Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Three Musketeers

"As Frank Sinatra's rat pack embodies the smooth sang-foid of one era, Sylvain Raynes, Joshua Rosner and Christopher Whalen are the power trio that has come to personify today's collapsing capital markets. ... Among the gems tossed out to the crowd: 'People say we're in the final innings of the credit crisis,' said Rosner. 'We're in the late innings of the first game, and this is the World Series.' ... Since 2005 they have been telling anyone who would listen that banks don't generate real returns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will crumble, and rating agencies aren't equipped to evalute structured bonds. ... In his 2001 paper, 'Housing in the New Millenium: A Home Without Equity Is Just a Rental Without Debt,' [Rosner] pointed out that historically 65% of households owned houses, and suddenly that had jumped to 70%. 'There were no economic justifications for that increase, which could never be sustained,' he says", Katie Benner (KB) at Fortune, 21 July 2008.

Three Musketeers, welcome aboard. I doubt banking has had any real returns for 20 years. The only banking product that appears profitable is: consumer credit. How can you lose lending at 18-28% on credit cards? Better cost accounting might reveal our banks should close all their other businesses. Absent Fed support through inflation, I doubt even half of our banks could survive. KB writes, "one thing is undeniable: The music of RR&W has become the soundtrack for our meltdown". I deny it. The Paulson, Bernanke & Cox trio marches to the tune of a "different drummer".

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