The Fucking Balls on These People

Bailouts for me, but no “handouts” for thee:

Charles Munger, the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., defended the U.S. financial-company rescues of 2008 and told students that people in economic distress should “suck it in and cope.”

“You should thank God” for bank bailouts, Munger said in a discussion at the University of Michigan on Sept. 14, according to a video posted on the Internet. “Now, if you talk about bailouts for everybody else, there comes a place where if you just start bailing out all the individuals instead of telling them to adapt, the culture dies.”

Bank rescues allowed the U.S. to avoid what could have been an “awful” downturn and will help the country as it deals with the housing slump, Munger, 86, said. He used the example of post-World War I Germany to explain how the bailouts under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were “absolutely required to save your civilization.”

Maybe it is past time for this “culture” to die? I’ve long suspected/believed there is no God, but the fact that this prick didn’t choke to death on filet mignon at some point in the last year is all I need in the way of definitive proof.

Clearly this guy needs a tax cut so he can continue to be one of the Fonzi of Freedom’s “producers.”

(via email)

80 replies
  1. 1
    4tehlulz says:

    I think the fact that he can say that publicly without fear says more about America than anything else.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    So we concede that banks are absolutely necessary institutions. And we concede that the folks currently running the banks are greedy little fucktards.

    But if you mention nationalization, you’re a dirty and unserious communist.

  3. 3

    And Munger was once one of the good guys. Ugh!!

  4. 4
    Scott says:

    @4tehlulz: Someone really does need to station a guillotine outside some of the big banks and brokerage houses. Sometimes, the old methods really are best.

  5. 5
    RalfW says:

    With assholes like this serving up heaping helpings of assclown rich-poor class warfare, why can’t a Democrat or two actually make use of this? It’s got video for crissakes!

    I cannot believe that Dems are this stupid, out of touch, scared, and useless. Hit this one out of the park, people! Geebus.

  6. 6
    Earl Butz says:

    “You should thank God” for bank bailouts

    The only difference between Munger and Fred Phelps is what American-destroying item they’re thanking God for.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    What bailout under Obama? TARP was a Bush product, period.

  9. 9
    Svensker says:

    So, maybe we did need to bail out the banks or the consequences would have been catastrophic for all. However, one would think that said banks might have a bit of humility about their bail out and maybe all the bastards in the fucking banks should have taken a massive pay cut so they could, you know, share the pain that the people who bailed them out are undergoing.

    Too obvious? Apparently not for this guy.

  10. 10
    Dracula says:

    Bank rescues allowed the U.S. to avoid what could have been an “awful” downturn

    could have been? Just what the fuck is ~10% unemployment with no recovery in sight? Just who is this fuckin jackass?

  11. 11
    Church Lady says:

    The entire article was a little more nuanced than the excerpt you posted. Unfortunately, the writer didn’t link to the video that he/she pulled random quotes out of. Since it was a question and answer session, I’d love to see the full context of what he said.

    As to individuals sometimes having to “suck it in” when things go wrong, that’s true. I’ve had to suck it in on more than one occasion in my life, as I’m sure just about everyone has. As to the bailouts of the banks, I wasn’t enthusiastic, but it beat having the entire global financial system collapse. Then we all would have been sucking it in.

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    Munger’s message certainly isn’t on the same page as Warren Buffet’s.

  13. 13
    SpotWeld says:

    It’s not the bailouts that seem to be the issues.
    It’s just that the bailouts proove that Charles Munger is useless

  14. 14
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Would it be wrong to say that I’ll “thank God” the day I see somebody carrying Charles Munger’s head around on a pike while looters swarm his estate?

  15. 15
    Super Tuber says:

    Sorry, but I don’t read it that way at all. Sounds to me like a guy was simply pointing out that selective/strategic bailouts (or whatever you wanna call ’em) are fiscally more sensible than just throwing money at anything & everything.

    I’d agree that if you’re a very wealthy person, you should choose your words carefully. But it hardly sounds like Munger, who at least appears to be something of a bootstrapper himself, is yelling poor people to get off his lawn.

    Breathe, man, breathe!

  16. 16
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Svensker: No kiddin’. This shit ain’t helping anyone because it just brings out the vindictive side of Americans. And the American citizenry ain’t afraid to go all scorched earth over a vendetta if they’re pissed off enough.

    We talk about needing the grown-ups in charge in government, fuck, I’d say the financial sector is in much more need of them.

  17. 17
    Jager says:

    I know three really rich guys, of the three, only one has any empathy for normal human beings. The other two are world class pricks. They both constantly talk of how bad things are for them, never bought anything they didn’t over pay for or sold anything they didn’t get screwed on. One, a client, told me over dinner he bought a plain, lower priced car to drive to work, the ass bought a new Jag sedan! I guess it is a step down from his Bentley. He showed me around his new condo, he and his wife “down-sized to 3400 sq feet on the 21st floor and of course he didn’t think he got much of a deal on it! The other prick is constantly whining about how shitty his life is, too. The third is happy, he has helped his kids and others start businesses, is involved in his community and feels he has been “lucky’ in his life to have done so well. He is a very upbeat guy, he tries to something positive everyday, from making a solid investment, fronting money for a good project or just giving worthwhile advice. I’ve know him for years and I’ve never heard a bad word about him. The other two are, well, just pricks.

  18. 18
    freelancer says:

    Cole,

    What’s your mood like today? ‘Cause every post so far has made me want to kill myself. Can we get a post with about 4 or 5 stories of GOOD news?! That or a picture of Lily, she always cheers me up.

  19. 19
    ruemara says:

    Here’s some contact info for Wesco Financial Corporation
    Address: 301 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 300
    Pasadena, CA 91101-1901
    Phone: 626-585-6700
    Fax: 626-449-1455

    & here’s Costco
    PO Box 34331
    Seattle, WA 98124
    1-800-774-2678

    They may wish to here a few thoughts on the lovely Mr. Munger’s words.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    Oh man that’s perfect, that’s just perfect.

  21. 21

    He used the example of post-World War I Germany

    So … We should have beat the crap out of the banks and then given them a helping hand. Or that despite the help the banks will invade Poland and slaughter Jewish people.

    Either way, sounds like an invitation to administer a smackdown to some bankers.

  22. 22

    He used the example of post-World War I Germany

    So … We should have beat the crap out of the banks and then given them a helping hand. Or that despite the help the banks will invade Poland and slaughter Jewish people.

    Either way, sounds like an invitation to administer a smackdown to some bankers.

  23. 23
    SpotWeld says:

    This, in a nutshell, is what the Tea Partiers should be rallying about. It is the very attitude that leads to the rising healthcare costs, the housing bubble, and the credit collapse.

    Should anyone suggest it, you are accused of being a un-American anti-capitalist.

  24. 24
    BDeevDad says:

    What’s messed up is Warren Buffett has been one of the outspoken voices for tax reform. He has stated publicly that his capital gains should be taxed at the same rate as income using his taxes vs his assistant’s as an example. He also has come out against prop 13 in CA because his property in Nebraska has higher taxes than his property on a beach in Malibu.

  25. 25
    LarsThorwald says:

    I just hope that when we decline into the position where ordinary people wake up and realize they are getting fucked by guys like these — personally, deeply fucked — the wake up will come sooner than the realization by guys like these that they are in personal danger and need gates at the property line strong enough to hold back hordes of angry citizens.

  26. 26
    Ash Can says:

    @Svensker: This. I agreed in principle with the bank bailouts as part of a larger scheme to keep a bad situation from turning catastrophic. (And, as the article notes at the end, at least a couple of the big fuckups players have since repaid their bailout funds.) However, this asshole is spectacularly tone-deaf, and is doing nothing but dumping bad publicity upon the industry he supposedly seeks to defend. Seriously, who the hell does he think he’s helping with this bullshit?

  27. 27
    Wiesman says:

    Weeeeeeeeee! Cole is feisty today. Just logged on (West Coast obv) and I see not one, not two, but four or five fire-breathing rants.

    It would be enjoyable except that I agree with him on just about everything. Are we fucked or what?

  28. 28
    Corner Stone says:

    His stake in Berkshire, which didn’t take government aid, is worth about $1.6 billion.

    The fuck they didn’t. Did the reporter not just previously note their multi billion dollar investments in Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo?

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @debbie:

    Munger’s message certainly isn’t on the same page as Warren Buffet’s.

    The “message” may not be the same, but that’s just because Munger is being more honest about it.
    Buffet is a lying, deceitful son of a bitch and deserves to have his ass handed to him for his role in the CDO scams and financial meltdown.

  30. 30
    MR Payback says:

    Scott,
    With all due respect, tose guillotines need to be stationed in front of the White House and Congress. It would accomplish greater results.

  31. 31
    El Cid says:

    The noble Munger
    Hath told you that economic fairness advocates were ambitious;
    It if were so, it was a grievous fault;
    And grievously hath the economic fairness advocates answer’d it;
    Here, under leave of economic fairness advocates and the rest,
    For Munger is an honorable man;
    So are they all, all the Wall Street titans honorable men,
    Come I to speak at mention of the continual defeat of economic fairness advocates.
    They were my friends, faithful and just to all:
    But Munger says they were ambitious;
    And Munger is an honorable man.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    I read the blurb above and thought, “Surely, this guy was trying some deadpanned snark and just failed at his delivery.”
    I then went to read the more “nuanced” article and realized, no, Munger just told everyone who isn’t rich to fuck off and die.

  33. 33
    MR Payback says:

    Scott,
    With all due respect, those guillotines need to be stationed in front of the White House and Congress. It would accomplish greater results.

  34. 34
    Culture of Truth says:

    Good news?

    “Ally’s GMAC Mortgage Halts Evictions Across 23 States”

  35. 35
    scav says:

    oh goody, now the economic overlords are going to tell us that the recession actually ended in June 2009 and all this other stuff is actually good and simply misunderstood. Are we so lucky as to be watching an entire discipline pontificate itself into a public laughingstock? That would just be icing on the watching the Economic Elite paint big red arrows on their foreheads and whine their way to targetdom cake. Which we have, we’d all agree, been told to stiffen up and eat.

  36. 36
    Ash Can says:

    @Jager: Just as a seat-of-the-pants guess, without knowing anything more about these guys than what you’ve said, I’d bet that the third guy sees money as a means to an end, rather than an end in and of itself. And he probably also recognizes that his most valuable possessions aren’t really “possessions” at all, they’re his friends and family. Being able to look beyond oneself will have that sort of effect.

  37. 37
    debbie says:

    @ Corner Stone:

    Buffet is a lying, deceitful son of a bitch and deserves to have his ass handed to him for his role in the CDO scams and financial meltdown.

    He, and a lot of others. At least Buffet doesn’t throw a hissy fit at having to pay taxes.

    Talk about lack of moral integrity: How about those who saw the fraud in the CDO scam and after making a half-hearted stab at informing the SEC and getting no response, chose instead to profit off it while they could? I’d put Buffet, Greenspan, et al. slightly above these clowns.

  38. 38
    Kryptik says:

    Jesus Christ. For all the bullshit about ‘elites’ heaped upon liberals and academia by Teabaggers and the GOP, what the fuck about this? What telling shit is this, and yet fuck all if they care because ‘YOU’RE HURTING AMERICA!!’

    I seriously want to punch some dumb, greedy, callous motherfuckers right now, because fuck all. I was depressed earlier to the point I couldn’t rage. Now, with caffeine in my system, I just want to throttle every single last one of these over-privileged assholes thrice over and maybe a fourth time for good measure.

  39. 39
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Punchy:

    No, it really wasn’t. In fact, it was probably the closest to genuine “good faith” (cough cough) bipartisanship Congress has managed in decades.

    By the way, this blog has become hardcore schizophrenic today…

  40. 40
    Carnacki says:

    Class Warfare, plain and simple. We’re radicals, say the establishment, when we say ‘class warfare’ but it’s acceptable when the rich practice it on us.

  41. 41
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle: No, he just appeared to be by staying in the shadow of Buffett.

  42. 42

    Well none of these Wall Street assholes wants to “suck it in and cope.” They still want their holidays in the Hamptons and their private schools for their kids and not only that but they still want America to see them as heroes.

    So. Fuck’ em.

  43. 43
    jhh says:

    Munger might have phrased it more diplomatically, but basically he is right that the alternative to bailing out major finance entities was massive system failure like that of the Great Depression.

    What is different this time is rapid passage in a few months from Wall St types like Hank Paulson literally on their knees to Nancy Pelosi crying “bail the key players in the market finance system out or it is the end of civilization” to the SAME people now screaming “doing anything to pay for the bailout and avoid future catastrophes (thru higher taxes amounting to ~1-2% increase in the NET, not incremental tax rates on high earners) is NOT FAIR and is SOCIALISM”).

    The Wall Streeters say they turned on Obama because they say he has demonized the rich. (This from Mayor Bloomberg of NYC, describing his rich friends). Meanwhile, the left is attacking Obama for not demonizing the rich enough.

    The tragedy is that the GOPers, who did more than anyone else to lay the groundwork for this mess, look to be riding it back to power. I predict that they will then do things which screw ALL of us from Wall St to Main St. If Krugman is right (his average so far in predicting the present crisis is so good it is scary), GOP insistence on premature reduction in govt expenses will delay—perhaps for a decade, as in Japan—real recovery. It might even trigger a second dip.

    Longer term, if the GOP dumps all the blame on Obama and wins the Presidency in 2012, I bet it will go back to its “who cares about the deficit?” policy, and the US becomes Argentina.

    My family all have dual US-Australian nationality because of historical accident, so at least we have an escape route to a country with higher taxes, national public-private health care, and near-zero government debt, whose GDP only dipped 1% in the recent crisis. Even so, we will contribute and vote to try to head off a GOP led disaster.. The rest of you all out there with only a US passport have even more at stake. You might want to think very carefully about your contributions and votes this election season.

  44. 44
    cleek says:

    @scav:

    oh goody, now the economic overlords are going to tell us that the recession actually ended in June 2009 and all this other stuff is actually good and simply misunderstood.

    “recession” has a specific technical definition. if the economy stopped meeting that definition, then the recession did, in fact, end. that doesn’t mean anybody thinks things are great, only that the data stopped meeting the required criteria that defines what is and what isn’t a recession.

    technically speaking, tomorrow’s the last day of summer. it’s still hot as fuck here in NC. astronomers lie!
    ?

  45. 45
    Charlie Munger says:

    You hippies get off my lawn!

  46. 46
    fourlegsgood says:

    Assholes like that are what pitchforks and torches were invented for.

  47. 47
    lamh32 says:

    Anybody watch the President’s townhall on CNBC just now. I’m hearing he was pretty good, but I’ll admit to ready only “biased” responses.

    I’m at work, so can’t watch it til I get home. How’d he do?

  48. 48
    scav says:

    @cleek: I know that, but find it amusing that the announcers behind it think it’s going to change anyone’s perceptions at this point. (Because that’s what they’ve come to think their public job is, managing perceptions so that everyone claps enough for tinkerbell and the stock market to rise and votes optimistic in consumer confidence polls.) The breakdown of abject belief in former authority figures is getting to be a trend. Economic figureheads and the Pope — little to choose between except one wears red shoes and the others red power ties.

  49. 49
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @scav: Sluggish growth is still growth, and that’s what we’ve been seeing since about June ’09. And besides that, the quarters leading out of most of the past recessions have been just as sluggish, so it’s not like NBER is pulling shit out of their ass.

    Yeah, unemployment doesn’t factor much into the definition of a recession. That’s probably something that needs to be addressed, but it’s not like economic indicators have been pure shit from December ’07 to now.

  50. 50
    Matt in HB says:

    …told students that people in economic distress should “suck it in and cope.

    At best this can be construed as his message to the University of Michigan School of Law students that were present for the discussion, not for the general populace suffering through the economic downturn.

    God how I hate shit reporting and selective quoting. . .

    Munger’s actual message to U of M law students: Don’t complain about graduating from U of M during a downturn. Do the best you can with the skills you have and in time you will do fine. Live a life that is deserving of the good things you want for yourself.

    Head on a pike indeed.

  51. 51
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Matt in HB:

    At best this can be construed as his message to the University of Michigan School of Law students that were present for the discussion, not for the general populace suffering through the economic downturn.

    Wow, what kind of shit-covered glasses do you need to put on to dream up that interpretation?

    What he said:

    There’s danger in just shoveling out money to people who say, ‘My life is a little harder than it used to be.’ At a certain place you’ve got to say to the people, ‘Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.’

    There’s literally nowhere in that quote that he makes it clear that he’s speaking of “the University of Michigan School of Law students that were present for the discussion, not for the general populace suffering through the economic downturn.” If you’ve got a full transcript of the event that would eliminate the problem of “shit reporting and selective quoting,” please share with the rest of us.

  52. 52
    Charlie Munger says:

    Smith Barney called: they want their crotchety old man bullshit back.

  53. 53
    Jager says:

    @Ash Can

    You got it…

    Over the past few years all three have taken vacations to Italy, one on 200 foot super yatch belonging to a friend of his, he bitched about how much lunch cost him for a party of ten at a port in Italy. The other bitched about how he and his wife had to rent two cabs in Rome because their luggage wouldn’t fit in just one. The good guy took his family on a ‘walking” vacation in Tuscany, they walked through vineyards, farms and villages, they packed lunch everyday and stayed in B and Bs at night, he said “we had a fantastic time, my grand kids just loved it, the food was great and I walked so much I lost weight on vacation”!

  54. 54
    Bill Murray says:

    @Sentient Puddle: you’re right it’s been more diarrhea than coprolites

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    @Carnacki: The ultra-rich, the libertarifreaks, and the TeaTards are all hardline Marxists, just with the aggrieved parties reversed.

    In this view, increasing class conflict inevitably leads to class consciousness among the capitalists who soon revolt and overthrow their proletarian oppressors.

    All Power to the Billioniets!

  56. 56
    Ash Can says:

    @Jager: Beautiful. Guy #3 is walking around with a great big “I WIN” sign over his head, and his wealth has nothing to do with it, and he knows it. :)

  57. 57
    Florida Cynic says:

    OK, how many people actually RTFA?

  58. 58
    Paul says:

    Yes, this thread needs more kittens. Here is my friends new Siberian Kitten, Leliana (She is named after the Dragon Age NPC…)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jvstin/5007402301/

  59. 59
    Jager says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yes, while the other two bitched about their 5 Star hotels and meals, he said told me he had a great time sitting outside little cafes “shooting the shit” with the locals, eating olives, bread and drinking the local vino while his grandkids kicked soccer balls in the street with little Italian kids.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    The quote was probably drawn from the same talk that Andrew Tobias — treasurer of Democratic party — rich, liberal, gay.
    posted today as reports from a sane republican who disagrees
    with most of the wild eyed GOP of today and sounds like a democrat.

    I agree that JCole seems crabby today (as he is most days).

    No matter how bad things are Tobias will look on the bright side. I read him for contrast.

  61. 61
    Matt in HB says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Wow, what kind of shit-covered glasses do you need to put on to dream up that interpretation?

    Well, I watched the video and have an understanding of the context of these quotes. It was a Q&A session with U of M law students. The bloomberg piece was selectively quoted to generate the exact reaction it’s generating here.

  62. 62
    Michael57 says:

    @Corner Stone: The big BH investment in Goldman came after the meltdown. Buffett essentially loaned them money at a guaranteed 10% interest rate to show confidence in the market (and to get a damn good return on investment at the same time–you may have noticed that he’s good with money).

  63. 63
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Matt in HB:

    I’ve watched a bit of the video, and I still haven’t figured out where he explains that when he criticizes “bailouts for everyone” and says that “it’s very dangerous to assume that saving the banking system was wrong, and that it’s clearly right to shovel a lot of money to people who are now short of money,” that by “everyone” and “people” he only means “the University of Michigan School of Law students that were present for the discussion.”

    With a little more context, it seems to me that he thinks the banker bailout saved civilization as we know it, but fuck you if you’d like to get the same treatment from the government that those bankers did. Which is what it seemed to me he was saying even without benefit of the video.

  64. 64
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    I don’t understand why a simple and heart-felt “Thank you, Presidents Bush and Obama” is so controversial.

  65. 65
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    Mung is computer jargon for “to make repeated changes which individually may be reversible, yet which ultimately result in an unintentional, irreversible destruction of large portions of the original item.”

    Like the financial system. Mash Until No Good.

    Charles Munger, ladies and gentlemen.

  66. 66
    fouro says:

    It seems many here are not familiar with Munger. He’s not Rick Santelli, far from it. (Here’s a slate piece he wrote earlier this year: http://www.slate.com/id/2245328/) Munger’s’s a value investor who’s never trusted Wall Street implicitly and essentially thinks they’re spoiled punks who far-overestimate their own intelligence and skills. And when he speaks to groups of “the smart set” he basically tells them to get their heads from out of their asses and stop being too clever-by-half with all the financial whiz bang. His advice is simple: 1. don’t give your life (or savings) over to a business you don’t understand; 2. don’t ask others to; 3. make something/anything real and useful, goddammit. Since he has the cash, at these talks he sometimes gives out free copies of his favorite book, Bob Cialdini’s Influence, to help avoid being suckered and understsnd how it’s done to us. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Cialdini)

    Just sayin: he may not be as articulate @ 86 but he and Buffett have been and still mostly are good guys who know what “the MBA” and the quant has done to job creation and the middle class.

  67. 67
    Mr Furious says:

    SHIT! He uttered those words here in Ann Arbor? Had I known, I’d’ve lined up to give him the neck punch he deserves.

  68. 68
    licensed to kill time says:

    @fouro: Thanks for the info. I admit I know nothing about Munger and simply took the cheap shot when I saw mung in his name. Too good to pass up.

    signed, eggonface

    P.S. however, “suck it up and cope” is simply a bridge too far, IMHO.

  69. 69
    fouro says:

    @licensed to kill time: Just being an earnest newbie. Rock on.

  70. 70
    SciVo says:

    @fouro: Damn straight! And I’d like to take this opportunity to remind anyone who hasn’t yet heard or read his 1995 Harvard Law speech on the causes of human misjudgment to do so now. You’ll thank me later.

  71. 71
    fouro says:

    @SciVo: Classic piece, thanks for the links. Guess we can sum it all up with, if it weren’t for the glut of smart people telling us what’s news and what it all means and how money works we’d all be a lot richer, less twitchy and more gainfully employed by people other than blow-dried Daniel Plainfields.

  72. 72
    JohnR says:

    Bailouts for me, but no “handouts” for thee

    That doesn’t take balls; that’s just basic human nature. Of the sort that belongs to those humans that find the modern Republican Party to their liking – all benefit, no cost and the delicious feeling of superiority to the common herd that makes the candied ortolans’ tongues taste just that much sweeter.

  73. 73
    JohnR says:

    @Florida Cynic:
    what, and take up my precious two-finger response-typing time? If I’m going to waste my time, I prefer to waste it with beer.

  74. 74
    Matt in HB says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    The part that was directed towards the attendees rather than society was the “suck it up” part. If you’re attending U of M law, you’re in a position to do well despite the current economic conditions, so suck it up, live your life, do your best. It wasn’t portrayed that way by bloomberg.

    As for the “it’s a good thing we bailed out the banks but we can’t bail out everyone” stuff, yes, that’s a broader comment. But, I think his point is that saving the financial system is beneficial to everyone (since things go really bad if the financial system is frozen or collapsed). And, systemically, we can’t bail out every individual who may want or need a bailout. And, it would probably be bad policy if we tried.

    I guess I have more of an issue with how bloomberg spun it than what he actually said. Munger to poor people: “Suck it up.” is a pretty horrible summation of his comments, IMO.

  75. 75
    Jonny Scrum-half says:

    I don’t think that the “Fonzi of Freedom” was in favor of bailouts for anyone, including banks.

  76. 76
    futzinfarb says:

    Despite the near unanimous visceral loathing of TARP across the political spectrum, I am satisfied that it was necessary (at least in some form) among other things by evidence that even in the face of such loathing, many analysts (and even some with “skin in the game”), again from across the political spectrum, are insistent that it saved the economy from utter catastrophe (and just to try to defuse what are likely critiques of this position, by catastrophe I mean MUCH WORSE than what we are experiencing now).

    In some sense, then, and albeit with a tin (don’t worry, we don’t need tin to make pennies) ear, Munger may be speaking unpleasant truth.

    I think there is, though, a much more important issue to which we had better pay attention: why and how have we structured our economy so that this (e.g., TARP bailouts along with, for instance, their attendant nauseating executive bonuses, but all y’all others “suck it in and cope”) is the case? I think there is evidence that a big part of this is that our particular implementation of the free market has perversely set up compensation mechanisms that are a clear and present danger. The current implementation, to my eyes, evidently has almost completely decoupled compensation for the wealthy from that for the middle and poorer classes, thereby undermining a big piece of the foundation of our economy. It seems that with that big piece of the foundation gone, it is only a matter of time to a full collapse. Is there anything to be done about such a structural trap?

  77. 77
    Triassic Sands says:

    I’ve long suspected/believed there is no God, but the fact that this prick didn’t choke to death on filet mignon at some point in the last year is all I need in the way of definitive proof.

    Similar reasoning concerning Stephen Moore disproved the existence of God years ago. I heard Moore on the radio today and what seemed absolutely clear was that his policy prescriptions with huge deficits and 9.5% unemployment are identical to his policy prescriptions with a balanced budget and 4% unemployment. Cut taxes. Get rid of government.

    Predictably, Moore would say something idiotic, then an economist would respond that what Moore said was complete horseshit when the economy is where it is today. Later, Moore would reiterate and rereiterate and rerereiterate all the same comments no matter how many times they’d been shot down.

    Moore made it clear that he thinks the latest figures on poverty are tragic, and in order to deal with that crisis we need to end unemployment payments.

  78. 78
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Matt in HB:

    The part that was directed towards the attendees rather than society was the “suck it up” part. If you’re attending U of M law, you’re in a position to do well despite the current economic conditions, so suck it up, live your life, do your best. It wasn’t portrayed that way by bloomberg.

    At a certain place you’ve got to say to the people, ‘Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.’

    To “the people,” not to “the people in this room,” or “the people attending U of M Law School.” I’m still not seeing how your interpretation is any more contextual then theirs.

  79. 79
    fouro says:

    @futzinfarb: “it is only a matter of time to a full collapse. Is there anything to be done about such a structural trap?” What a depressingly reality-based thought. Buffett’s known for saying “you never know who’s naked till the tide goes out.” Guess few here would disagree that HAMP, TARP, CDOs, SIVs, etc were seawalls or some goofy metaphor for holding back that tide. My guess is that if Munger’s true to his philosophy, and the innocent could be spared a level of unnacceptable pain, he’d be quite happy talking about ways to flush the system and revert all the captains of finance to actually having to have additive rather than extractive ideas in order to be taken seriously in any way other than counters of other people’s money. …Uggh. What I mean is, I think Munger would love to see these guys unplugged from their grid and only the actually useful and resourceful would survive. Might be two hedge fund mgrs and gross of bank and insurance executives left after that.

  80. 80
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I would love it if someone built a guillotine on a trailer, hitched it to a truck, slap a sign on it saying “Free Haircuts!” and then drove around Wall Street.

    Daily.

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