Talking heads coming clean
Allow me the chance to indulge a fantasy for just a moment — that a few years down the line, a host of talking heads on the business channels will come clean about how they knew they were being fed lines of BS from the Fed and the Treasury Department in the run-up to the sub-prime/credit crisis, and parroted them anyway.
My fantasy is inspired by a huge New York Timesexpose over the weekend, revealing what a lot of people in the know suspected anyway: that the parade of retired generals talking up progress in Iraq on the cable news channels were frequently blowing smoke, sometimes knowingly so. A lot of those retired generals were working for military contractors (relationships that the networks rarely if ever disclosed), and in exchange for peddling exaggerations and lies on behalf of the Pentagon, saw their employers land fat new contracts.
I could only hope that a few years down the line, some of the investment-bank types who double as talking heads on CNBC and elsewhere might similarly come clean, and confess that they knew their firms were taking enormous risks, but did so with the knowledge that as long as they hewed to the central-banking party line, they were sure to get big bailouts if something went wrong.
Alas, I suspect a great many of them actually believed what they were saying and such confessions will never be forthcoming. But hey, a guy can dream…