Friday, March 06, 2009

Values & Values

Some people listen to Paul Krugman. Some people don't. I listen to (read) him, but I don't always understand what he is saying. When I do understand him, or think I understand him, he usually scares the bejeezus out of me. Today's linked op-ed column is just such a case.

One paragraph sort of jumped out at me,
Thus, in a recent interview Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, tried to make a distinction between the “basic inherent economic value” of troubled assets and the “artificially depressed value” that those assets command right now. In recent transactions, even AAA-rated mortgage-backed securities have sold for less than 40 cents on the dollar, but Mr. Geithner seems to think they’re worth much, much more.

What I'm getting is that the Obama administration thinks that these "assets" have an artificially low value right now, and that they will return to the original values someday. Everybody else thinks we were in some kind of "bubble" and that their value was artificially high; that the values have now come down to their natural levels and aren't going back up much, if at all.

Krugman thinks the Obama Administration is going to just dither around until we find out who is right. That will be wonderful if Obama turns out to be right, but it will be an awful mess if everybody else turns out to be right. I'm seeing the self-justifying drill team mommy at work by the Administration,

"Oh look, everybody's out of step except Johhny."

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