Wednesday, April 30, 2008
4/30/2008 Orange County Again, Bloomberg (Jonathan Weil). U.S. Representative Gary Miller, a real-estate developer from Orange County, California last week succeeded in getting a rider attached to a bill seeking to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. It would require the Fed to study the FASB's mark-to-market accounting rules and report back to Congress. What Miller means is: "Dear Ben, tell us how we can gut the rules.'' Comment: Orange County was the home base for Countrywide Financial and New Century Financial, the two largest subprime mortgage lenders, and three of the next eight largest. The county itself went broke investing in derivatives and the treasurer and assistant treasurer were indicted. Now the new treasurer is being investigated and the sheriff was indicted last year. It all gives Mickey Mouse a bad name.
I write about economics in its interaction with politics and history. Special interests include symbols of community – such as coats of arms and flags – and the behavior of families and communities during a crisis.