March 5, 2009

Panic Mongering or Incompetence?

I increasingly see annualized numbers reported as monthly or quarterly ones. David Gergen at AC360:
Last Friday, we learned that the economy contracted in the 4th quarter by over 6 percent.
During the evening of March 3, I submitted a correction that the rate was annualized. No correction has been made.

Layers and layers of editors and fact checkers...

Laura Rowley, a Yahoo "financial columnist", writes:
...If I take out a mortgage whose terms I don't understand, and my home value doesn't rise as I expected, then that's my responsibility. If I buy mortgages or other debt, bundle, securitize, and sell them, and fail to properly assess their risk (or lose the paperwork), that's my responsibility and my institution's responsibility.

And if I issue credit default swaps to insure collateralized debt obligations and never actually had the collateral to back them up, that's not only my responsibility -- it's fraud, and I should be arrested for a crime.
The text moves from sensible to deranged. Let's see: if all of a bank's loans are not paid back and the bank goes under, is that fraud? If the Yellowstone Caldera erupts and wrecks half the country, is that fraud on the part of the insurance industry? Is a bank supposed to hold a dollar in cash for every dollar it loans? Should an insurance company keep the cash value of all its outstanding premiums?

Reader rating on the article is 4.5/5.0.

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