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Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Scrooge McDuck Big Bailout Blast

Everybody remembers Donald Duck's miserly uncle Scrooge McDuck and his gigantic vaults with swimming pools filled with cash and jewels. Uncle Scrooge loved to put on his trunks and dive in and swim among the Gold Double Eagles and Franklins. That's what billionaires like. Unfortunately the modern Scrooges have turned their cash into high interest junk bonds, derivatives, naked shorts and sub prime paper on wildly over valued real estate. Suddenly those vaults are full of documents with the value of yesterday's newspapers, and we are going to refill them with real money again so they can get back to their play time.

Now some treasonous liberals are suggesting that there may be a better way to get out of this mess, and at least have a chance to get some of the vast fortune back. Not all, but some.  Paul Krugman wrote in the NYT that we must get a piece of the companies we are bailing out and Warren Buffet showed us how to get value for our dollars. He bought a huge chunk of Goldman Sachs preferred stock and warrants for five billion dollars. If the commercial bank can hold on he stands to make a healthy dividend every year. If Goldman Sachs  prospers he can convert his warrants and make more money than The Pope.

Any economist will tell you that the trouble we are going to have is pricing the questionable securities. Six trillion dollars worth of "toxic paper" dumped on the market in a panic really would be monumentally stupid, netting no value and crushing the economies of the industrial world. This is the libertarian solution. Ruinous, but ideologically pure. Running the risk of being called "Socialist" we could demand a controlling piece of any bank or brokerage wanting our cash. With the calming hand of the SEC on the tillers of the failed institutions we could liquidate using the expertise of the banks' employees and move back into a regulatory roll  in a decade or so.

A good career choice for an up and coming grad would be economics or accounting. There will be plenty of work in the next twenty years sorting this mess out.

1 comment:

Mona Albano said...

Sounds good to me. Why shouldn't the bailers-out have a piece of what they bought?

I'll bet there are jobs in forensic accounting, too.