Friday, July 1, 2011

Munger Slams Ayn Rand... And My Thoughts On Mortgage Interest Tax Credits.

From here:

Munger used the meeting to fault ex-Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. CEO Richard Fuld and to call for effective financial regulation. Munger, a Republican, praised Elizabeth Warren, the adviser who was appointed by President Barack Obama to set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and said there was too little oversight under ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Greenspan, who was chairman from 1987 to early 2006, nurtured a devotion to free markets in part through his association with Ayn Rand, the novelist and philosopher who espoused laissez-faire capitalism. Greenspan told Congress a month after Lehman’s 2008 failure that a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” had engulfed financial markets and conceded his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed.

I wish that I would have attended this. If anyone has video, please send me a link to post. I went to the Westco meeting after the last VIC West, and frankly, learned more from Munger in a few hours than I learned in an semester's worth of a college class.

Need I digress...

While I am a fan of Ayn Rand, a lot of people don't understand her philosophy. I think a lot of said mis-understanding is highlighted here (even if the story may not be true). Many people assume that objectivists can more or less, only care about money. Regardless, when you have an economy that is so heavily regulated as ours is, policy makers should be smart in how you go about de-regulating it. Mis-steps can be quite disastrous. For example, while we have previously reduced taxes to 'get the government off our backs' we never reduced spending... and are now, and in the future, going to deal with a bunch of the misguided attempts of dumb-ass republicans to 'save the country'.

When mis-steps are made, it often makes the public swing their opinion in the opposite way, sometimes, quite drastically. Another great example of something that may do this in the future, is getting rid of the mortgage interest tax credit. While eliminating it would get rid of an artificial stimulus to the housing market, not having it would hurt so many Americans that they would decry the party responsible for it (something like 2/3 of Americans own homes). The ironic thing here, is that it would actually benefit landlords to have it eliminated, as it would get rid of competition for houses and reduce the financial incentives for buying, rather than renting... Additionally, since interest payments are a business expense, the landlords cash flows would likely be un-effected by a repeal of the market altering legislation.

Tis an interesting time to be alive.

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