Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Quotes of the day

The real irony here is that a lot of [Chrysler's] secured creditors are institutional investors, including pension funds and mutual funds held by American workers, who are getting screwed on their retirement so that the UAW can save as much of the gold-plating on its contracts as possible.--Stephen Bainbridge

The [hedge fund] managers have a fiduciary obligation to look after their clients’ money as best they can, not to support the President, nor to oppose him, nor otherwise advance their personal political views. That’s how the system works. If you hired an investment professional and he could preserve more of your money in a financial disaster, but instead he decided to spend it on the UAW so you could “share in the sacrifice”, you would not be happy.--Cliff Asness

I mean, the bondholders want a secure bond. If I have a first mortgage on my house here, and the first mortgage is for half of what the house is worth, and somebody says I want you to take a big haircut because I’ve got credit card debt someplace else, that’s got problems. It has problems in terms of future lending. I mean, if priorities don’t mean anything that’s going to disrupt lending practices in the future. On the other hand, to have a few people standing in the way of something that has, ah, so much importance to the whole country, I can see why people on the other side are very upset. But giving up priorities in lending, abandoning that principle, would have a whole lot of consequences. ... If we want to encourage lending in this country, we don’t want to say to somebody who lends and gets a secured position that that secured position doesn’t mean anything.--Warren Buffett

I think they’re just trying to make it past 2012.--Glenn Reynolds

Apparently the Obama administration's policy is to release photos only when doing so might pose a danger to national security.--James Taranto

Buffett is a towering figure, perhaps the greatest investor in American history. But he's not a god, and for all his good sense he's not omniscient. As Andrew Ross Sorkin mentioned in passing in Tuesday's New York Times, Buffett manages to play the kind of complex, risky, tax-advantaged, derivatives-laced game that he warns everyone else against. And the sense, conveyed by Sorkin who got to question the great man and his wisecracking sidekick Munger, that if we only pursued Buffett's "simple" verities we'd all be better off, is a snare and a delusion. ... If you want to keep it simple, index. If you want a homespun morality, find a church or synagogue.--Robert Teitelman

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