September 29, 2008

Best Perspective I've seen on the "Bailout"

I'm not the economic guru so I've been wading through a bunch of sensationalized reports about everything going in the tank and how Congress needs to step up now to save us. I've been very skeptical about the whole 'bailout' plan but realize something needs to get done.

Here is the most level-headed, non-partisan analysis I've seen about the finance meltdown with some good ideas about dealing with it.

So, really, a lot of it comes down to how well such a government fund is managed -- and right now that's a huge open question. If it's managed well, by folks who actually have the ability to get a pretty good read on the likely real value of these distressed assets -- then the splurge plan could work wonders. But how often do you see the government do anything right -- especially when it comes to managing money? So, while, in theory, I don't have a problem with the government entering the market as a buyer, you have to worry significantly about the fact that it's the government, and they're prone to screwing things up badly -- especially once politicians get involved. Once you have people trying to get elected on a regular basis messing around with the decision making, you know things are going to get bad fast.
Honestly I think we need this bailout, but in incremental steps and with an oversight committee who knows what they're doing.  I'm thinking an actual group of economists, and being in Chicago I've gotten some great input from some of the most awarded financial guys on the planet at the U of Chicago.  And here are Robert Shimer's (University of Chicago) thoughts in an email to Greg Mankiw (Harvard University).  The wheels have been churning lately at the U of Chicago's world renowned Department of Economics (and with 6 Nobel laureautes in the economic sciences currently on faculty you'd expect it) and the news has been diverse, interesting, and way over my head.  I wish I understood more, but all I know is that it's bad news for me once I get out of school, good thing I'll be in medical training for the next 15 years!

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