Monday, November 26, 2007

How will Rudd and Brown color the credit crunch?

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I would have preferred my long weekend to include a KU victory over at Arrowhead Stadium, but you can't have everything -- including a win over a very good, very fast team you've just spotted 14 point lead.

Over the long weekend, Australians decided to go moderately socialist by electing the Labor Party, headed by Kevin Rudd, who has described himself as an "economic conservative" who believes in an "activist government".

Leaving aside that head-spinning level of cognitive dissonance, what I'm wondering is what kind of trouble this spells for the worldwide credit-crunch. With the recent elevation of Gordon Brown to be the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, two of the most important economies in the Anglosphere are headed by people who, like Barney Frank here in America, believe in legislating first and asking questions later.

When times are bad, bad ideas become attractive, and in a democracy, there is a lot of pressure to "make an example" or "punish the bad guys." While real reform is needed in how banks account for their off-book assets, and in how investments are valued, something tells me that a torches-and-pitchfork approach will hurt more than it helps.

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