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The more things change…

economists in days of yore

I have no fucking idea how deep a hole we’re in or how to fix it (which means that one blogger who is being totally honest with you today is a weasel).

I do know this: the regular capitalist cycles of boom and bust correspond — not coincidentally — with each new generation of wet-behind-the-ears smarty-pantses in the financial sector. “The market is going up! We’re geniuses! And it’s going to last forever!

And then they all get hit by a bus and die. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

The UK Labour Party actually declared — more than once — that they had vanquished the market cycle, and there would be no more boom and bust. No shit. Uncle B always tells me that story when I’m in a god American are politicians morons sort of funk. And then we laugh and laugh.

Me, I’m an optimist. I think the American economy is still incredibly resiliant, despite everything, and will rebound (relatively) quickly. Uncle B is a pessimist, and is less sure of that. I’m just posting this so that, a year from now, one of us can point at the other and laugh rudely.

I understand really successful relationships are based on this kind of give and take.

Did y’all see this on The Corner? Not a joke. This was Washington Mutual’s very last press release before it sank beneath the waves:

WaMu Recognized as Top Diverse Employer—Again

Company ranks in top ten of Hispanic Business’ Diversity Elite and earns perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index


No comment.


Comment from baxtrice
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:28 am

Miss Weasel, I’m a longtime reader and sometimes commenter. Mostly Lurker. Anyways, as a longtime WaMu customer (or was..??), I have to say that last press release pretty much gives me a good laugh, because that’s all we can do at this point. Laugh and have a smoke. 🙂

Comment from apotheosis
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:29 am

Gosh, I’ll miss those WaMu commercials…you know, the ones where the young, hip, casually-dressed person of color representing WaMu always beclowned the monochromatic pack of fat, business-suited, bespectacled old honkies representing all the OTHER banks.

Comment from paranoidpyro
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:38 am

Well, at least while their banking policies were driving the company into oblivion, they made sure they met their racial quotas. I mean, it’s always important to have the right priorities in place, right?

Oh, and the next eclipse will mean a recession or something, right?

Comment from Scott
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:51 am


Well played, ad server… Well played indeed…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:55 am

Heh. I hadn’t even thought about those “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen” commercials until some snarky column I read recently pointed out that they went belly up in the last crash in ’87. (I should’ve known that. It was their Providence branch that got popped for laundering money for the Patriarca crime family).

Point is, these guys come and go regularly. I looked up with Wikipedia article on E.F. Hutton, and it ends with this (with some bits cut out): Hutton merged with Shearson Lehman Brothers, renamed Shearson Lehman Hutton, Inc. American Express sold its brokerage and asset management business—the Shearson and Hutton parts of Shearson Lehman Hutton—to Primerica. Primerica merged them with Smith Barney to form Smith Barney Shearson, later shortened to Smith Barney. As a result of several mergers over the rest of the decade, the remains of E.F. Hutton are now part of Citigroup.

Goes without saying, somebody always buys up our loans and we go on making our mortgage payments without a hitch. It’s on the borrowing end this stuff will bite us in the ass.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:57 am

Too funny, Scott. Hey, the ad server correctly identified the topic, didn’t it?

Comment from jwpaine
Time: September 26, 2008, 11:59 am

Guess it’d be too much to ask for if WaMu misplaced all the paperwork on my mortgage during these difficult times…..

Comment from porknbean
Time: September 26, 2008, 12:13 pm

It’s on the borrowing end this stuff will bite us in the ass.

The borrowing end should be tightened up. This whole mess started rotting at the head but a lot of borrowers are just as much to blame.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 26, 2008, 12:13 pm

Do you know, in the middle of this, my mortgage company called and offered me an equity line of credit? (Wait, did I mention that already?) I thought it was interesting. They know I have plenty of equity and they’re probably really hurting for business.

Also, the dude who made the offer on my house got pre-approved pretty much overnight, and I know he’s a blue collar guy of some kind.

The point being, business is tight. But it’s not anything like nonexistant.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: September 26, 2008, 1:29 pm

I was going to type out a comment on lessons I learned about diversity in a recent class exercise, but I think I’ll write a post instead. Would make a too long comment.

Comment from DefendUSA
Time: September 26, 2008, 2:04 pm

You know, people like me who are paying a mortgage and a rent and trying to save for 4 college educations could surely just walk away and start all over. Trouble is, my mother raised me right and fuck if would feel guilty while the gov’t rapes my taxpaying ass and that of my friends. There ain’t nothin’ right about it. Glad you could get out without getting desperate. My turn might be coming.

Comment from porknbean
Time: September 26, 2008, 2:21 pm

Hey look, we have a wad of brown shirts here in Missouri. Criticize their messianic candidate and they will use the power of their office to f*ck you up…


Nevermind that even the NY Slimes admits Obama’s ads on McCain are lies.

Comment from Rich
Time: September 26, 2008, 3:09 pm

Happy to say I’m a reformed economist. More than 10 years clean from the academic nonsense. Didn’t even need a twelve step program….I went cold turkey.

But the folks in DC are dragging me back in with the most recent nonsense. We’ve all known that the big mother of a bubble was building since “Easy Al, the drunk’s pal” Greenspan said irrational exuberance in 1996. Instead of curbing the game they kept it going. And Al kept pouring the drinks!

All believing the market could do nothing but go up, and believing they made it happen.

Love the graphic at the start of this post. Glad to have found your blog!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 26, 2008, 3:15 pm

Welcome, Rich. We won’t hold your past against you.

Gosh, your name sounds familiar to me.

Comment from Allen
Time: September 26, 2008, 3:23 pm

Well at least the debate is back on. It will give me something to do while swilling gin, (probably yelling, “you suck!” at the radio.)

Rich has some really great pictures on his site.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 26, 2008, 4:33 pm

Fine pictures, Rich!

And yes, I agree, along with all the invective aimed at the venal shits in the finance houses who helped us to hell, I find a marked absence of equal venom for the real villains of the piece: the damned politicians who not only blew this bubble, but who have profited from it, mightily.

I can’t speak for the USA but here in jolly olde, there is a growing sense of ‘hang them all’. When the reckoning comes, we must save sufficient piano wire for the political classes.

Comment from Buffoon
Time: September 26, 2008, 8:21 pm

Just when I thought I was out, SWeasel pulls me back in….


Comment from LemurKing
Time: September 26, 2008, 9:26 pm

pnb – brownSHIRTS or brownPANTS? Seems to me they spend equal amounts of time crapping their pants.

Greenspan reminds me of the bartender, Lloyd, in The Shining. He’s there for you and your glass is never quite empty. Until the bill comes due.

Business is tight indeed. Capital is kind of hard to come by and rates go up, so it’ll be interesting to see how much it affects attitudes over this next year. People will be left with the choice: to freak out or not to freak out.

Comment from mike
Time: October 1, 2008, 11:05 am

Ms. Weasel,

I tend not to agree with you (I’m more a “plague on both their houses” type), but when you’re right you’re right: The “Caveman Night and Day” artwork is sublime.

Best of luck on your move.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 1, 2008, 11:41 am

I’m more a “plague on both their houses” type

Me too. I hate the GOP, I just hate them less than I hate the Dems. One of my abiding frustrations is that the Libertarian Party always, always descends to be the party of flaming nutjobbery. One of these days, I’m going to start the “Mind Your Own Business and Leave Me the Hell Alone” party.

Anyhow, thank you. I’m suffering mild to moderate jitters — not about being there, but about the process of getting there.

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