Every pundit on Earth is playing the game of picking the various bailouts apart and proposing their own improved bailout schemes. But I think that most of the conversations going on out there miss a critical point: that this bailout and the ones that will in all likelihood follow it fail to address the root cause of the problems.
That root cause, in my opinion, is that the vast majority of political leaders, regulators, and pundits zealously cling to a deeply flawed analytical framework.
To put it more simply: the people and principles that blithely led us into this mess are absolutely the wrong people and principles to lead us out of it.
The problems we are facing have been coming down the pike for a long time. Many, many people saw them coming. Here at VoiceofSanDiego.org, I wrote about the risks posed by credit default swaps (one of the latest credit crisis bogeymen) in January 2007 and collateralized debt obligations (which were at the heart of the subprime crisis) in June of that year. I wrote about the possibility of widespread mortgage defaults as far back as February of 2006 (my second month of writing for Voice) and I have been writing about the risks of the speculative housing bubble at my own website since mid-2004.
I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but to offer specific examples that these problems were knowable well ahead of time. (This is a necessity, sadly, given the constant historical revisionism practiced by many financial commentators). But it wasn’t just me — a few minutes of Googling will show that many, many analysts identified these problems ahead of time.
So if the problems were knowable to so many people — including me, a regular guy here in San Diego with no letters behind his name or anything — then how is it that the people in charge of running the world’s largest economy were absolutely blindsided by them?