Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The Bail-out Bill
Seems more and more like a bad idea, the more I think about it. Now, I will be the first to admit that I am most pleased when the government is unable to accomplish anything--mainly because it means they are not screwing anything up. Try to hear me out, though.
If I understand the situation correctly, some large investment banks have made some bad loans. To the tune of billions of dollars. As a result, they are unable to back the apparent worth
of their companies with a representative ammount of cash (this insufficient liquidity we keep hearing about). Now, as a result of this, our government has begun buying, forcing the sale of, and creating loans on the equity of these businesses. With out tax dollars.
I believe the argument of the proponents of the bail-out to
be that if we do nothing, the resultant market crash will imperil millions of jobs and ruin the economy. They cite the dramatic decline in the stock market index as evidence. Hillary Clinton, world genious of finance, has even said, gravely, that "It sounds dire but there is a risk that commerce could grind to a halt."
Here is what I think: They are proposing that we spend 700 billion of our tax dollars to continue to bail out these failing companies to prevent a possible economic decline. This is going to private business, to prop up a failing business model. Tell me, is this the American way of doing business? My business is failing, the government will bail me out? Or should these banks fail, and those banks that haven't made crappy decisions succeed in their places?
Often you will hear it said that it will be hard to get credit. That no one will loan money to those seeking mortgages, or to expand businesses. At this, I throw the BS flag. Balderdash--15 yards, first down. Someone will always lend money, as long as its profitable to them. IF YOU HAVE GOOD CREDIT.
See, that's the key... I know this may come as a shock to some of you investment bankers, but if a hypothetical buddy of mine, who I knew wasn't making his car payments, or had his electricity turned off last month for not paying his bill asked me for 5 bucks, to be payed back next Wednesday, I would tell him not a chance in hell. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But its not too far off from giving variable rate or interest only loans to people not making enough money to really afford their own home.
Oops! Did I just say that you should "underserve" lower income families in your lending practices? (which is double speak for lend money to po' folk who can't afford to pay you back--but they are so deserving!) I guess I did. You know why? Its good business.
So, to recap, I need to pay tax money to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars, to save a couple of companies that didn't have the sense to not lend money to bad risks.
I say, let them fail! The economic shock, while regrettable to those counting on the stock market investments to allow them to retire this year, will be less in the long run than the lingering malaise that the increased taxes that will be needed to pay for the bailout will cause. Besides, any investment is a risk. Remember "past gains are no guarantee of future performance"? That wasn't on the bottom of your prospectus because they needed something for their legal department to do.
But the stock market index is down! So? Did the companies that actually produce products stop producing products? Those companies have intrinsic value, and will continue to have value next week. Their stock prices will drop, then regain ground.
Will companies be unable to borrow to allow them to expand? Definatley those unlikely to be able to pay back their debtors. But most companies will likely be able to borrow. Keep in mind that everyone looks at the economy and its growth and thinks that it can grow indefinately at the same rate. This is not a very realistic idea. At some point all economies decline, flatten, or grow.
Hugo Chavez, who has a hard time feeding his people, is crying that this shows the weakness of the Capitalist system, and is indicative of America's decline. I think that if we keep bailing out these failing banks, we may just make him right.
At least about our decline. The bailouts are much more the nationalization and the creation of government sponsored monopolies--which seems much more in line with Karl Marx than the free enterprise dreams of the great American Capitalists.
Now, Barrack Hussein Obama is telling us we need to support the bail-outs. I think this is crap. Besides, he is no expert on international finance. No more than I am! And if we go on experience, I had more experience with more important matters on a day-to-day basis in my 20's than a community organizer gets in a lifetime.
Remember, we're expecting the same people who can't correct pot-holes in our rounds correctly, and in a timely manner, to fix the economy. Just let "nature" take its course: the bad business will fail, the sound ones will succeed them, and the economy will correct itself. It always does, because we Americans keep earning money, creating wealth, and buying more stuff.
These bail-outs are just bad business.