Thursday, February 26, 2009

Good on Ya, Ticker Guy

Some of the best reporting and analysis about the credit crunch and stock market crash has been produced by Karl Denninger. Denninger is NOT a financial reporter. He is a businessman and investor who made his pile in the Nineties. Sometime in 2007, he began writing about bank exposure to subprime loans, and hasn't stopped. His tone can sometimes be heated and, back in October, it grew quite apocalyptic. Still, he is one of the few people following these events who has been able to understand what is happening and why the efforts of our government have been useless to stop the crisis.  

Denninger has now been awarded Accuracy In Media's Reed Irvine Award for Grassroots Journalism. His remarks at the awards dinner are worth reading and pondering

Private capital has fled our nation’s markets not only because of loss, but because of fraud, corruption and the willful blindness of our legislators and regulators.  That capital, contrary to popular understanding, forms the foundation of our credit markets; fully 2/3rds of all lent and invested capital does not come from banks, but rather from private investors and sovereign funds.  Our stock market has collapsed not because of economic recession but because that capital has retreated overseas or into the mattress where it cannot be stolen by those on Wall Street through their willing and complicit enablers in Washington DC.

Without that capital available to fund our economy, which government is incapable of replacing, we will experience a depression greater than the 1930s.

He has pointed words for those claiming the mantle of conservatism: 

Does not conservatism rest on the principle of the rule of law rather than the rule of man?  Do conservatives not argue daily for truth, justice, hard work and, as Ronald Reagan said, “rugged individualism”?  Is not the conservative movement supposed to be about full transparency in both government and finance, not layer upon layer of intentional obfuscation, deception and lies?

How did half of our nation’s population – the half that defines itself as conservative or moderate with conservative leanings – come to believe that it was ok to lie on a mortgage application?  To put together thousands of loans into securities that were so complex that the printed documentation spanned thousands of pages?  To sell a mortgage to a consumer knowing full well they could not pay.  To sell a security out the front door to a customer, while shorting it in the next room?

Good questions all. 

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