Monday, March 23, 2009


GOD. Have you heard about this Private-Public Investment Thingie Tim Geithner proposed today? Let's just say that had Barry waited to go on Leno until tonight, he could have compared his bowling to this instead. Basically the government asks private investors what they think a certain charmingly-retitled "legacy asset" (why not "albatross," instead?) is worth, and then they give whoever says it's worth the most 97-100% of the money to buy it, sometimes in the form of government debt (for mortgages and stuff, as opposed to the more complicated securities which you and I will be paying for in cash.)

The thing that irks me here is, right: this crash was mostly caused by everybody pretending things cost more than they did. This program, by getting private investors to buy stuff on the company dime, completely incentivizes PRETENDING THINGS COST MORE THAN THEY DO. Listen: I have a bag of shit. You have a bag of shit. The government arrives, and says that if I buy your bag of shit, they'll give me $10 to do so. Same goes for you. Even a Special Olympian could tell you that you and I will both be $10 richer, but will still both be holding bags of shit at the end of the day.

(HT Dealbreaker inter alios.)

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