March 17, 2008

Megan McArdle

. . . on the Bear Stearns bailout:

There's an argument, of course, that successive Fed interventions, starting with the Russian bond crisis, have turned bankers into ever-greater risk takers, making each crisis bigger and more expensive than the last. The thinking goes that we need to draw the line here, whatever the cost, because if we let the financiers go on their merry way, eventually they'll create a wave that will swamp the Fed's power to intervene. Possibly so, but from what I hear, the people on Wall Street are pretty much scared right down to the tips of their Gordon Gekko underoos.

In some sense, right now it's the Fed's job to manage that fear--to scare them enough to ratchet back their risk profile, without scaring them so badly that they hunker down inside their weekend house and refuse to buy or sell anything. That's very tricky, and since in the long run we'll all be dead, I'd rather the Fed err slightly on the side of cheering them up. Perhaps Helicopter Ben should start pumping anti-depressants into the Wall Street water supply.

Or we could simply provide each Wall Street trader with the stuffed animal of his or her choice.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 17, 2008 04:19 AM | TrackBack

from what I hear, the people on Wall Street are pretty much scared right down to the tips of their Gordon Gekko underoos.

And rightly so.

This fear hasn't quite made it's way into the general population yet. Perhaps we should send Darrell to Wall Street with a couple crates of Norman Vincent Peale books.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 07:03 AM

Ahem . . . everyone has to play footsie with the boundaries, huh?

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 17, 2008 07:21 AM

Skating the edge of the abyss, yep. That's a hobby of mine.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 07:57 AM

Trust the MSM, go with the flow, and you'll always buy high and always sell low.

Posted by: Darrell at March 17, 2008 09:23 AM

Hey I agree that there are going to be some *fantastic* buy opportunities coming up in the next 24-36 months. In the mean time, any dead cat bounces will make good opportunities to ditch the last of any dollar-denominated equities you might be holding. In fact, getting into commodities about 6 months to a year ago (when I first started making nervous noises) would already have paid off handsomely.

The time to start buying again may be about a year into the next administration when everyone is wringing their hands over what a horrendous mess the *previous* administration left. But I don't expect real estate to recover for at least 3-5 years. There's still a lot of downside yet to wash out of that market. And I'm running myself ragged trying to get my houses ready to put on the market. So far Tucson has not suffered the same deep losses as elsewhere, but I'm not counting it out before the end. Again, there will be bargains to be had later.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 05:05 PM

Not to dissuade you Darrell, mind you. We need people like you to be buyers in the market at this time. Trust me, we desperately do.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 05:06 PM

I've got a nice little 2 bedroom bungalow going on the market at the end of the month. Recently updated, located in a neighborhood with a lot of renovations and new infill construction. Great starter home, or investment property. $140k. E-mail me for details.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 05:10 PM

Torture me, why don't you, DC? You know I'd rather be buying than selling right now. ;)

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 17, 2008 07:12 PM

The world market is making an adjustment based on the prospect of a real Socialist sitting in the White House come January 2009. This is only a start. Their mouths say "It's about time!" Their eyes and heart say "Oh shit! What are we going to do now?"
I wouldn't be surprised if McCain starts seeing campaign contributions with lots of funny looking stamps on the envelopes.

Posted by: Darrell at March 17, 2008 08:16 PM

Not in California you wouldn't. You're doing the right thing by going rental for now.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 17, 2008 09:41 PM

Actually, we are going to get a little condo, but the net effect is to divest somewhat from the R.E. market.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 17, 2008 09:47 PM

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