Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

An argument against the bailout

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Ari J. Officer has completed his master of science degree in financial mathematics at Stanford University, and Lawrence H. Officer is a professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The two have written an argument against the bailout in TIME. It begins:

The Administration and Congress have felt compelled to do something about the “financial meltdown,” so an inefficient and inequitable “bailout plan” has been rushed through the legislature despite harsh criticism from the right and left. That’s unfortunate. Both presidential candidates were stalling by qualifying the plan. Whichever candidate had had the courage to reject outright this proposal would have had the better claim to be President.

Do not be fooled. The $700 billion (ultimately $1 trillion or more) bailout is not predominantly for mortgages and homeowners. Instead, the bailout is for mortgage-backed securities. In fact, some versions of these instruments are imaginary derivatives. These claims overlap on the same types of mortgages. Many financial institutions wrote claims over the same mortgages, and these are the majority of claims that have “gone bad.”

At this point, such claims have no bearing on the mortgage or housing crisis; they have bearing only on the holders of these securities themselves. These are ridiculously risky claims with little value for society. It is as if many financial institutions sold “earthquake insurance” on the same house: when the quake hits, all these claims become close to worthless — but the claims are simply bets disconnected from reality.

Follow the money. …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

30 September 2008 at 2:05 pm

Posted in Business, Government

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