Monday, February 28, 2011


Oscar Picks/Results

I was 9/10 in the top 10 (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Supporting and Lead, Best Director, Best Song, Best Foreign Film, Best Screenplays, Adapted and Original)--I only missed Foreign Film. That's not bad. Of the next 14, I only got 6 right (although two of my second choices took it) for a grand total of 15/24. Not great but good enough for a free lunch, even though they tell me there's no such thing. Generally, the Oscar show pretty much sucked.

I really ought to get out and see more movies.



Bravo. You nailed the important ones. Had you done better on the other 14, I would worry about you.

Good stuff you've been writing about coaching. Are there more episodes to come?
You also missed the Documentary, where the one that seems to echo a lot of what Matt Taibbi has been saying won.
If you mean by echoed, ignored all the bad things done by government, and over emphasized the Wall Street negligence, then, yes, Inside Job was an echo of Matt Taibbi.
By "bad stuff by the government", did you mean the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer-based bailout of a corrupt and fraudulent-ridden banking system? Yeah, you're right, that is pretty bad. But I'm sure it was mentioned, too.
No, I meant by bad things the government did, the bad things which caused there to be what Taibbi calls born to lose toxic assets (I read the first 3 pages of the article as I waited for a pre-hearing this morning). Not the bad things George Bush et al. did after the financial crisis started with the bursting of the housing price balloon.
Oh, so you meant the financial deregulation that enabled the massive scale fraud to take place over the next decade? Yeah, that was bad too. I think they mentioned that as well, though.
Not deregulation, regulation, specifically the CRA. If you don't mention the Carter administration's CRA and the Clinton administration's serious press of it, you haven't begun to describe the causes of the housing bubble bursting crisis. Taibbi seems utterly oblivious, or worse, covering it up.
I think he and (I'm assuming) the documentarists didn't feel that the poor people pushed into their homes by the government had any significant impact on the billions of dollars lost when companies like AIG decided they could make a quick buck by falsifying information as they sold securities on these mortgages, or sold them as AAA rated investments to pensions, etc. The CRA also had nothing to do with the amount of fraud that went on in the housing lending market, falsifying credit scores, swindling people into volatile variable-rate mortgages, etc. The government didn't force the banks to commit fraud, they did that on their own. Matt Taibbi does mention the CRA for what it is; a scapegoat.
Are you sure AIG was selling bonds? I'm doubting that. A lot of the bad behavior (money losing) of the companies involved resulted in the demise of the companies and more would have gone away if the Govt. (under Bush) hadn't bailed some out. There is punishment other than criminal courts for too risky investment. The CRA was the single most important driving force for lending to people who before the CRA would not have qualified for a home loan. There is no quick (or slow) money to be made in lending to those who cannot repay the loan. Something other than market forces lowered the standards for loans which was the CRA, a sine qua non for the bubble burst crisis. That you and Taibbi seem to think the wall street types are the 100% wrong doers and the government pure as the driven snow (other than for deregulating and loosening the Wall Street Evil upon us) makes me think you and Taibbi are so misinformed as to not be worth listening to on the subject. It;s a beem/mote sort of thing.
You're right about AIG. I was mistaken in my previous statements that they sold the investments. What they did was sell the insurance on them--after illegally drumming up their status to AAA-rated. They also invested collateral for stock holdings back into that same volatile market, a very ponzi-esque scheme which caused their blow up when Goldman Sachs demanded all their collateral back for their stocks. Regardless..

Your assertion that the banks wouldn't have done this if not for the government's pressure from the CRA is absolutely wrong. A report found that only a quarter of the sub prime mortgages made during the bubble fell under the CRA. And not only that, those tended to do better than the non-CRA ones. But that means 75% of what happened during that time wasn't because of the CRA. The banks did it anyway, because there were ridiculous short term profits to be made, not because the government made them. And most of the predatory lending practices happened within that 75%, also a bad thing. So this idea that the banks were just making lemonade from lemons is wrong, and they're accountable. Any reforms to be made in the future need to start there.
oh, and backup for my claims:
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?