Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Would an idiot do that?

A friend sends along a link to an opinion piece appearing in today's Wall St. Journal, by an Econ Nobel Laureate from Columbia University. I particularly enjoyed reading this because sometimes I needed to go back and read a sentence again to make sure I understood it. This will occur when someone is treating a serious matter seriously, and when complex ideas need to be explained. Unfortunately, most articles that appear in most OpEd pages are completely devoid of facts and analysis and can thus be read quite rapidly, as the rate-limiting step becomes how fast your eyes can move across the page, not how fast your brain can process the information.

Also, another friend passes along a great read from NPR, a transcript from a recent show that does a good job of explaining how everything went to hell. It certainly helped me make sense of things.

No one wants a broken economy, and if the bailout would prevent bad things from happening to good people, then fine. But I think a lot of us want some "punishment" to the idiots who made bad decisions, which after all, is what idiots do, because they didn't listen to Dwight Shrute:

Whenever I’m about to do something, I think, “Would an idiot do that?”, and if they would, I do not do that thing.

Who are the idiots? Well, I guess there are two classes of them, the people who took out loans they couldn't afford and the people who gave them the loans. Being the neopopulist that I am (Does that word exist yet? I don't think it does, so it can mean whatever I want it to mean), I'd prefer that we err on the side of hammering the idiot bankers, if only because they were getting paid too much to begin with.