Take that, CNBC!

I just got a chance to watch Jon Stewart's rant against CNBC from last night. It's an instant classic. Stewart was supposed to have CNBC analyst Rick Santelli on the show, but Rick cancelled. Santelli, of course, had a famous rant a couple weeks ago about the government's bailout for homeowners. Channeling Santelli, Stewart shouts, "Yeah, man, Wall Street is mad as hell and they're not gonna take it anymore! Unless by it you mean $2 trillion in their own bailout money."

Stewart then launches into a series of CNBC clips from the past couple years, starting with Jim Cramer saying Bear Stearns is not in trouble -- six days before Bear collapsed. I won't spoil the last clip, but it is priceless. To be fair, Santelli did oppose other bailouts. He just didn't have a crazy rant about them or ask the American people if they wanted to subsidize the banks, like he asked floor traders whether they wanted to subsidize their neighbor's mortgage. Whether or not you agree with Stewart's take on this, the unmasking of CNBC is some great stuff.

By the way, Marketplace editor Betsy Streisand pointed out a story today in the Wall Street Journal about CNNMoney. It launched a bunch of new online video business shows today. They include "a twice-a-week segment called "Help Desk," which will answer personal-finance questions, and "Conscious Capitalism," a weekly show on corporate philanthropy. Another, "New Money," will feature young entrepreneurs."

So CNBC's competition is growing, at least online.

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As noted above, the 20% down was replaced by a 20% second mortgage - more commission for the mortgage broker and a higher rate for the bank and no PMI for the owner. No problem. Otherwise we would be bailing out whoever insured the mortages - probably AIG.

Brilliant! Jon Stewart is back! Meaning... his being as funny as he used to be in the good times (for comedians I mean) of the Bush administration.

Thanks so much for posting this video! Although I'm a devoted "Daily Show" fan, I missed this particular episode. (But I did see their original send-up a few weeks ago of Jim Cramer recommending buying Bear Stearns a few days before it collapsed.)

The "Daily Show" staff researcher who finds all these video clips deserves an Emmy in his own right. I never tire of watching the classic clips of Paul Wolfowitz saying in Congressional testimony that Gen. Eric Shinseki's estimate of the number of troops needed for the Iraq invasion was "wildly off the mark," that the war would pay for itself from Iraqi oil revenue, and that he couldn't imagine it would take longer (or more troops) to pacify the country after "major combat operations" ended than it would to defeat the regular Iraqi Army.

Mr. Keynes - wow, I'm flattered that you're reading my blog, such a renowned economist as yourself. I'm just curious - has your ghostly spirit been inhabiting a man named Ben Bernanke? Or Hank Paulson? Tim Geithner? Are you haunting us?

Hi, Scott. I prefer to think of my role as "inspiring" you rather than "haunting"! And yes, in fact I am quite proud of Ben, Hank, and Tim (seriously).

"Newsweek's" cover this week ("We're All Socialists Now") is a patent exaggeration, of course. But you'll pardon me if I can't help being most amused that when economic times get tough, the tough -- i.e., the vast majority of members of Congress, Executive Branch policymakers, and supposedly free-market-loving big-business CEOs -- respond almost autonomically with Keynesian-inspired fiscal and monetary policies.

And note well: those policies explicitly include the Republicans' blind obsession for cutting taxes, which is still textbook Keynesian stimulative fiscal measure! But true Keynesians do prefer direct government spending to tax cuts because increasing spending is more stimulative than cutting taxes.

(In technical terms, the spending multiplier effect is greater than the tax multiplier, because [a] spending provides a dollar-for-dollar initial increase in aggregate demand for goods and services, whereas [b] consumers are likely to save part of their tax cut, which makes the resulting initial increase in aggregate demand smaller than the addition from the higher spending.)

Keep up the great coverage of the on-going disaster.

You're welcome, Christina. I have to say, I find cheap populism oddly arousing...

When a person obtains a mortgage on a home and cannot come up with the 20% down payment, the bank requires a person to purchase PMI (primary mortgage insurance). What happened to this insurance when people defaulted on their mortgage? Did the banks really not obtain this insurance for people?

Wow, really good question. There is a premium every month on my mortgage statement for mortgage insurance. What am I actually paying for? If it wasn't for coming home to the endearing look in her face and wagging tail of my big shaggy dog telling me how wonderful life is that I'm in her world, I would be totally depressed.


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