04 May 2012

Ritholtz: An Uncompromised View of Contemporary American Politics and Economics

The excerpts from this interview are to the point, and it is a rather sharp point at that.

I somehow missed them the first time around, probably due to a family illness, but someone sent this extended set of excerpts from the two interviews that Jonathan Miller did with Barry Ritholtz.

To say that Barry Ritholtz 'pulls no punches' is like saying that Joe Louis had a nice right cross.

Its a good read for a Non-Farm Payrolls Friday. Forgive me if you have already seen it.


"I have libertarian friends who are always bitching about government. I always say to them, when a dog bites you in the ass... that's what dogs do - don't blame the dog. Look up the leash and see who is holding the handle. When you look at Congress - Congress is the snapping dog.

But they are somebody's bitch. You have to see who is holding the leash. Very often it is banks and Wall Street and the financial sector having Congress do its bidding. Most of the things that got us into trouble have been done at the bequest of the banks...

I don't want to say Congress are whores, that go to these corporate executives with knee pads and lip-gloss. Congress is corrupt. Politicians in both parties are worthless...They don't even hide how corrupt they are anymore. It just came out that one of the new guys had sent out a note to CFO's asking them what legislation they would like to see changed. They will do anything for any kind of campaign contribution... (Not coincidentally most politicians are also lawyers - Jesse)

To me, if you give up your virtue for money, you are a prostitute. Credit rating agencies are prostitutes...

There is no such thing as rogue traders. There are only rogue banks. If you are that grossly negligent that you have to be rescued by the government, then I guarantee you they are doing lots of other things wrong. If you have an entity that messed up so badly that it can't survive... how are you going to go out and run a marathon? Jamie Dimon is the next CEO who needs a humbling...

Putting Rubin, Summers and Geithner in power was the tragedy of the Obama administration. Obama and Bush were both given an opportunity to be transformational - a Churchill, a Roosevelt. Obama's problem was that he sought out the biggest asshole in America - Robert Rubin... (Note, he later recants and nominates Larry Summers - Jesse)

Greenspan has to go down in history as the worst Fed Chairman... (He has my vote - Jesse)

I look at bankers like 5 year olds - if you give a 5 year old a bowl of chocolate bars and say they can have one... As soon as you leave the room they will eat until they are sick. Bankers are no different. As soon as you say, 'You're a big boy... we trust you not to blow up the economy and send the world to the precipice...' They are so short-term focused, they will do whatever is necessary to get that bonus, and then will let the world go to hell and let it be someone else's problem. (History of the World, Part 3 - Jesse)

The whole run-up from 2003-2007 was make-believe, (Ponzi scheme, control fraud, take your pick - Jesse) based on risk not mattering. If risk doesn't matter, you mash your foot to the carpet and let the speedometer go up to 250. When the driver hits the wall he kills himself. The difference is the driver kills himself, but the bankers take everyone with them."

Jonathan Miller, Interview with Barry Ritholtz

The first decade of this century is founded on official corruption, control frauds, the madness of a people incited by the propaganda of fear and ideology, leverage, and the conscious mispricing of risk.  Everything else is commentary.