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.
This brings me to a pet peeve that has been increasingly irritating me as the crisis wears on: people with little or no understanding of markets confidently opining on the causes of the crisis. Funnily enough, the cause of the crisis is always exactly what they happened to be against before the crisis happened, and the solution is for the people they disagree with to be banned from polite society and exiled from the political process.
What is most infuriating is that the people who know the least are the most confident about their appraisals. Anyone with any sort of expertise in the field knows that no one understands this crisis very well. Economists all over the ideological spectrum are rethinking the lessons we thought we had learned from the Great Depression and the Japanese experience. As it unfolds, we will no doubt be seriously rethinking our model of the relationship between the financial markets and the real economy.
The problem is, ignorant people who have somehow gotten hold of one or two precious facts, and brandish those facts like a mighty Sword of Truth, are superficially convincing. They are convincing because they misunderstand the situation in, well, the way that ignorant people misunderstand it. The stories they concoct are therefore very convincing to the ignorant, except those who have an ideological predisposition to doubt their story. Those ignorant people are busy listening to some other huckster peddling financial snake oil.
No one who did not know what a CDO was before the crisis should be opining as to the causes or the possible solutions. And anyone who tells you that they understand exactly why this happened, why we got this crisis instead of the dollar crisis we were expecting, and what kind of regulations will unquestionably fix it, is definitionally too ignorant to be opening their mouth.
Please, get real here. We all know the BusHitler did it. Deliberately. So his buddies could make money. The wealthiest person I have personal contact with advises sitting pat until the new year, then get into some index funds to ride the tide back up and, if you don't mind waiting for the payback, some stocks of quality banks like Citi. Not that I have enough to really matter but I'm gonna try it this time.
How unseemly, BD! Please calm yourself. Purchases of Citibank, or whichever, will not happen until I have exhausted all $250 of disposable investment income - in the new year. Then I may consider helping you recover from you quagmire.
Stocks? Gimme a break. Get on the bandwagon! Buy 1966 Rangoon Red Mustang convertibles with 2bbl 289 V8s! They're all the rage, the bees' knees, the cat's pajamas AND his meow, just what the doctor ordered. I'll bet Warren Buffett has one. Everyone does what he does.