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Bulls & Bears: 10 am Saturday
Posted By Barry Ritholtz On July 17, 2004 @ 10:00 am In Media | Comments Disabled
A quick update on the Bulls & Bears appearance:
Of course, there was a funny part to the show. How could I do one of these appearances and not embarrass myself?
The show went pretty well — especially the opening segment. I got the first question — will the scandals stick to Presdient Bush in the election:
“If you had asked me that question a few years ago – the biggest corporate bankruptcy in US history, with senior management with a close relation ship with a candidate, I’d say SURE. But events have eclipsed the corporate scandals, and this election will be about 3 things: WAR IN IRAQ, THE ECONOMY and TERRORISM. Enron won’t even make the top 10.
General agreement on this all around, while a few people mentioned how the corporate scandals occurred under Clinton’s term. While that may be true — Big Dog and Robert Rubin were certainly reluctant/afraid to rock the screaming stock market’s boat — its only part of the story:
If time permitted, I could have mentioned how the Enron had close ties to Bush senior, as well as Texas Governor George W. They had become the company they eventually became in no small measure due to some friendly contacts, unique tax benefits, and access via Karl Rove (see this discussion Play It As It Lays  for all the sordid details);
Further, I have mentioned in the past (but I don’t think I posted on it) how the 1995 Civil Litigation Reform Act essentially gave a free pass to accounting firms who were the enablers of the massive public fraud in the stock markets by the likes of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, Tyco, etc. Instead of preventing it, we had the scandals and the corporate death of Arthur Anderson — a textbook example of enforcement versus regulation. This horrific legislation was passed over Clinton’s veto by a Congress controlled by Newt Gingrich. So there is plenty of blame to go around — Bush, Clinton, Gingrich — but Clinton’s culpability — while real, is the most minor, after Gingrich and Bush (I lay most of the blame on Gingrich).
Back to the show: I mentioned the slowing economic data might be worrying Karl Rove a bit. But that’s all you have time for — the above discussion simply cannot take place in a 30 seconds. Essentially, many of these shows are about entertainment, not policy discussions — unlike Meet the Press, there’s simply too little time for details on half hour gabfests except for short soundbites.
But I give the show a lot of credit for delving into some details about stock discussions — its also the first regularly scheduled show that takes technical analysis seriously, with the Chartman segment. So kudos to Gary Smith and B&B for that.
Now for the funny part: The “last segment of the show — “Predictions” — are submitted in advance; Mine was “2004 will not = 2000.” Incumbents either win or lose big. This election will be won or lost by a few million votes — By the time both conventions are over in September, one candidate will have a big lead, and the markets will already be rallying.
But I must admit I was unprepared and stunned when Brenda Buttner, the show’s host, interrupted me to ask “Who’s gonna win?”
I answered honestly — “I don’t know” — additionally, I can’t imagine my employer would want me making a public endorsement on TV of a candidate anyway. But it caused an uproar — I did manage to say we would have a clearer viw of the winner after the 2 conventions were over.
It was either that, or trying to describe the impact of another Florida election debacle, Diebold’s insecure e-voting software and the impact of a domestic terrorism attack on the election’s outcome — in about 7 seconds.
Thank goodness Scott Bleier — who I worked with at Prime Charter many years ago — came to my rescue by being an even bigger idiot than I. His claim that the failed Gay Marriage amendment would lead to another housing boom was called “The Stupidest thing ever said on the show” — so in comparison, my prediction was relatively tame.
If you missed this morning’s show, it gets rebroadcast Monday morning at 4 am EST.
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 Play It As It Lays: http://billmon.org/archives/001593.html
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