Monday, 17 March 2008

Bear Sterns - The shit hits the fan

Three articles from today's UK papers provide a good insight into the catastrophic mess we've been led into be greedy bankers and idiot/self-aggrandising politicians and clueless central bankers:

1. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard (Daily Telegraph) - Foreign investors veto Fed rescue.

How foreigners have stopped buying US Treasury bonds.

2. Larry Elliott (The Guardian) - America was conned - who will pay?

How Wall Street types should be hung from the nearest lamp post!

3. Iain Martin (Daily Telegraph) on the political fallout below.

I think his three points at the end hit the nail on the head.

Credit crisis: the political fall out
Posted by Iain Martin on 17 Mar 2008 at 12:17

This is one of those moments when our leaders can only look on, open mouthed and with fingers crossed, at the spectacle of mighty markets on the move. The second stage of the credit crunch is being played out, with emergency rate cuts from the Fed, a knock down sale of the fifth largest bank on Wall Street and tumbling share prices. Traders can only sit and watch as markets plummet

On this side of the Atlantic it is starting to dawn on those who thought this would have no impact in the 'real economy' that they were mistaken. The rising cost of mortgages is about to hit millions of Britons as the era of easy money unwinds. Last week's budget now seems to belong to another world.

On the crisis Ambrose Evans-Pritchard is invaluable, even more so than usual today. If you haven't read his take, here it is.

And Larry Elliott in the Guardian produces a blistering column saying Americans were conned by Wall Street and will want those bankers and institutions who profited from a bubble to pay.

We have become used to living with certain so-called truths about politics and economics. Barring a miracle the world will look quite different very soon, so here are a few widely held assumptions about to be upended as the global economic climate changes.

1) Alan Greenspan was/is a genius worthy of courting by world leaders, such as Gordon Brown. "You don't solve the problems of a collapsing bubble by blowing up another, which is what Greeenspan did after the dotcom fiasco - the most irresponsible behaviour of any central banker in living memory," says Larry Elliott. This will become a prevailing view amongst policy makers and analysts.

2) George Bush's presidency couldn't get any worse. Oh yes it could. He was a disaster mainly abroad? Wrong, he was a disaster domestically too.

3) Gordon Brown was a prudent custodian of our nation's finances.