Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You

Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You, by Nassim Taleb.

The bailouts of 2008–9 saved the banks (but mostly the bankers), thanks to the execution by then-treasury secretary Timothy Geithner who fought for bank executives against both Congress and some other members of the Obama administration. Bankers who lost more money than ever earned in the history of banking, received the largest bonus pool in the history of banking less than two years later, in 2010. And, suspiciously, only a few years later, Geithner received a highly paid position in the finance industry.

That was a blatant case of corporate socialism and a reward to an industry whose managers are stopped out by the taxpayer. … This does not count the policy of quantitative easing that went to inflate asset values and increased inequality by benefiting the super rich. Remember that bailouts come with printed money, which effectively deflate the wages of the middle class in relation to asset values such as ultra-luxury apartments in New York City.

The banking business model. Privatize the gains, socialize the losses. Don’t bother with insurance if the government will bail you out — moral hazard.

We should learn from the Geithner episode that bailing out individuals based on their needs is not the same as bailing out corporations based on our need for them. …

Now it is the airlines that are lining up to be saved:

We must not conflate airlines as a physical company with the financial structure involved. Nor should we conflate the fate of the employees of the airlines with the unemployment of our fellow citizens, which can be directly compensated rather than indirectly via leftovers of corporate subsidies. …

But not you:

These corporations are lobbying for bailouts, which they will eventually get thanks to the pressure they can exert on the government via lobby units. But how about the small corner restaurant ? The independent tour guide ? The personal trainer? The massage professional? The barber? The hotdog vendor living from tourists near the Met Museum ? These groups cannot afford lobbyists and will be ignored. …

The virus is specifically NOT a “black swan,” by the man who wrote the book:

Some people claim that the pandemic is a “Black Swan”, hence something unexpected so not planning for it is excusable. The book they commonly cite is The Black Swan (by one of us). Had they read that book, they would have known that such a global pandemic is explicitly presented there as a white swan: something that would eventually take place with great certainty.