Friday, January 07, 2011

My meteor analogy

Here is my analogy... Think of a meteor (call this the CRA - Community Reinvestment Act), discovered by Jimmy Carter in 1979, Carter begins a space program to send a ship to intercept that meteor and, if necessary, deflect it so that it does not intercept Earth. Years later, in 1998, the Clinton administration, headed by Janet Reno, in cahoots with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, decide to go ahead and have the ship, which just arrived at the meteor, direct a laser at the meteor to deflect it from earth, not thinking about unintended consequences (call this zero down loans). Next, 5,then 7 years later the Bush administration redoes the calculations and determines that indeed, the meteor was NOT going to intercept Earth, but because of some flaw in the original calculations of '79 and then '98, had inadvertently pushed the meteor to a direct intercept with our distinctly Human planet.  So they begin the first step which is to tell the congress in public meetings of the error and that we need to take immediate means to correct this error. The administration officials testifying before Barny Frank are told 'there is no problem' Mae and Mac are perfectly healthy and the meteor won't hit Earth. 'You are simply trying to denigrate our attempts to help people. Never mind that Frank was wrong, and admitted so years later saying: "hindsight is 20/20." So in 2008 congress finally does act, and enacts TARP - Thermo Active Repelling Propellant, and explodes the new device outside the meteor. It does slightly deflect, but not enough, there still will and has been much damage done, although they've avoided much more damage, it's little consolation now that the original CRA ship did the wrong thing. If they had left well enough alone, and done absolutely nothing back in '98 the meteor, as it turns out, would have done no damage whatsoever. So with the meteor now deflected what does congress and the new president do, they enact a 'Shovel Ready' Stimulus bill to dig up some of the bits and pieces of the fallen meteor that frayed during the TARP explosion. This, it turns out, does nothing, because it was impossible to find all the gazillion pieces and slivers of glass and rock that struck our planet. Moral: leave well enough alone. Top down control structures can never: NEVER realize all the unintended consequences. DO as little as possible, and do regulate, but in a limited fashion.


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