September 23, 2008

Rewriting history, with Kevin Hassett

Bloomberg is carrying some rather odious commentary from Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, the right wing institute which provides little in the way of real information and research but is LONG on commentary.

According to Kevin, this is all the fault of the Democrats because they wouldn't reform Fannie and Freddie. What Kevin doesn't point out is that the bill in question would have so severely curtailed Fannie and Freddie that it would have eliminated them as real competitors and an effective counterbalance to the banks. Kevin claims, stupidly, that the failure of Bear Stearns was caused by... Fannie Mae.

30 to 1 leverage in a CDO of CDO's had NOTHING to do with it, right Kev? Neither did Bear's never ending hunger for riskier and riskier sub-prime garbage that was priced inadequately for the inherent risk, I'm sure. Of course, I understand how you can make mistakes, Kev. After all, it's easy when you ignore reality.

Kevin also points out that FNMA is holding $388 bn in sub-prime and Alt A credits. That's true. Considering that at the height Wall Street was issuing $600-700 bn PER YEAR in sub-prime issues, it kinda dwarfs Fannie Mae's holdings. I'd also like to know just who issued those sub-prime credits on Fannie's books. I'd be willing to bet some of them show Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Credit Suisse as the vintners.

Of course, Kevin leaves all that out and points out his own ignorance of structured finance and the house cards by alluding that AIG was also collapsed (as if by magic) by Fannie Mae. AIG is even easier than Bear... they wrote too much insurance, too cheaply and when the call came for more collateral from counterparties, they couldn't sell assets fast enough... because they were carrying some the same assets they were insuring against default.

Brill business strategy, especially for an insurer.

Of course, Kevin can be excused for not knowing any of this. He is, after all, a political moron and (again) completely ignorant of finance. His only real work experience in business is at the AEI and as a McSame campaign adviser. Which puts him right up there with other economic luminaries like Carly Fiorina and the crew of lobbyists that McSame calls his close friends and advisers.

Posted by mcblogger at September 23, 2008 10:26 AM

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