Monday, March 23, 2009

Goolsbee Responds to Krugman

by Bill McBride on 3/23/2009 10:19:00 PM

Austan Goolsbee, of the White House Council of Economic Advisers responds to Paul Krugman on Hardball. (ht David)

A couple of comments: Goolsbee claims "if the private guy makes money, the government makes money. If the private guy loses money, the government loses money." Goolsbee is correct on an individual pool, but investors can buy multiple pools and Nemo has an excellent example of how the investors can make money, and the government lose money.

Goolsbee should read that example.

At 4:40 Goolsbee essentially agrees with Krugman's column:

[T]he Geithner scheme would offer a one-way bet: if asset values go up, the investors profit, but if they go down, the investors can walk away from their debt. So this isn’t really about letting markets work. It’s just an indirect, disguised way to subsidize purchases of bad assets.
It's not a complete one-way bet on any individual pool because the investors do put a small amount of money down - and that small amount is at risk. But Krugman was referring to the non-recourse debt and he is correct.

BTW, Tanta once ripped Goolsbee - very funny: Dr. Goolsbee: I’ll Stop Impersonating an Economist If You Quit Underwriting Mortgage Loans

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