4/24/15

Some time ago I “vowed” to start writing regular “I told you so” blogs, indicating situations where my past blogs have proven to be correct.

I neglected that. Not because there are not many, many such occasions but BECAUSE there are so many. It is simply tiring to watch so many of my comments and predictions come true and joined by the majority of commentators YEARS after I first wrote them.

For sure, I was wrong on things too. But on balance, in terms of numbers and significance, I am more right than wrong.

This one is a big one though, so I decide to highlight it.

In Thursday’s WSJ Brian Wesbury, currently chief economist at First Trust Advisors L.P., wrote a critique on Joseph Stiglitz’s book The Great Divide.

Stiglitz, an economics professor at Columbia AND a Nobel Prize winner, is one of those whom I have very little time for. He is simply delusional and has no idea how the real economy works. Sorry, but true. I have not read the book but have heard him speak many times on TV and read some of his articles; he has no clue and it is people like him who help drive the world democracies into the morass they are in.

I have heard Wesbury talking on TV many times, too, and never had a clear view of him one way or the other (based on his critique, he clearly agrees with me on Stiglitz).

Therefore, the following statement included as part of his Thursday (April 23, 2015) book review was shocking to me. He has never said anything like that before. Not even close. Indeed I have not heard anyone other than myself say it before.

He wrote: “…The crisis would have never spun out of control if government had avoided overly strict mark-to-market accounting rules.”

Now, here is a quote from a blog I wrote in November 2010—4.5 years ago:

“Mark to Market (MTM)—Of the three main regulatory ‘culprits’ mentioned above this probably was the main one that tipped a ‘normal’ crisis into becoming a total meltdown and cataclysmic in nature.”

You need to read the whole post to understand the entire context, but it was clear to me then that a bad financial crisis—one that could have been handled like many other such significant crisis in the past without causing so much damage—escalated into the horrific depression we experienced all because of this stupid and non-sensible rule of mark to market. (A rule, by the way, that came about as part of another stupid legislation the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, enacted in response to another crisis a few years before [Enron, etc.] which was totally unnecessary, served no-good purpose, and has done so much, so much bad.)

You should read the original post in its entirety to appreciate the full extent of what I said at the time. But right here is vindication of what I said from someone who said nothing of the sort at the time.

In this case, it is NOT better late than never.

It is useless now.