Monday, March 30, 2009

Quotes of the day

What general rule compels us to conserve water but not to conserve on resources devoted to education? The blunt truth is that there is no pattern, and the general rule is simply this: Only the teacher can tell you which resources should be conserved. The whole exercise is not about toothbrushing; it is about authority.--Steven Landsburg

But of course, when we tax the rich, they don't just cut back on their yachts; they also cut back on their saving and investment activity, which in the long run means that we will all be a little poorer. Life is full of tradeoffs that can not be vanquished with even extremely biting sarcasm.--Megan McArdle

The [mortgage securitization] software proved to be more sophisticated than the people who used it, and that has caused the whole world a lot of problems.--Michael Osinski

Maybe I’m old-school, but “President fires CEO” looks as wrong as “Pope fires Missile.” --James Lileks

We never should have tried to stop the bankruptcy process, which is the only path toward dealing with reality for these companies. We have a competitive, successful US automobile industry; it just doesn't happen to be unionized, or owned by the "big three," and it isn't based in Detroit.--Charles Calormis

In fact, banks have been subject to strict, risk-based capital requirements. It was these very capital requirements, which favored triple-A-rated securities, that produced the boom in the creation of structured products backed by subprime mortgages. Risk-based capital requirements were a response to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, and regulators were confident that with those requirements in place, we would not see a repeat. As we watch Mr. Geithner's plan make its way through Congress, we should be wary that it, too, will seem like the correct response to the present crisis while laying the basis for the next one.--Arnold Kling

I think that [Matt] Taibbi's basic "power play" narrative is correct. His view that the government money going to AIG is more of a bailout of Goldman Sachs than of AIG strikes me as on target. However, his implication that it is a one-way takeover of Washington by Wall Street is incorrect, in my view. I think that all along we have had a Washington/Wall Street industrial complex, particularly with regard to housing finance.--Arnold Kling

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