The Accrued Interest blog makes an interesting point about the latest U.S. government moves to stabilize financial markets. Yes, you can argue that there is some moral hazard here, in that risk-takers have been bailed out of their bad bets.
But in moving to save the likes of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., so soon after Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. were left to go under, the authorities have prevented economic collapse from consuming innocent parties.
"Should Goldman Sachs pay for the sins of Bear Stearns? Should Morgan Stanley pay for the sins of Lehman Brothers?" Accrued Interest said. "Look, maybe no one is completely innocent here, but it seems to me that Morgan Stanley is petty theft whereas Bear Stearns was a serial killer. Should we execute both?"
The anonymous author believes that some of the provision made against short-sellers will affect hedge funds, some of which could get "busted out." And when that happens, trading in unrelated financial instruments could turn wonky.
"Hence, I think you would be wise to not chase this move too aggressively," Accrued Interest said. "If you can find stuff that's lagging merely because it isn't getting any attention, fine. But don't over play it."