30 Jan 2009

Talking Heads on NPR

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I just heard Ky Risdall interview Megan McArdle and Felix Salmon on the financial crisis. I think I lost the use of polysyllabic words.

Salmon was cockily saying that nationalization was necessary, in the sort of “at least I’m the adult here who can make the hard choices” tone.

For her part, McArdle said something like, “The market needs to capitulate before things can get better. Until we hit rock bottom, stocks will keep falling. The paradox of capitulation is that if people think things will get better, they won’t.”

That’s not an exact quote, but it’s close. I would just like to say that if she actually believes that, then she is ensuring continued free fall of markets, because she is telling us when to expect recovery…thereby preventing recovery.

I actually did gain something from the interview. I had had the impression that the stock market tanked since November, but it actually has been fairly flat in the grand scheme of things.

One last comment: What was great about McArdle was that Risdall would ask her a specific question–like, “Felix says the banks need to take $4 trillion in writedowns, does that sound about right to you Megan?”–and she would answer like a politician, confidently giving an answer that was orthogonal (my vocabulary is coming back finally) to the question.

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