Hedge fund fallout -- EPI speaks!

Carl Remick cremick at rlmnet.com
Wed Sep 30 06:29:58 PDT 1998

Re Michael's: "The media's response to this [LTCM fiasco] is interesting. While the NYT and WSJ publishes articles there is hardly anything anywhere on TV. I personally find this far more interesting than the entire Clinton affair which has micro--media discussion."

As I said yesterday, the LTCM is a major watershed event. Interesting column in today's WSJ by Gerald Seib, "Insider Bailouts: Can They Feed Populist Politics?" Ending runs as follows:

"But there's a broader issue that won't explicitly be on the table at tomorrow's hearing [on LTCM by the House Banking Committee]. It is the question of how easily this kind of episode, and the generally rising economic tension it reflects, can revive the politics of populism.

"Though it's fairly well hidden after years of economic prosperity, populism is never far below the American surface. A basic creed of populism holds that people get ahead based not on what they know but who they know. The Long-Term Capital rescue, in which private-sector insiders rescued each other with the help of government insiders, seems [!] to validate the creed.

"Populism also feeds on hypocrisy and double standards, both of which are at work when a select few are spared from the full ravages of the markets they profess to cherish. 'You wonder what definition of capitalism they use to bail out the arbitrageurs and the speculators, but insist that the people who make automobiles and steel and textiles must live and die by the market,' says Jeff Faux, an economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

"Is Long-Term Capital alone enough to unleash populism? No. But 'if these shoes continue to drop, there's going to be a populist reaction,' Mr. [James] Carville warns. He says voters will be cranky if they think they are losing the economic security they expected in return for modest income gains in the 1990s. To underscore the point, he notes that just two years ago, Pat Buchanan won a third of the presidential primary vote with a populist economic message. On yes: that was the *Republican* primary vote."

In other news: If Monica thinks Clinton's a "Big Creep," pity she's never met New Age Uriah Heep Tony Blair. Today's NY Times article on TB's conduct at this year's Blackpool conference -- "Blair Sheds a New Layer of Old Labour" -- will turn your stomach. Unctuous Tony really is worse the Bill, since he turned his back on *real* left traditions.

Carl Remick

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