Name That System!!

There was an article on the front page of Monday’s WSJ about AIG being able to undercut competitors by as much as 30% due to the government backing it’s receiving.

Some of AIG’s competitors met with Chairman Bernanke on Sunday to voice their complaints about the unfair advantage and unintended consequence AIG is the beneficiary of, as a direct result of it’s atrocious stewardship of the funds it was entrusted with.

There’s also been a lot of banter going around about what our economic system is evolving into, from capitalism to socialism to (yikes) communism to some bastard child of them all.

I’ve heard from some brilliant and clever minds who have suggested the following monikers and descriptives:

Enactmint (spelling intentional): pass laws and print money.

Survival of the witless: requires no explanation

Adverse selection: an economic term that refers to a situation where sellers have information that buyers don’t (or vice versa) about some aspect of product quality.

Unnatural selection, in which mediocrity is the key to survival. Not dissimilar to survival of the witless, above.

Additional entries are welcome. Leave them as comments. Winner receives a LooseKannon t-shirt, as it’s not clear that there’s any greater incentive these days than that.

Kannon Returns Fire: The Times It Is A’ Changin’

Reference is made to the Kannon Fodder piece beneath this posting:

It pains me to write this. It really does. I have good friends writing for The New York York Times. I think the Times deserves to be at the front of the line, ahead of the likes of AIG or Bear Stearns, if government money is required to preserve an institution of value. As it stands right now some rich fella named Slim is bailing them out. No joke.

However, the lack of anything more than pedestrian insight and lack of any value added by their editorial regarding the obvious misuse and abuse of TARP funds and the pain inflicted on tens of millions of Americans by the greed chain (from real estate brokers to white shoe bankers) is beyond disappointing.

It’s downright discouraging. Especially as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times continue to publish insightful editorials and op-eds on the crisis.

Wake Up Or Die In Your Sleep

You may have read with disgust any or all of the following items, as well as others like them:

1. From the WSJ: “The U.S. government unveiled a plan to scrap its $123 billion bailout of American International Group and replace it with a new package worth around $150 billion.”

2. Michael Alix, the chief risk officer of Bear Stearns from 2006-2008 and their global head of credit risk management from 1996-2006, has been named a senior vice president in the Bank Supervision Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This the the same Bear Stearns whose abuse of risk caused its demise as a free standing entity.

3. Hank Paulson, the fox who, as head of Goldman Sachs, petitioned for the increased leverage that turns out to have decimated the global economy, is now in the hen house attempting to restore order.

This is what happens when John and Jane Q. Public abdicate responsibility for the actions of their government, preferring to play ostrich rather than pay attention. We are the the cats who were away and let the rodents play. And this is just the economic realm. Don’t get me started on foreign policy.

I can’t stress enough the need for what these days passes for an extreme level of vigilance, but is in fact nothing more than minding our collective store, which is currently teetering on the edge of a national Chaper 11.