Friday, August 17, 2007

REPO Man meats Spinal Tap.

An important aspect of the subprime derivatives meltdown is AAA ratings of senior tranches of securities repackaging securities repackaging liars loans balloon mortgages and such like. The problem (aside from dishonesty on the part of Moody's and Standard and Poor's which are, when I think of it very odd names for firms which are supposed to keep you from getting poor by being immune from market sentiment) is that credit ratings are based on historical performance and thus suggest that being a turkey is a low risk occupation (until thanksgiving). This makes it possible for people to lose their shirts guessing that markets are inefficient, when prices are based on possible events which haven't happened yet (as noted by Milton Friedman of course).

This reminds me of something I once heard about lumbar punctures (spinal taps) while my brother was graduating from medical school. The class speaker contrasted the bedside manner of two medical students who were about to perform a spinal tap on a patient.

student 1 says "Hi how are you. Are you nervous ? Don't feel bad, I'm nervous too. I've never done one of these before"

student 2 says "I have NEVER had any complications with a lumbar puncture"

Student 2 clearly was in the wrong field as he could have made a ton of money running a hedge fund.

update: The typo (one of the typos?) in my title is not a type. It is a salute to the director of "Spinal Tap" Rob "meathead" Reiner.

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