Economic Enemy #1

By: The Mogambo Guru | Mon, Aug 27, 2007
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"Alan Greenspan is guilty, guilty, guilty of letting the banks create all that excess money and credit, which distorted the hell out of the mal-invested economy and caused crippling inflation in the prices of everything..."

You would not know that neither Alan Greenspan nor the stinking banks were responsible for anything from reading Thomas Donlan in Barron's, who writes, "Whom shall we blame for the so-called credit crunch?"

I leap to my feet and shout, "Alan Greenspan and the banks! Alan Greenspan is guilty, guilty, guilty of letting the banks create all that excess money and credit, which distorted the hell out of the mal-invested economy and caused crippling inflation in the prices of everything, and we should track this moron down and do terrible things to him as a warning to his idiotic successor, Ben Bernanke! And if you need a volunteer to slap Alan Greenspan's nasty, stupid little face, I'm just the guy you're looking for, as I will happily slap, slap, slap him over and over and over until I am exhausted and have to get a few tacos and some pitchers of margaritas to refresh myself!"

Mr. Donlan is predictably horrified at my viciousness and dietary choices, but is also apparently reluctantly impressed with my ready response, and says, "Not in any order we blame: Alan Greenspan and George Bush." A delighted look comes across my face, as I remark, "Kudos on the Alan Greenspan as your Number One guilty party! Bravo!"

Naturally, I queried, "But George Bush? Why George Bush?" and he answers that Bush "pounded tax cuts and allowed the Republican Congress to boost spending as if they were Democrats."

I again leap to my feet and shout, "So what? Who the hell cares what he or anybody wants? What matters is that if Greenspan and the Fed had not increased the money supply by making all that excess money and credit available, for all those years, which allowed the Congress to deficit-spend to such a flabbergasting degree, neither Bush nor Congress would have been able to spend so much as a stinking dime without raising taxes, destroying the economy and then getting voted out of office, if not lynched by outraged voters. So it's back to Alan Greenspan alone!"

With a smug smile on my face I sit back down and note that Mr. Donlan doesn't try to defend himself in response to my powerful, withering attack, or even care, as far as I could tell, but I could sense a certain, ummmm, hostility in his voice when he went on to suggest some other villains, namely, "Bill Clinton and his housing promoters at the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo."

Again I leap to my feet with the surprising alacrity of a genuine self-righteous zealot, and again I scream out, "Wrong again! If the damned Alan Greenspan had not provided the funding for all of that crap with the creation of all of that excess money and credit, they would not have been able to 'accomplish' anything! And what did they 'accomplish', anyway? A monumentally corrupt bureaucratic megalith, staggering inflation in the price of housing and the bankruptcy of this subprime mortgage fiasco! So it's back to Alan Greenspan again!"

Then Mr. Donlan incriminated William Fair and Earl Isaacs, who used their credit analysis company to turn "credit from a character judgment into a commodity," which in turn allowed Standard & Poor's and Moody's rating services to believe in "financial alchemy", too, that led them to "believe that over-collateralization could trump high leverage and poor quality in a package of loans." Good analysis! Exactly right! Well done!

It is interesting that he obliquely mentioned the quality of S&P, as the Wall Street Journal reported that "In 2000, Standard & Poor's said a type of mortgage that involves a 'piggyback,' where borrowers simultaneously take out a second loan for the down payment, was no more likely to default than a standard mortgage." Hahahaha!

"While its pronouncement went unnoticed outside the mortgage world, piggybacks soon were part of a movement that transformed America's home-loan industry: a boom in 'subprime' mortgages taken out by buyers with weak credit."

The result? Just what you'd expect; "Six years later, S&P reversed its view of loans with piggybacks. It said they actually were far more likely to default." Well, duh! Hahaha! Morons!

It gets worse, as the article goes on to say, "By then, however, they and other newfangled loans were key parts of a massive $1.1 trillion subprime-mortgage market." Hahahaha! I'm laughing my guts out! Then they say, "Today that market is a mess." Hahahahahaha! Stop! Stop making me laugh! I'm dying here! Hahahahaha!

I try to sober up and act my age, which is made easier when I realize that it is going to get much worse, as notes, "According to one estimate, nearly 60 per cent of the $2.3 trillion of mortgages taken out in the US since 2004 will be reset to monthly payments at least 25 per cent higher." Now I'm REALLY freaking out, and I don't even have a mortgage! I can only imagine the horror of facing a mortgage payment 25% higher than what I am paying now!

Mr. Donlan's patience is obviously wearing thin with my crude interruptions, but like a true professional, he continues on and says, "There's also room to blame predatory lenders and their phony appraisers and brokers", which is also true. Very, very true.

Notice that he has still not mentioned, even in passing, the diseased, sprawling government regulatory apparatus that was there for the very purpose of preventing this kind of stupid crap, but instead astonishingly says, "the greatest blame attaches to people who borrowed imprudently, and who" and he stops and looks at me "should have known better." Blaming the victim! Hahaha!

So the financial assets of Mom and Pop America were decimated in the market collapse in 2000, then everybody lied to the people who were desperate to "catch up" and cover their losses to use housing to become desperate borrowers, and were encouraged to borrow, for whom it was made it easy to borrow, for whom interest rates were slashed to squat so that they could borrow, for whom were eliminated any qualifications on creditworthiness so they could borrow, and so they borrowed to spend and invest in the riskiest investments they could find in their desperation, now Mr. Donlan thinks they "should have known better" than to borrow?

Now you see the ethics of the media, which explains why nobody ever heard that any of this stuff was coming.

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The Mogambo Guru

Author: The Mogambo Guru

Richard Daughty, the angriest guy in economics
The Mogambo Guru

The Mogambo Guru

Richard Daughty (Mogambo Guru) is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the writer/publisher of the Mogambo Guru economic newsletter, an avocational exercise to better heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it. The Mogambo Guru is quoted frequently in Barron's, The Daily Reckoning, and other fine publications.

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