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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

MMI: Congress Enters the Food Chain

by Tanta on 9/11/2007 08:52:00 AM

The Washington Post does a drive-by look at subprime-related litigation. There may not be much new here, although it does make you wonder what all those market participants who were paying big bucks for legal counsel when they built these securities and originated these loans are now thinking about how worth it that was. As far as I can tell, the securities lawyers who blessed the original securitization deal documents are now intimating that they, too, relied on the rating agencies' representations. I'm not interested in defending the rating agencies, but I will predict that it won't be long before they are blamed for autism, teen pregnancy and the price of an iPhone.

This part, however, merits our attention:

"Essentially, the originators and credit raters shoved enough pigs and laying hens in with the beef herd that investors expecting prime ribs on their silver platter and money in their pocket ended up with pork ribs on their paper plate and egg on their face," Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said in an opening statement during a Financial Services Committee hearing last week.
Bear in mind that the original idea for the Muddled Metaphor Index arose from the insight that when normally articulate people start speaking in tongues, you know you have a crisis on your hands. You can debate the extent to which members of Congress are normally articulate these days, but I don't think you can escape the conclusion that Congress hasn't got the first idea what to do about this, or whom to do what about, or when to do what to whom. I do expect the Beef Producers Council to sue for defamation.