Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Monday, September 29, 2008

  The shell game

The full text of the Wall Street Enrichment Act has been published. Read the comments... It's no longer a "bailout bill" but a "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act", which I suppose will play better in Peoria.

In the process of being blessed by congress, the 3 page Paulson plan got expanded to 110 pages of legalese...

I'd have had more venom in this blog this past week if the news sites I read didn't have open comments systems, where ordinary people get to say exactly what they think, uncensored, eloquently and in real time.

The online comments are running 99% massively pissed off.


I pity anyone that reads the popular press on old fashioned newsprint. This bill will pass before a single letter to the editor reviewing it will make a physical paper, and undoubtably be balanced by the editors with a contrasting opinion.

Me, I got as far as the 6th page of the bill before I blew a gasket and had to take a nap.See the pea in this shell game? You screw up, form a new shell company, do M&A on a fire sale purchase, and the next day get a bailout from your cronies in the government... more or less what just happened with WaMu....

The bill and popular press are conflating the terms "asset" and "debt". While in bank-ese a "debt" may be an "asset", in the real world, debt is debt. What this is all about is issuing more government debt to buy up private debt that is theoretically backed by assets of declining value, in the hope that the government (the people with guns and tanks) can make the debt pay at something closer to its original value.

On to page 7, if my heart can stand it...

update: Some good jokes. I particularly liked the ones about the bell-ringer and balloonist. The parrot in the freezer joke seemed appropriate as well.

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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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