The theme of his essay is "grow a pair," and don't feel embarrassed about doing it. Say things like "We at Morgan Stanley are pleased by your investment. Now, if you ever want to see a dime of it back, go away. We'll call you if we need you." That's a truly gorgeous example of chutzpah, and emblematic of the Wall Street attitude, which I can't help but admire, even though it makes me very very cautious about committing my hard-earned money to them. I do it anyway sometimes but it's scary.
Actually, this recipe outlined in Lewis's column is a good approach to hiring any expert, whether it's an investment expert, or the guys who re-roof your house. Trust them but keep records, very good records, so if they screw it up, you can prove it, with photographs. And stick around, watching them like hawks from a safe distance. Going away from home and letting them wreak havoc without your presence is the chump's way. Then you've got no kick coming because you're got no record.
Of course, you may end up for the next few days with impaired hearing and stressed nerves, but that's, I hope, only temporary. At least you've protected your home.
MM: You have made a wonderful comparison--it is absolutely true that you need to stay on site during every moment of construction, or repair, or remodel.
If you would like to have some fun with one of THE MOST obnoxious purveyors of change--sign up here!
There is a difference between gaming and gambling. With regard to Wall street --it's purpose, it's mission was to build a strong America--one that everyone could share in. When it became a gambling institution it lost it's right to protection from the American people.
Stock market was a gambling institution from the beginning. Betting on ships returning from the South Seas - and on the tulip bulb market. Always was, still is. Never for the faint of heart, and rarely for those who aren't willing to lose big $.
aww shucks--wish somebody would've told me that sooner. Silly me--here I was thinking that it was intended to help good businesses succeed and concomitantly the American standard of living would improve for each investor! Of course, there is always the challenge of facing risk--however when it became a game in which the only the house could win--it became a gambling institution.
"Think about this. Some fool comes along and gives you $15 billion, no strings attached. The fool doesn’t own you. You own him. Mack needs to stand up and say, “We at Morgan Stanley are pleased by your investment. Now, if you ever want to see a dime of it back, go away. We’ll call you if we need you.”
Thain’s Right Idea "
That's an attitude to admire? Really? "if you ever want to see a dime of it back, go away."...Sounds to me like the kind of fool who thinks his little green pieces of paper (or blips on a computer screen) mean something. He's been living in a hoity-toity gun-free zone for a little too long. He's forgetting that even if some disgruntled investor doesn't come shoot his thieving, lying ass, this government that he so casually mocks has plenty of power to lock his ass up. And in case he hasn't noticed lately, governments don't have to play by the rules. They make the rules and change them when they see fit. Sure he can ingratiate himself with some in power, but maybe those in power aren't holding the cards he thinks they are.
As for the casual attitudes towards theft being taken by some here, I really can't see where such people can get all riled up about government theft. Theft is theft, whether it is perpetrated by the government or by Wall Street sons of bitches. Pathetic.
KRW ... Ever heard the expression 'caveat emptor?' Grown-ups are supposed to be smart enough and cautious enough to take care of themselves. And if they screw up, then they should take their lumps and learn from them. At least, that's the way it's always worked for me. You do it to yourself ... you clean it up. I think that's the consensus here at Maggies.
I know it is at my house.
Caveat Emptor...heh, yeah, how conveeenient. Funny how caveat emptor is always for the other guy, but when it happens to you it's wah wah wah. Don't play that condescending "Grown-up" game with me. Theft is theft. Yes, life is risky. We all takes risks every time we leave the house. But if you get hit upside the head whilst walking down the street, I'd want to beat the living shit out of the guy who did it. I certainly wouldn't be laughing my ass off implying it was your fault for not wearing a helmet. People without honor should be treated dishonorably. No, that does not mean that we all don't have a responsibility to take precautions to protect ourselves, but I draw the line at outright blaming the victim. From what I've seen in life, those who side with bullies and thieves live in fear themselves.
Pardon my language, but to me this is a sad sign of what level our society has sunk to. Pitiful.
KRW ... My dear young person. I think you misunderstand me. I'm 80 years old, so I'm choosing to be "grown-up" because I am. But I'm not condescending to you. I'm trying to help you understand where I and other grown-ups come from. "Theft is theft -- life is risky." I may know that even more clearly than you do. And if I were beaten up [which wouldn't be hard for some young punk to do, because I'm pretty fragile right now] I would accept the fact that part of the fault was mine if I had been out walking on a mean street in the dark. But lots more of the fault would be the mugger's because he has a nature that was more evil than good, and I would hope that he would die in agony missing some of his essential body parts. That's because I'm human and can be as vengeful as the next human being. I don't know where you get the idea that I side with bullies and thieves. I don't. That's why we have a house gun for protection at our house and are prepared to use it. We do feel that we are partially responsible for our own protection, but we welcome assistance, as we assist others who need it.
The basic idea I was trying to express is that each of us should take responsibility for our own safety. That's what the Latin tag 'caveat emptor' means. It translates 'let the buyer beware.' The implication is 'use your brain, for God's sake.' Any additional help from others is welcome, as long as the help doesn't impair our freedom of choice and freedom of action.
Far from this attitude being "a sad sign of what level our society has sunk to,' I would say it's a sign that our society is still more healthy than not.
The basic idea I'm trying to express is that the implication that $15 billion was "given" to them with "no strings attached" is bs. We're talking tax payer money. Yours and mine. I don't care who you are, skid row welfare case or wall street welfare case, if you come begging to me (or those who supposedly represent me) for money, I have a say as to what you do with it. Ask any responsible banker (if there are any left) and he'll tell you the same thing.
As for even the original investors who gave them the money voluntarily, the money was invested with wall street and they had the responsibility to invest it wisely. While I agree with the statement that “I’m not the guy who walked away from the house he bought but can’t afford. I’m not the guy who reneged on his debts”. No, but you (the banker) are the guy who gave that guy the money in the first place. You had a responsibility to assess the real estate market and the person's ability to pay and determine if this was a reasonable risk/reward. It didn't require a fancy pants MBA degree to know that the real estate market was not going to go to infinity.
Morgan Stanley recieved $10 billion, me thought.
But Mr. Lewis is right about the attitude the bankers should take.
They ought to tell Mudboy and his starving minstrels to take a hike.
Mudboy is trying to change the terms after the deal is done.
But then, what can anyone expect from a Muhammadan, if not double dealin'.